Although not traditionally classified as “teachers”, business trainers and coaches working in enterprise centres, incubators and colleges are key players in VET systems, offering thousands of hours of learning services to entrepreneurs and SMEs each year.Yet while entrepreneurship education has progressed in recent years in terms of content and learning objectives, the way in which it is delivered has hardly changed at all: advisors use their computers for preparing documents and reports and training that is delivered in classrooms and one-on-one coaching sessions.
At a time when digital technologies have revolutionised the way we live and work and all aspects of our lives, we believe it is more crucial than ever to provide high quality, sector-specific training opportunities which allow business advisors to update their skills and embrace effective digital teaching and learning.
For this reason, Digital Changemakers aims to increase the ability and motivation of Business Advisors to use digital tools in their training. Our specific objectives are:
- Develop a Good Practice Catalogue (IO1) to introduce business advisors to the value of using and teaching digital competences to entrepreneurs and SMEs
- Create a Digital Changemakers Toolkit (IO2) providing them with practical guidance on how to incorporate 20 of the best digital (online) learning tools into their work
- Craft an online learning course (IO3) to consolidate advisors’ skills and confidence in using mobile and digital learning resources and their ability to recommend digital solutions to their clients.
The immediate impact of the project will be an increase in the digital competences of advisors and trainers involving attitudinal change, knowledge acquisition and skills and confidence development. Business organisations that support their advisory staff to upskill in this area, will progress along their own path to becoming digitally competent educational organisations.
By improving the skills and attitudes of business advisors to increase their own digital competences, use of digital pedagogy, we will increase the overall effectiveness of entrepreneurship education (across all areas of entrepreneurship training), and also become agents of change to improve the digital competences of entrepreneurs and SMEs. Locally and regionally, more entrepreneurs will achieve more success in growing their businesses; this could lead directly to increases in employment as well as broader economic growth. Because of its focusses on the key competences of entrepreneurship and digital skills, the project will also broaden and deepen the pool of entrepreneurial talent in the regions helping close the skills gaps.
Furthermore, given that embedding digital skills in VET, and especially business VET, are still an emerging area of work, we believe that by joining forces with European partners we will be able to leverage a more focused and effective approach. In particular, we will be able to contribute in a more meaningful way to the debate around and implementation of the recently published and updated competence frameworks, such as DigComp, EntreComp, DigCompe Org and DigCompEdu.