European Conference in Ghent to address future of work in digital era

TEAC16 Event Press Release

91% of all citizens in Flanders are connected to the internet at home, 78% own a laptop and 58% are the proud owner of a tablet.[i] These recent figures show that we all like to buy the latest digital devices and update our homes with the latest technologies, but digital skills are indispensable in the workplace as well. The latest digital evolutions translate themselves into new demands at the office, for both the employer and employee. Which skills are increasingly important in the job market and how will organisations adapt to future technological changes? These are among the issues that will be discussed at the Telecentre Europe Annual Conference jointly organised with the first I-LINC international event in Ghent from October 6-8.

Belgium assumes leading role in Europe

Experts, stakeholders and organisations from across Europe will gather in Ghent to discuss the future digital challenges and the impact this will have on employment. Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Digital Agenda, Alexander De Croo, will talk on the opening day of the conference about the pioneering role Belgium plays with regard to digital innovation and entrepreneurship within organisations and government.

Alexander De Croo said, “The development of digital economy will define our future welfare. Governments and institutions must show courage and ambition. Belgium has the potential to become one of the leading countries in Europe, but only if it decisively focuses on digital frameworks. Therefore, our strategy ‘Digital Belgium’ focuses on bringing digital skills to people and linking them to the right job. Together with other public and private organisations such as Telecentre Europe, we aim to be one of Europe’s leading digital countries by 2020.”

Ghent invests in e-inclusion

Nine out of ten future jobs will require digital skills. This does not only demand a systematic policy on a national and international level, but also requires the support and effort of local governments. Thanks to their commitment, more and more people are given the chance to unlock their digital potential, regardless of age, social or cultural background.

The City of Ghent has been committed to e-inclusion for the past ten years with Digitaal.Talent@Gent, a program in collaboration with Digipolis and the Public Centre For Social Welfare. All citizens of Ghent can develop their digital skills through a variety of projects. Even vulnerable groups such as the underprivileged, senior citizens and people with disabilities are given the change to discover their digital talent.

Deputy Mayor of Ghent, Martine De Regge explained, “Every citizen of Ghent deserves to have access to the digital world. In order to guarantee access for everyone, the city has set up 75 telecentres across Ghent. You can visit these centres if you want to use a computer with an internet connection, but also if you want help or advice from one of the computer volunteers.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Beside Deputy Prime Minister De Croo, fellow Belgian Saskia Van Uffelen – CEO of Ericsson BeLux and ‘Digital Champion of Belgium’ – will address the future revolution in the job sector caused by these digital changes. Recent research has shown that 65% of the jobs of today will not exist anymore by 2020[ii]. How do we prepare ourselves for these changes and make sure that our employment rates keep rising, as well as productivity rates?

Experts and academics will share their ideas and vision with members of the European Commission. Not only business and the private sector, but the public sector too will need to stimulate and encourage companies and organisations to adapt to these future digital changes in the workplace.

Putting words into action

The so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is one of the major challenges and opportunities for Europe. It describes the changes ahead as a result of new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing, Drones, Robotics, the ‘Internet of Things’ and many other emerging technologies and working practices.

Laurentiu Bunescu, CEO of Telecentre Europe added, “This event also presents the first I-LINC international conference. I-LINC is a platform and a community of experts and organisations that foster employment and entrepreneurship through digital skills. We help young people and interested organisations in addressing employability related issues in the light of these emerging technologies.”

The conference brings together organisations, governments and industry to share ideas and to brainstorm the future challenges for jobs and employment in the context of these future changes. Through debates, hands-on workshops and enticing talks, the event aims to set out the future synergy between work and digital skills.

Māra Jākobsone, Chair of Telecentre Europe said, “A key aspect in teaching skills, which was long underestimated, is finally being recognized by the new EU skills agenda – the importance of lifelong and non-formal learning opportunities. The non-formal education community, represented by Telecentre Europe members offers efficient and fast ways to upgrade digital skills requested for job through mentoring and project-based learning. At the event, more than 120 delegates from 70 organisations in 25 countries will share their experience of helping European citizens to acquire digital skills for future work.”

[i] IMinds, 2016

[ii] World Economic Forum 2016

See full Press Release


Telecentres in Ghent: A Step Towards Digital Inclusion

For those TEAC16 participants who come to Ghent earlier and have registered before August 31, TEAC16 host organization Digipolis offers a guided visit to three different Telecentres in Ghent. Learn more about Ghent telecentres.

by Sara Van Damme, Digipolis Gent

preview_dsc_9563-jpgokTelecentres were created all over the city for  people who don’t have access to a computer at home or at work. Apart from free internet access, the centres allow citizens to work on their digital skills through guided sessions or interactive and hands-on workshops. You can find telecentres in libraries, community centres, local service centres and many more public city facilities.

These telecentres aim to be approachable and easily accessible for people from all social classes and backgrounds, so that everyone has a chance to learn how to work with a computer, write an email or use a certain computer program.

Although all telecentres offer the same basic digital facilities, we do distinguish three different types of telecentres, each with a different focus:


  1. The first type provides free WIFI, so that visitors can surf the internet and access their email free of charge. Moreover, the basic Microsoft Office programs allow visitors to type out texts and use Word or PowerPoint for example.
  2. In the second type of telecentre there will always be a supervisor present, who will happily assist and help the visitor with his or her requests and wishes. E.g., (s)he could show them how to send an email, how to work with a tablet, or secure their ICT software with the latest virus scanner.
  3. The last type of telecentres offer digital courses and lessons on top of all the advantages from the other two types of telecentres.  Some courses are free, others require a rather small charge (max. 1 Euro per hour).


Thanks to these three different types of telecentres, we can help and improve the digital skills of all citizens in Ghent, no matter what their needs or requirements may be.

Needless to say that we cannot organize this all by ourselves and depend on the support, help and open mentality of all the supervisors working in the centres. These supervisors are a diverse group of volunteers, who all have one very important thing in common: they like to help people. Their enthusiasm and drive encourage us daily to think and dream big and they allow us to keep on growing and expanding the program.

Together, we will continue to join our efforts and help to reduce digital exclusion.



by Iva Walterova, Telecentre Europe

I-LINC, which is developing a sustainable and all-encompassing platform on the topic of ICT (for) learning and inclusion, offers its growing community of registered users an online environment for networking, participation, and learning that focuses on boosting the employability and entrepreneurship capacities of young people.

The Telecentre Europe Annual Conference: Digital Skills for Future Work is hosting the first I-LINC international event. The I-LINC platform is a vehicle towards this central theme of the Conference and has significantly contributed to shaping of the programme and the audience at the event.

Benefitting from gathering useful resources available on existing platforms, through networks and initiatives, and adding its own valuable content, I-LINC is developing a vibrant community of stakeholders in the field of digital skills for employability and entrepreneurship and linking them to the main beneficiaries – young people. I-LINC features a wide variety of resources and networking spaces, including learning opportunities, relevant policies, best practices, events, stakeholders in the field and the possibility to connect with them, funding opportunities and many others.


In order to introduce TEAC16 participants to all the various elements of the platform and the benefits that they and their stakeholders can gain from I-LINC after joining the community, I-LINC is featured throughout the event. This way, at the end of the Conference participants will be equipped with a practical tool that they can use in their work on digital skills towards future jobs.

The I-LINC platform will be briefly introduced during the opening plenary on the 1st day of the Conference by Telecentre Europe CEO Laurentiu Bunescu. On the 2nd day of the Conference a number of aspects of the I-LINC platform will be discussed. First, during the Discussion panel, the platform will be shown in more detail. Later, during the Unconference, a workshop will be led by I-LINC young digital changemakers, who were carefully selected and have been working with the project since its onset. These young people will present their achievements and experiences with the platform and its tools. I-LINC will also be presented later at the Lightning Talks, where challenges and accomplishments of the platform and community will be described. Last, but not least, Telecentre Europe & I-LINC Awards will be presented to winners of the Best Practice and the Best Digital Changemaker contests during the evening social event. The awards will recognize work that is relevant both to the central “Digital skills for future work” theme and to the I-LINC objectives.

The Conference team would like to invite all the participants to learn about the possibilities offered through the I-LINC platform during the event and explore the platform at

Ghent Digital Interactive Fair – Where Dreams Become Reality

by Sara Van Damme, Digipolis Ghent

Have you ever dreamed of living in a world, in which everyone can embrace cutting-edge digital innovations? Your dreams can become reality at the Ghent Digital Fair!

Once a year, we organize an entire week of digital fun and education in the city of Ghent, also known as the Digital Week. To highlight this week’s unique and innovative character, it kicks off with a spectacular opening event: the Digital Interactive Fair.


This afternoon perfectly combines fun with technology and gives visitors the opportunity to get to know new and innovative start-ups, try out new technologies and simply discover all the wonders that our digital future holds. From drones and virtual reality to robots and 3D printing, there is something for everyone!

20150418_0302.JPGOne of the key aspects of this Digital Fair is interaction with the public. The organizers don’t want the visitors to just stand there and listen, we want them to try out, discover and experience technologies first hand! There will be plenty of workshops, try-outs and hands-on demonstrations for young and old. On top of that, the fair and all the organized workshops are entirely free of charge. That way, everyone has a chance to discover the future and dream big!

Do you want to join us and discover new technologies too? Visit our Digital Interactive Fair on Saturday October 8 and explore how dreams can become reality!

Exclusive: Pre-opening tour for TEAC16 participants! Saturday October 8 at 13:00
GentDig Fair 1
Before the Digital interactive Fair opens to the public, Telecentre Europe Annual Conference participants are invited on an exclusive tour to discover all the wonders that our digital future holds.
You will have a unique chance to meet with brilliant minds and try out new technologies, from drones and virtual reality to 3D printing.

Oh yes, it’s time to dream big!

Project Lightning Talks at TEAC16

We are pleased to announce the projects that will be presented on October 7 during the Project Lightning Talks plenary session at the Telecentre Europe Annual Conference in Ghent.


Each presenter will only have five minutes and will answer the same questions to get to the insight of their projects:

  • what social impact it made,
  • what you would change,
  • what you would keep the same,
  • what you learned.

Lightning talks will be followed by brief questions from the audience. The talks will not cover the typical project quantitative results and deliverables, so this is the chance for you to get acquainted with them, to be well prepared for the talks.

We have a broad geography and variety of projects, with hackathons and online learning being the focus of many.

Ms Iva Walterova,
project officer, Telecentre Europe, Brussels, Belgium
Mr Bastian Pelka,
Research Council, Technical University Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany

I-LINC aims to develop a sustainable and all encompassing platform on the topic of ICT (for) learning and inclusion.  The I-LINC platform is an online environment for networking; participation and learning that will focus on boosting the employability and entrepreneurship capacities of young people.

The project benefits and gathers existing platforms, networks and resources that are available on the topic of ICT (for) learning and inclusion. The project also develops an active community of stakeholders in the field while linking them to the main beneficiaries – young people.

Mr Manus Hanratty, European projects executive, FIT Ltd, Dublin, Ireland

Europe 2020 indicators for poverty and social exclusion state that “the unemployed faced the greatest risk of poverty or social exclusion”. Europe 2020 strategy has set the target of ‘lifting at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and social exclusion’ by 2020.

FIT4JOBS can tackle this issue as it provides in-demand technical skills and “life/soft/people” skills, that employers need, and gets job seekers (back) to work. FIT4JOBS is a replicable project, a multi-stakeholder partnership, a best practice, a Digital Inclusion vehicle, empowerment instrument, with high multiplier/SROI effect, high and immediate financial ROI.

3.  Project Generation 0101
Ms Zagorka Prce Veseli, Coordinator of developmental programs, Centre of Technical Culture Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia.

Generation 0101 is project implemented in Croatia, Turkey, Lithuania, Latvia, Cyprus and Italy, financed by Erasmus+. The project contributes to solving the issues of youth unemployment and bridging the gap between digital industry needs and number of skilled employees.

The conducted research on Digital Agenda revealed differences in quality of ICT education of youth, as well as differences in youth perception of their ICT skills and employers’ perception. The research is summarised in Guidelines for policy makers developed on EU and national levels. Based on the research, seven ICT curricula were developed: e-journalism, community web radio, mobile app development, web design, video, easy coding and online collaboration. 35 youth workers educated 245 young people to prepare them for employment in digital industries.  As a final exam, hackathons were organised where educated young people developed digital solutions for 13 selected NGOs.

4.  Social Hackathon Umbria 2016
Mr Altheo Valentini, European Projects Manager, Associazione Centro Studi Città di Foligno, Foligno, Italy.

More than 50 young hackers and different non-profit organisations from all over Italy took part at the Social Umbria Hackathon at the Study Center of Foligno last 6-10 July 2016, competing in a digital marathon with the final aim of developing socially useful projects.

The event was an absolute novelty in the Umbrian regional context. Supported by the Erasmus+ programme, within the framework of the Generation0101 project, as well as by the eSkills for Jobs campaign, the Digital Agenda of the Umbria Region and the Municipality of Foligno, #SHU2016 offered excellent learning and networking opportunities to young people from Italy and abroad.

5. Project Online4EDU
Ms Nenja Wolbers, Project Manager, Stiftung Digitale Chancen, Berlin, Germany.

The aim of Online4EDU project is to introduce online collaboration tools to teachers and thereby support the use of digital media in their teaching practice. Often digital media is not yet included in school education, which is and will be a great challenge regarding the need for media literate citizens and the lack of IT-specialists.

Online4EDU enables teachers to use technology in a confident way, so that they can pass on the digital skills to their students. This aim is achieved by a developed blended learning training and certification system. Five partner organizations from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland and Germany developed a course and training that complies with the ECDL-Test standards for online collaboration tools.

6. ABC digitale – a platform for digital citizenship experiences and open learning
Ms Claudia Iormetti, Coordinator of Youth Area, Open Group, Bologna, Italy

ABC Digitale inscribes digital skills in an open framework of accessibility and digital citizenship. It looks to individuals and his needs in the information and communication society. ABC Digitale target groups are all stakeholders who want to learn about skills and digital education and those who want to develop their knowledge in digital environment. The platform offers current issues, training and innovative courses, news and tools for professional context, family or school.

ABC Digitale, moving from a dynamic definition of competence, develops its routes moving from the person and his/her needs.  Workshops and training are adapted to specific needs and based on five main dimensions: be informed, interact, communicate, be safe, manage problem situations.

Ms Sara Van Damme, project manager, Digipolis Gent, Ghent, Belgium

Digikriebels is a project, which focuses on vulnerable families, in particular (grand)parents and their pre-schoolers. During a course of 4 lessons they are introduced to a collection of educational games, in order to enhance their ICT and media literacy. Digikriebels aims to give parents more opportunities to support their children in making the transition to the first grade of primary school.  In the last lesson the kids are invited to practice together with their (grand)parents. This course not only boosts the parents’ confidence, but also reinforces the relationship between school and home.

You might have heard of these projects, but definitely haven’t heard what made them successful, what went wrong and what could be done better.

We look forward to seeing you in Ghent and discussing our projects!

Get to know Digipolis – host organization for TEAC16

Digipolis is the non-commercial ICT services organization for Ghent and Antwerp, the two largest cities in Flanders, Belgium.

As the ICT partner of Ghent, Digipolis does not only provide all local authorities with ICT material, but also dedicates time and effort to digital inclusion. With the Digitaal.Talent@Gent program, Digipolis team have been working tirelessly towards e-inclusion in and around the city for ten years now and have set up multiple projects that have boosted digital participation in the city.

Let’s take a look at some of these inspirational projects:

Digital Talent Points in Ghent (Telecentres)Library-Ghent
Digital Talent Points were created all over the city for  people who don’t have access to a computer at home or at work. Apart from free internet access, telecentres allow citizens to work on their digital skills through guided sessions or interactive and hands-on workshops. You can find telecentres in libraries, community centres, local service centres and many more public city facilities.
These telecentres aim to be approachable and easily accessible for people from all social classes and backgrounds, so that everyone has a chance to learn how to work with a computer, write an email or use a certain computer program. For more information about this project, stay tuned for one of our next posts.

Digital Lending Service
Organizations and schools in Ghent can borrow free hardware thanks to our Digital Lending Service.  From tablets for educational and playful classes in kindergarten to computers for Skype lessons in a senior community centre; no matter which ICT device, they can get it through the Lending Service. Also all city employees can use this service to borrow ICT tools and equipment for their own projects. This facilitates the digitalization of city administration and encourages employees to work with more advanced ICT equipment.

Annual Digital Week and Interactive Fair
Once a year, Digipolis organizes an entire week of digital fun and education in the city of Ghent. During this week, you can go to workshops, take lessons or see demonstrations about a certain digital aspect or evolution. There is something in it for everyone, from ICT novices to more advanced digital learners. You can learn how to work with Word or how to install a certain programme, but there are also more innovative courses on 3D printing and virtual reality, for example. All activities during this week are free (or at a very low entrance fee). The Digital Week kicks off with a spectacular opening event: the Digital Interactive Fair. At this fair, young and old come together to see and experience what our digital future has in store!
Find out more details about the Interactive Fair in our next blog post.

De Krook: a new public library with a digital twist
krookIn March 2017, the new public library –De Krook- will open its doors. Apart from books and literature, the new library will also have a strong digital pillar, which Digipolis team is happy to provide. You will be able to go to the library for digital knowledge, as well as work on your digital skills. Do you need to use a computer, want free internet access, or do you wish to follow a course on a digital topic? Digipolis make sure all of these things will be possible in the new library!

Code your future
Underprivileged children and teenagers learn how to make and play their own videogames by learning how to code. Together with young supervisors they spent their summer coding, having fun and developing skills that will help them in the future.

Digital Media programs for the mentally challenged
This project focuses on the e-inclusion of mentally challenged people. Not only do they learn how to work with computers and ICT, but also how to deal with social media and how to use them correctly. The program will lead to more independence and self-development.

This wide variety of projects demonstrates how Digipolis – together with the city of Ghent –  strive towards a more e-inclusive society.

Digipolis Chent is proud to be the host for Telecentre Europe Annual Conference, especially because the topic ‘Digital Skills for Future Work’ is very dear and close to the organization.

First Headline Speakers Announced

We are very honoured and excited to announce our keynote speakers for the opening session at the Telecentre Europe Annual Conference in Ghent, Belgium, on 6-8th October, 2016.

The event will open with

  • Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Minister for the Digital Agenda,
  • Saskia Van Uffelen, CEO of Ericsson Belux and Digital Champion of Belgium, and
  • Eva Pascoe, partner at The Retail Practice and advisor to the UK Government.

The opening plenary of the event will focus on Digital Skills for Future Jobs.

See the Programme for more information on sessions. More updates will follow here.

If you would like to take part in the event, please register.