It is now widely accepted that digital innovation is changing work environments and professional profiles, with implications for the way people learn and work today. In light of this reality, the following question is asked: how do these new environments affect the way people can manage their careers, train and change jobs? Thanks to innovative tools, increased data availability and artificial intelligence, new approaches to support professional development and self-learning are transforming lifelong learning.
The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) has been researching recent developments in European countries in this field, to analyse how they can help their citizens to develop innovative learning, conditions for success required today and emerging challenges.
According to this study, the most sought-after capacity in online job vacancies across the EU is the adaptability of workers, i.e. the ability of people to adapt to change. This is not surprising given the current fluidity of professions, work organisation and technologies. Fostering and training this capacity is a huge challenge, both for individuals and for organisations as it requires investment in new skill sets, such as raising awareness of one's skill needs, directing self-learning, making decisions, planning and acting on needs.
Currently, job vacancies found on the Internet require professional information combined with personal skills and attitude assessments. New CV modalities include the possibility to create portfolios detailing skills, qualifications, experiences and aspirations. These websites include matching engines, links leading to personal profiles and spaces for writing your traits and skills.
The main problem with these web platforms is that digital knowledge may be insufficient in people with low levels of digital skills and competence. Information can be difficult to interpret and users may have questions that are not answered by the available content. For this reason, many people need a qualified counsellor and assistance to make the most of these digital tools.
Against this backdrop, two problems arise, with guidance professionals reviewing their strategies and helping to develop technology-rich methods, while managers need to back this up with staff development plans.
In this sense, in Europe, CEDEFOP has developed a set of training courses modules specifically aimed at facilitating changes in the attitudes of employment services towards ICT and the consolidation of professional support.
The European pillar of social rights should promote access to and support for professional development as an individual right linked to equal learning and training opportunities. Some countries have already made access to guidance a legal right. Current developments in life-long education and training suggest that this is a necessary strategy. France, for example, promotes access to learning resources available to the public, to its platforms and to other services that can be part of a citizen's digital "ecosystem" and that adapt to the evolving needs of a citizen.
What does the future hold? The current evolution of data availability and increasing technological power suggest that digitisation and innovation is indeed necessary and must be embedded in the contexts of orientation, learning and work and drive progress and change from a passive to a dynamic medium, adapted to changing individual needs because to some extent employment, education and training policies remain trapped.
To improve the use and scope of digital tools, national authorities and other promoters should reflect on ways to adapt digital innovation to their needs and support potential promoters of digital innovation. CEDEFOP has developed a decision-making tool that allows policy makers to assess the transferability and adaptability of digital services for career support and will include profiling. The interactive version will be available by the end of 2019.
All these innovations are promising to help users create high quality online information and have personalised support. While human intervention will always be needed.