The revolution of work is also a European matter. Job requirements are changing with great speed. Employees should pick up skills as quickly as possible and there is a constant pressure to adapt to change. This shift is not solely confined to the field of work as digital skills are very much needed in everyday living. Demos Helsinki was chosen as the partner for the FutureFit initiative of Google.org, the innovation foundation Nesta, and the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK.
Google’s charity organisation Google.org donated two million dollars to the British innovation foundation Nesta in 2019. The funds support research into how the adult work force can better be motivated to learn and update their digital skills. Nesta selected trade unions from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium as its project partners. Having previously collaborated with both Google and SAK, Demos Helsinki was selected as the project’s facilitator and research partner in Finland.
The core question of the FutureFit initiative is how to motivate the adult workforce to train their digital skills. A need was already pinpointed during the previous government period to retrain a large number of Finns to get acquainted with the necessary working tools of today.
The core question of the FutureFit initiative is how to motivate the adult workforce to train their digital skills.
The programme supports employees in learning new skills that help them to adapt to the shift taking place in the workplace. The hands-on organisation of the training programme is developed by the Workers’ Educational Association WEA of Finland. The FutureFit programme is realised in different parts of Finland in companies operating in the fields of industry, logistics and services. Collaborative partners include the Service Union United PAM, the Industrial Union, the Transport Workers’ Union AKT, and around 30 companies in these fields. All in all, some 300 employees will take part in the training. Each training session will last two days and will be completed during working hours. The programme will offer skills for the employees whose work is being affected most in terms of automation and digitalisation. Examples of such tasks include administration, production, and the service sector at large.
“Research indicates that participation in learning is polarised. Some develop their skills more than others. In this sense, we are dealing with a huge societal and social question. There are certain sectors where work becomes more challenging, and others where jobs will disappear. Constant learning is the only route to get people from one job profile to another one”, says Demos Helsinki’s consultant Johannes Anttila.
There are certain sectors where work becomes more challenging, and others where jobs will disappear. Constant learning is the only route to get people from one job profile to another one
Demos Helsinki will facilitate the initiative’s Finnish part and conduct local research. The results of the participating countries will then be brought together with the overall aim of finding answers to the questions on a European level regarding how to better motivate employees into constant learning, and to consider what are the factors that motivate participation in employee training.
“The current problem is not a lack of training possibilities but rather the motivation for people to join the training. Demos Helsinki sees this question as an important one because our job is to solve big societal issues, and the topic of lifelong learning falls into this category. We want to participate in producing solutions and knowledge”, Johannes Anttila says.
Header picture: Martin Sanchez