Partners from Ireland, Greece, Belgium and Portugal joined us in Bradford last month for the kick off meeting for our latest project, SMART LMI. Funded by the European Commission as part of their Erasmus+ KA3 strand (which looks to develop forward looking policy innovations), SMART LMI is exploring the potential use of skills matching and labour market information in digital careers guidance. To do this, partners will look to establish the feasibility of developing a single digital solution which combines practical careers support with information around skills demand, growth sectors and training opportunities.
The motivation for the project lies in a desire to solve a common problem we often hear expressed by careers practitioners; that both they and their clients find a wealth of labour market information when searching online but struggle to curate this information into useable learning points. Instead, they become overwhelmed by the information available, which means that the potential impact of targeted LMI is lost.
At the same time, through our work as the UK Euroguidance centre, we have seen a number of interesting developments taking place in recent years on the European level in terms of digital tools for the careers sector. This includes practical resources such as the Skills Profile Tool for Third Country Nationals and CEDEFOP’s Skills Panorama, as well as support tools such as the recently launched job profile classification ESCO. Therefore, the project will also look to harness some of these innovative developments in order to demonstrate how such tools could have an impact on frontline careers provisions across the continent.
To achieve these aims the project will first carry out extensive research into current approaches and best practices in digital LMI delivery and skills validation across Europe, before moving onto the development of the app. This build phase will allow partners to test the extent to which policies such as the EU’s Open Data Strategy have created an environment for LMI sharing across Europe. Alongside this, partners will also look to produce a series of CPD resources for careers practitioners, in order to ensure that advisors have the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver guidance in the digital age.
The kick off meeting in Bradford provided the group with an opportunity to solidify our initial plans. Amongst the topics discussed was our approach to the project research phase, as well as ideas around exactly what we want the final app to achieve. This included group discussions around functionality, user stories and client needs, a debate which continued after the meeting over a traditional curry in one of our favourite Bradford curry houses!
Throughout the meeting, it was clear that there are both huge possibilities and challenges ahead to develop a tool which creates real impact but everyone agreed that these are what makes the project an exciting one! What is also clear is that the project will only succeed through a strong engagement with the careers community across Europe, as this will help us ensure that the project results are fit-for-purpose. Therefore, keep an eye out across our social media for news about how you can become involved with the project.
For information about all our current projects, including our other KA3 funded project ‘Future Time Traveller’, visit our website.