With the deployment of the Recovery Programme Next Generation In the EU, the need to boost high level digital skills among the population became a top priority. In Spain, Autonomous Communities and City Councils have embarked on several actions that the State is trying to complement, something that is not as dynamic and bold as desired, due to bureaucratic restrictions.
Through BOTTEGA UNIVERSITY and with the support of the VASS Foundation, we've participated intensively in this process. In 2021 we were already pioneering support for the Madrid City Council by deploying a selective and immersive training programme in basic programming skills. As part of the pilot of the Municipal School of Digital Talent, 120 people were trained and introduced to the world of programming.
Participants are classified in a ranking, depending on the results obtained. And the 100 best-ranked people would go on to a second phase, where they could participate, from January to October 2023, in a 600-hour "Full Stack" specialisation programme, together with a counselling pilot to integrate them into the world of work.
The challenge was not a trivial one for the Basque Country, which ranks second in Spain in terms of per capita income. For four reasons:
- It was a bilingual programme. Although the English-Spanish methodology allowed access to the original material (English) with subtitles, and contact with specialist mentors in either language, it could be a deterrent for many unemployed people.
- It was an online training, which is not very common in public programmes. Although it could make accessing it easier by removing the need to travel, this methodology requires a dose of discipline that is unfortunately rare.
- It was an unregulated pathway. Although it had valid credits in the USA, it was a non-conventional programme and did not exactly match the vocational certificates of the State Employment Service.
- It had a demanding "mass" vocation, with 400 potential participants in a short and demanding process in terms of tutorials, exams, etc.
The project was well received from the beginning. Of the almost 600 applicants, 404 people were finally admitted and only 6.2% of the students dropped out of the experience. Of those who successfully completed, 46% were women, who also made up 6 of the top 10. The students gave this experience an average score of more than 9.3 points (out of 10) and the average mark achieved by the students was more than 9.1 (out of 10). The success was such that the Basque Employment Service and the VASS Foundation had to make an extra effort to ensure that 200 people (and not the 100 planned) would finally take part in the second stage.
Re-skilling is possible, even more so with imaginative formulas! At VASS UNIVERSITY we have full confidence in the prestigious American school BOTTEGA, accredited by the American Council on Education and with university status, which has trained more than 40,000 professionals and has participated in ambitious professional re-skilling programmes with the US Federal Government and with leading multinationals such as AMAZON.