The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) states that there is a real danger that the Covid-19 crisis will increase poverty and widen inequalities, with the impact felt for years to come. Countries now need to do everything they can for reconstructing a better and more resilient labour market for future generations.
The ILO (International Labour Organization) has used real-time economic and financial data to investigate the impact of the crisis on output by sectors of economic activity. Given that output is the major determinant of employment trends, it is possible to make a first assessment of how the pandemic may affect future skill needs and what the implications for occupations are. The dominant occupations in the sectors affected the most can be examined to gauge the impact of coronavirus on employment and the impact of automation and technology.
Given this scenario, the Aveiro Labour Observatory is an innovative initiative developed under the scope of the project Aveiro STEAM City, whose importance is much more crucial, considered the challenge just outlined.
As the digital transformation of Aveiro pass through the development of quality jobs, the Observatory aims to contribute to the development of skills and to the retention of human talent in Aveiro, identifying training needs and developing training programs to meet the challenges of the local business environment. The Labour Observatory conducts multiple activities aimed at diagnosing what are the qualification and requalification’s needs in Aveiro, in a tight dialogue with companies and local stakeholders in the business domains of ICT, Industry, Tourism and Services.
The Observatory provides information about the demands for skills and competences in the current labour market, and this information will support the development of short-term training programs. The activities of the Labour Observatory are developed by a multidisciplinary team that brings together researchers across the different scientific domains from the University of Aveiro. It builds also on the collaboration of other partners of the Aveiro STEAM City project, including Inova-Ria and the Municipality of Aveiro.
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The changes we are currently facing in the contexts of life and work are strongly marked by an accelerated step in the adoption of technologies, and the production of large volumes of information. In this way, the digital transformation will increasingly go hand in hand with the increasing need for retraining professionals and citizens.
According to a recent report by the OECD, it is estimated that, over the next 15 to 20 years, 14% of the professional occupations we know today will disappear as a result of increasing automation. Similarly, some 32% of current occupations will change radically, requiring new qualifications and skills.
It is in this context, studies on the future of work are multiplying, suggesting new professions and guessing the demand for new qualifications.
The results of a recent UA’s survey among ICT companies, highlight a number of priority areas for digital transformation in the region of Aveiro. The results indicate the different fundamental technical skills that should be the focus on a short-term basis. The development of electronic systems comes first, accompanied by 10 other technical areas closely linked to programming, analysis and data processing.
- development of machine learning algorithms
- development of embedded systems
- large data storage systems
- analytics competence for big data and data mining
On the other hand, among the “Behavioral areas” of priority we find:
- ethical judgment
- critical thinking
- solving complex problems
- time management
- entrepreneurial vocation
The importance of these behavioral skills was underlined by the survey’s participants as being fundamental to complement and leverage technical training.
In the list of the 25 professions of the future, presented last October at the Aveiro Tech Week we find:
- 3D/4D printing specialist
- Synthetic biology engineer
- E-commerce and social media specialist
- UX and human-machine interaction designer
Finally, the 5 professions considered the most relevant for the future Aveiro’s labour market are:
- AI and machine learning specialist
- Software and App developer
- Client information and customer service professional
- Process automation specialist
- UX and human-machine interaction designer
In 2019 the Municipality of Aveiro, in parallel with the work developed within the LO, run a research and concluded that the ICT companies of the Aveiro Region were lacking talents; hence the City decided to launch a brand-new initiative called “tech bootcamps”, that is performing particularly well in terms of job creation and talent attraction.
In partnership with Academia de Código, the Municipality launched 2 editions of TECH BOOTCAMPS in Java and Java Script, consisting of a 14 weeks training program in classroom environment and 14 weeks training on the job, in ICT local companies.
This activity is synergic with the LO and it seeks to promote job opportunities for unemployed people, students or professionals going through a career change (click here to discover more: https://www.uia-initiative.eu/en/news/coding-skills-nongeeks-only-smart-strategy-train-human-resources-and-retain-talents-aveiro ).
The results from the first edition, so far, are very encouraging: on a total of 19 trainees, almost 80% were actually hired after the training; half of these trainees were hired by the same companies that provided them the on-the-job training, so proving continuity and effectiveness of the 14 weeks spent there. Almost all the job contracts signed are properly full-time contracts (so no internships or apprenticeships).
“Aveiro Labour Observatory is now consolidating its local role as a territorial intelligence unit, that brings together the voices of local companies, and local education and training entities, to make sense of the challenges offered by digitalization to the sustainability of the local economic system. The Observatory promotes a consistent dialogue between local stakeholders, developing a robust and timely knowledge base to support the definition of priorities for the development for quality jobs and adequate qualification strategies.” Marlene Amorim, Assistant Professor and Researcher @ University of Aveiro