First Joint Steps towards European Partnerships

by Gabriela Ruseva

A core value of Telecentre Europe is to work in partnership to achieve bigger impact on objectives shared with other stakeholders. Led by this notion, in 2014 TE made important steps towards building partnerships with like-minded pan-European networks working in the field of ICT skills, lifelong learning, entrepreneurship and social inclusion. We have initiated discussions with seven organisations to explore synergies and talk about how to mainstream efforts, which are expected to lead to long-term partnership.

  • Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS)

CEPIS, the network representing IT professionals around Europe, and TE agree that is it essential to align the various existing e-skills reference frameworks (the Digital Competences Framework; the e-Competence Framework for users and for professionals) so that they can be easily adopted and used by digital training and certification providers. TE also supports CEPIS in its efforts to ‘dismantle’ the myth of the ‘digital native’ and ensure that young people’s digital skills are not taken for granted.

  • Reading and Writing Foundation

Basic literacy and digital literacy are increasingly inter-related in a digital society where one is an enabler of the other and vice-versa. Public libraries are often the first access points and promoters of digital skills in a community. Many local telecentres are hosted by libraries and librarians play the role of e-facilitators. Therefore, TE’s collaboration with the Reading and Writing Foundation is of crucial importance for raising e-facilitators’ profile and advocating for their professional recognition.

  • Media and Learning Association (MEDEA)

To forge closer ties with the Media and Learning Association, a pan-European network promoting media literacy and the use of media in all educational sectors, the two organisations decided to exchange membership. Thus, TE became the first supporting network member of the Media and Learning Association and the latter will officially join TE in 2015.

  • European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA)

TE and EAEA had crossed paths during conferences and events on lifelong learning and digital skills throughout 2014 and in December TE Managing Director Gabriel Rissola and EAEA Secretary General Gina Ebner met to discuss possible joint actions. The two organisations have clear common objectives, as they both work in the field of non-formal adult education and training. EAEA covers a wider range of topics and has a broader view on adult learning, while TE has a closer focus on digital literacy. In 2015 the two organisations will look into how best to combine their strengths in joint projects on increasing the digital literacy of adult learners outside the formal education system.

  • Junior Achievement – Young Enterprise Europe (JA-YE Europe)

Telecentres are evolving from providers of access to computers and basic digital skills trainings to hubs for social innovation, career guidance and entrepreneurship, especially for unemployed young people who come with questions ranging from how to write a CV and how to find a job online to how to promote business ideas online. With JA-YE Europe TE will cooperate in the framework of our new exciting project I-LINC, within which TE will create a platform of stakeholders working in ICT for learning and inclusion, with a special focus on youth employability and entrepreneurship.

  • European Civil Society Platform for Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL)

In September 2014 TE Managing Director Gabriel Rissola met with Audrey Frith, Director of EUCIS-LLL to discuss common objectives. Digital skills and competences will be in platform’s focus for the upcoming year and TE is eager to cooperate on this front. In addition, TE plans to become part of the EUCIS-LLL family of European networks provided that it secures the financial means to join.

  • CSR Europe

In 2015 TE continues to look for like-minder partners and saw one in CSR Europe, the European Business Network for Corporate Social Responsibility, bringing together, on one hand, big companies such as HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and many others, and on the other – national CSR networks. Both organisations are part of the pan-European e-skills for jobs campaign 2015-2016. TE Managing Director Gabriel Rissola met Philippe Weuler, CSR Europe’s Senior Adviser on Business Development.

CSR Europe is looking for partners for its European Pact for Youth initiative for new standards in business-education alliances to boost employability and job creation. TE sees the Youth Pack as a great opportunity for mainstreaming business and third sector efforts in providing young people with the right skills for employment and entrepreneurship.

In addition, the organisations identified three concrete areas for collaboration:

  • Disseminate each others initiatives through communication channels – newsletter, website, social media, for example CSR Europe will raise awareness among its national CSR networks about the European Get Online Week that TE will organise during the last week of March
  • Encourage members to cooperate on the national level
  • Joint fundraising and participating together in projects.