On 24-25 of October 2013 the 6th annual Telecentre-Europe Summit was organised in Malta and co-hosted by TE founding member Malta Communication Authority. This year the event was organised together with Unite-IT project first annual conference titled „Digital Empowerment – All Inclusive“ and gathered 50 e-inclusion actors and stakeholders from 28 European countries.
The Summit was opened by the Hon. Dr. Edward Zammit Lewis, Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth; Mara Jakobsone, Chairperson of Telecentre-Europe; as well as Mr. Godfrey Vella, Malta’s Digital Champion who expressed the idea of entrepreneurial and innovative telecentres which could serve as agents of social cohesion and economic progress. Official opening part ended with video message from Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director Global Community Affairs of Microsoft.
To explore strategies, plans and common actions for TE members 4 main topics were highlighted during the Summit:
Discussing on these topics it was seeking to create a roadmap from digital inclusion to digital empowerment, showing how telecentres are concretely helping people improve their skills, find work and transform their lives.
The program was built including plenary and group sessions as well as open discussions of attendees on telecentre sustainability and funding, awareness raising campaigns, assessing, measuring and communicating impact of telecentre, etc. Various European projects were introduced to wide audience. The participants of group discussion found it useful to talk about the challenges they tackle and share their ideas and opinions.
Just after official TE Summit opening Chairperson of TE Mara Jakobsone and managing director Gabriel Rissolarevised changes, environmental conditions and strategy of Telecentre Europe. According to them – numerous developments in future TE activities are foreseen to implement.
TE Summit guests Andre Richier, Principal Administrator from EC – DG ENTR and Miguel Gonzalez, Deputy Head of Unit from EC – DG CNECT presented a situation on ICT workforce growth in Europe over the last years and establishment of National Grand Coalitions for Digital Jobs (NGC4DJ). The good news is 10 countries already have signed the NGC4DJ. Miguel Gonzalez introduced the new EC foreseen program on social innovation during the period 2014-2020.
Panel discussion moderated by Gabriel Rissola was very fruitful either. Ms. Louise Mifsud , Marketing and Operations manager of Microsoft Malta emphasized that ICT sector offers a lot of opportunities not only for the engineers and technical people. There are plenty of work places that require ICT knowledge.
The issue on learning program imbalance with job market was also raised. “How TCs and formal education institutions could collaborate to make education program flexible?” – this question was considered and based on Charmaine Kerr, project coordinator from European Schoolnet experience.
Roy Sharon, director corporate responsibility from Liberty Global contemplated how business companies could contribute to engaging people to ICT and told what strategy Liberty Global provides on digital society. He highlighted 3 main aspects: expanding ICT access; enhancing e-skills and creating better opportunities for society. All three panelists’ cases received a lot of questions and considerations from the audience which were carried out even during the lunch.
Next on the program was Unite IT group session. All summit’s attendees divided into 4 groups re. most relevant topics for them. Groups focused on Latvian, Serbian, Spanish and Romanian cases. The biggest group was at Youth employability session, moderated my Mara Jakobsone. Participants we discussing on how to link young people’s career plans with employer needs at different levels, what IT apprenticeships, internships and mentoring would be needed, etc.
The first day of Summit was ended with open space discussions presentations / discussions in small groups for EU funded projects, calls for partnerships, consortium building. Attendees had an opportunity to listen about the colleagues’ projects in details, to share the thoughts and ideas. Both presenters and listeners received mutual benefits.
The day 2 started with informative and challenging Wilfried Paroubek from Microsoft presentation about Opportunities for telecentres establishing IT Academies. He also explained the benefits and range of certification exams available for improving youth employability. Just after him Senior Scientist of EC-IPTS Gianluca Misuraca introduced almost finished MIREIA survey results.
Then Liga Kursite Masena, project coordinator of Culture Information Systems Centre in Latvia made an interesting presentation with some forecasts how telecentres will look in the near future. She remarked increasing of “co-” – co-learning, co-creating within communities. The future library she sees as urban media space.
The following part of the conference was focused on Unite IT network project. This project aimed at raising awareness and foster sharing and joint actions to overcome the digital divide, and is being implemented by Telecentre-Europe AISBL together with 7 of its member organisations and the European Students Union (ESU). Gabriela Barna from EOS organization in Romania, Laurence Leiseigneur from Interface3 in Belgium andIvan Stoijilovic from IAN organization in Serbia introduced the summit participants to strategic position of the network, branding, services planned, results of research and database as well as good practices.
In the very end there were 4 presentations about different funding and resources available on Telecentres. Pedro Aguilera, representative of Fundación ESPLAI, made a presentation on new EC funding schemes. Ian Clifford, founder of YouRock, shared his memorable experience with crowdfunding.co.uk system. His advice:"Never ever do crowdfunding in summer!" Ekaterina Fedotova from Techsoup Europe introduced everyone to Microsoft Office 365 opportunities for NGOs.
The 6th Telecentre Europe Summit in Malta was closed by sincere Mara Jakobsone and Gabriel Rissola speech and acknowledgments for all participants, stakeholders, staff members and supporters for their participation and input to building digital society.
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