What is digital readiness, and how does it apply to the current everyday working practices of career guidance practitioners? The following article aims to explore the concept of digital readiness, making reference to the strides undertaken in this field by the Ballymun Jobs Centre (BJC). The BJC is a not-for-profit organization based in the heart of Ballymun, North Dublin, providing career guidance and employment services to marginalized jobseekers. Much of our clientele is long-term unemployed or coming from adverse backgrounds, in need of high support and the kind of guidance that will not only steer them with confidence into the labour market, but also provide them with the skills they need to thrive in contemporary employment.
Digital readiness has become a hot topic in the world of information and guidance (IAG) services. In a post-Covid19 world, wherein hybrid work and tech-related competencies are more prevalent in the labour market than ever before, digital readiness has emerged as the newest form of employer enticement. Digital readiness can be understood as the tech-related competencies and knowledge of digital tools and systems which can equip individuals with a heightened understanding of contemporary technologies in the workplace and in the labour market.
Here in the BJC, the EU Projects Department (linked here) has been working tirelessly to continue to expand on and explore this area of the present labour market, establishing transnational partnerships with other EU-based organisations to pursue the common goal of increased digital readiness among EU member states. On October 10th, the BJC will be presenting an event on digital readiness in the career guidance sector, developing on the topic and spurring conversations and discussions around the growing need for digital readiness and how EU-funded endeavors can tackle this high demand. In doing so, the event will refer back to some of the BJC’s prior work on digital readiness, through the respective CareerBot and Good e-Guidance Stories (GeGS) projects.
CareerBot (linked here) is a project comprised of 6 partners across 4 EU countries (Ireland, Spain, Greece, and Austria), and has seen the conception of a chat-bot-based, AI-informed complementary tool to career guidance. The project has developed a training curriculum for practitioners to use the Bot in guidance sessions with clients, interpreting its textual data to better understand the needs of the jobseeker. GeGS (linked here) is a larger scale project, comprised of 12 partners across 6 countries (Ireland, Italy, Germany, Greece, the UK, and France). GeGS aspires to enhance the quality of career guidance services through digitalisation processes, offering practitioners learning opportunities via digital case studies, a digital training platform, a digital community of practice of over 180 practitioners, and a digital platform for the delivery of e-guidance called Jobiri.
On October 10th, the BJC are holding an in-person event on digital readiness and how it can be integrated into contemporary career guidance services. Further information on the work of the Ballymun Job Centre and its EU Projects department can be found on their website (linked here.)