FutureFit formally launches in Sweden, where over 500 employees from 3 of the country’s largest trade unions will embark on an innovative 6-week training programme.
FutureFit, an ambitious training and research programme backed by Google.org, launched in Sweden this week as part of a 2 million USD grant to establish training partnerships with trade unions across 5 countries in Northern Europe. Through innovative training interventions, and robust research and evaluation about ‘what works’, the programme aims to empower employees with the skills they need for tomorrow and improve the wider adult learning system across Northern Europe.
Despite a crying need for more digital skills on the labor market, most Swedish people develop their skills far too little and not that often. To remedy this, TCO's think tank, Futurion, together with Google, and in collaboration with the innovation foundation Nesta, The University of Gothenburg and Hyper Island, are launching a major educational venture that is now being rolled out to hundreds of members of TCO's federation.
Started in February 2020, the FutureFit training revolves around developing digital skills and self-leadership. Over 500 TCO members in administrative professions, from trade unions Unionen, Vision and Finansforbundet, will undergo virtual classroom training with teachers and coaches for six weeks. Participants have professional roles such as financial and accounting assistants - roles that are currently changing at a rapid pace as a result of digitization - and FutureFit training will better equip them for the future labor market.
A Sifo survey carried out in collaboration between the Employment Service and Google shows that 40% of Swedes never develop their skills once they finish school or higher education, despite there being a great need for more digital skills in many professions. In addition to the training courses themselves, FutureFit is also a research project in collaboration with the University of Gothenburg. Through innovative methods, the purpose is to try to understand which training methods actually work, to teach digital skills and leadership in a labor market undergoing lightning fast change. The teaching methods and digital classrooms have, in turn, been designed by Hyper Island.
“Lifelong learning is something that many people talk about, but few really practice. The question then becomes - how do we get more people to learn throughout their lives? Through this project we hope to get closer to an answer to that question. As one of the companies that drives technological development, we want to do what we can to make digitalization work for as many people as possible”, said Anna Wikland, Google's Swedish Manager.
“A lot of people will need skills development and continuing education in digital skills over the next few years. This is a fantastic opportunity, but of course the rapid changes in the labor market can also be a source of concern among many Swedes. Anyone who has to keep up with the development can easily feel that digitalization is about to run us over. Through this project we are taking action to help”, said TCO chair, Therese Svanström.
“This is an exciting opportunity to promote innovation in competence building initiatives, and ultimately to inspire governments, unions and educators across Europe to foster a culture of lifelong learning for all", said Olivia Chapman, Senior Programme Manager at Nesta.
A study from the McKinsey Global Institute shows that almost half of the tasks performed at Swedish workplaces today can be automated using technology that already exists. At the same time, 100,000 new job opportunities can be created in Sweden in the next few years, if we succeed in seizing the opportunities that result from increased digitalization. One third of Swedes currently lack the necessary knowledge to take advantage of these jobs being created.
The training for TCO affiliate members has proved very popular in the start-up phase, with 1500 applications for the original 500 places.