The European Commission has launched a call for tender for a Pilot Project to design training solutions to upskill people working in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and re-train unemployed people for jobs in small businesses. The Pilot Project was initiated by the European Parliament (on initiative of MEP Victor Negrescu).

The lack of digital skills also touches European SMEs, which form the backbone of the European economy. In fact 99% of all businesses in Europe are SMEs. Yet, only one out of six SMEs in the EU are highly digitised, just 17% are selling online and one in four SMEs do not even have a website. Solutions to up-skill SMEs for the digital age will also be discussed at a dedicated workshop at the forthcoming Digital Assembly 2017 in Malta.

The overall objective of the pilot project Digital Skills: New Professions, New Educational Methods, New Jobs is to improve the digital skills of people either employed by SMEs to make them ready for new tasks and re-skill unemployed people to prepare them for a new job. The project, which has a budget of up to € 400,000, will design, test and prepare for the scaling of those trainings which are most suitable for people working in SMEs. In turn, this will increase the adoption of new digital technologies by small businesses.

By undertaking the pilot project, the contractor to be selected will be required to carry out four interlinked strands of work:

  • Select two regions in the European Union in two different Member States, of which at least one should have a youth unemployment rate higher than 20%. Gather a representative group of experts from these two regions and analyse SMEs' needs in terms of digital skills and propose short-term training solutions.
  • Based on the outcome of the first strand, design a high-quality training programme with a curriculum on a specific set of digital skills. The training programme should have a duration of two to four months (full-time or part-time). Alternatively, the contractor can propose the adapted use of existing training programmes.
  • Organise and implement "pilot" training programmes in the regions for skilling and/or reskilling workers and unemployed to prepare them for digitisation. For this purpose, the contractor should work with training providers and other stakeholders.
  • On the basis of the pilot programmes, produce one or several blueprints for trainings which can be implemented at local, regional or national level. These blueprints should be applicable to a large number of people, be expandable and replicable.

Official Journal reference: 2017/S 103-204833. Deadline 28 July 2017.

For additional information and relevant documentation please refer to TED eTendering