TEKWILL - AN EXPERT IN EDUCATIONAL PROJECTS PREPARING FOR TOMORROW'S WORKFORCE

27 July, 10:10

Major investments in training and development of the workforce are essential for increasing economic competitiveness, productivity, and the ability to make progress, especially in the Moldovan IT industry. This principle is applied by the Tekwill project, an important pillar in preparing the workforce to adapt to the current needs of the market for the IT industry or for other related fields in which specialized knowledge is in high demand. In this sense, the project develops several educational programs and training in accordance with market requirements for students, IT professionals, and those who want to change their profession. The Tekwill project is implemented with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Sweden.

The specialists involved in the project aim to diversify, multiply, and further explore new educational programs that will open the way for young people to new and multiple opportunities. In the last three years, approximately 52,000 people have become beneficiaries of Tekwill's educational and entrepreneurial initiatives with 34% of them being women.

Programs dedicated to students and universities

Tekwill Academy offers programs adjusted to market trend which are developed together with several IT companies and aim to cover both technical knowledge and software skills development. These programs aim to increase the level of training for professionals in specialized fields (those with training in Java Fundamentals, SQL Fundamentals, Networking &Cyber Security, Web Development, Quality Assurance, Python, etc.), and the courses will continue to improve due to cooperation with several internationally renowned companies (Oracle and Microsoft) and locally (Amdaris, Endava, Inthergroup, Ellation, Gilat, etc.). The project also includes programs for the development of managerial skills and personal efficiency which were identified by representatives of the IT sector as essential for professionals who manage large projects. Tekwill Academy aims to offer 17 unique training courses which will benefit over 2,000 people each year.

International certifications for students and professionals. One of the most current trends in IT is international certifications verifying the candidate's knowledge. Moreover, these certificates offer the possibility of growth on a professional level, but also the necessary support for further professional development whichis also an important part of the human resources development plan within large corporations. In order to increase the employment rate among college graduates, the Tekwillproject is developing a scholarship program for students giving them the opportunity to obtain some of the most sought-after international certifications during their years of study.

Programs for teachers. At the national level, the Tekwill project continues to strengthen the skills of university teachers by supporting them to adapting andimproving their teaching skills and continuing education to market requirements. This is so that the methods used in the educational process are in line with international standards for training the new generation of professionals. Approximately 50 teachers will be able to request up to two required training programs annually. In addition to these trainings, there are plans to launch a University Scholarship program. The initiative will provide the possibility for university study programs to be complemented with best practices from international experiences as some subjects may be taught even by foreign professors. These subjects of study include software development, cyber security, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analysis, and business development.

The "Tekwill Ambassadors: UTeach Edition" program is dedicated to university professors and encourages them to adjust their curriculum to labor market trends including innovative ideas. In this context, in 2020 the Tekwill project selected 13 candidates on the basis of a selection process. Each candidatewill receive technical assistance/equipment/training or logistical support in order to increase their capacity in developing digital curriculum, introducing new IT training methods, improving professional skills, or promoting IT careers among young people. Each of them will receive assistance of up to US $ 2,000.

Educational programs for students

TEKWILL Academy Kids (TAK) is in a continuous process of improving curriculum for children and adolescents. The main purpose of this initiative is to create innovative programs and methodologies that can be replicated and taught by branches of other TAK centers and by independent teachers. TAK collaborates continuously with several companies, including IT companies, to create study programs that allow participants from an early age to test industries of the future including robotics, videoblogging, digital painting, and animation.
The gaming and digital sports industry is an area with the most interest of the project. Thus, TAK organizes the National eSports Championship which also involves representatives of the private sector to support the participating teams and to create a national team that can represent our country in international competitions.

"Tekwill in every school" is a complex program of online extracurricular courses which aims to develop children's skills to be better prepared for tomorrow's careers. The initiative provides the development of free content in priority areas which is accessible to all general secondary education institutions in the Republic of Moldova. "Tekwill in every school" aims to transform education in the Republic of Moldova, both by developing interactive digital content and by introducing new methodologies in the teaching and learning process of educational institutions including blended learning and the flipped classroom. Beneficiaries will be able to access the following courses: C / C ++ Algorithm Programming, Artificial Intelligence, Web Design and Development, Mobile Application Design and Development, Graphic Design, Video Storytelling, Emotional Intelligence, and Entrepreneurship. Courses can be studied individually as well as guided by a teacher during classes by introducing them as optional subjects. Lessons are provided for students aged 13-19.

Programs launched by the community

Distance education has launched new challenges for the Moldovan educational community. Now students can find all the necessary lessons on a single platform known asinvat.online. This platform was built on the model of "virtual classrooms" which allows each teacher or educational institution to integrate links, videos, and images with content relevant to school curriculum topics. Also, students can findother materials they want to study here. About 92,000 unique users have benefited from the educational resources distributed by invat.onlineduring the pandemic.

Supporting private initiatives. One of the directions of the project is to support private sector educational initiatives and expand educational opportunities in regions with great potential for ICT sector development. Out of 12 selected projects, four projects involve supporting initiatives in the field of education. In this initiative 50% of the program costs will be supported by the Tekwill project funded by USAID and Sweden sources and 50% will be supported by private companies. These initiatives aim at training women in digital skills, introducing assessment tools for universities, and creating digital content and IT platforms for remote access.

Programs dedicated to IT graduates and other professionals

Encouraging the choice of a career in IT. Traditionally, to promote a career in IT Tekwill organizes an informational campaign for the public. With this a number of videos are promoted through the national media. The success stories include representatives from IT companies that have managed to achieve remarkable success in the field, but also the motivation that has brought them there. The materials contribute to the demystification of IT roles and to combating stereotypes regarding roles in the IT sector. Also, to encourage the choice of a career in IT, Tekwill organizes an eventintended for young people studying ICT in higher education and technical vocational institutions. The event includes sessions on current topics in the field as well as informational sessions on internship opportunities and employment conditions to aims in developing a connection between graduates and employers. The Tekwill project also runs ancampaign known as "Choose a career in IT" throughout schools which takes place as informational sessions for students of grades X-XII.

Programs dedicated to encouraging women to pursue a career in ICT

Traditionally, this year as well, TEKWILL plans to run the "Girls can do IT" campaign which provides career guidance sessions targeting high school and middle school students (grades IX-XII). The purpose of this initiative is to communicate the benefits of an IT career and to provide key information about opportunities and perspectives that can be explored. Following the campaign, a series of two-day events will be organized dedicated to middle school and high school girls. The activity aims to deepen the knowledge about this industry through motivation and information sessions, but also to offer them the opportunity to test one of the top trades in the provided workshops. So far about 1,500 girls have benefited from similar sessions.

Tech Women in ICT event. The Tech Women Summit is a one-day event dedicated to women who are already in the IT field as well as students or recent graduates who want to make a career change. The aim of the event is to give participants the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge in the field and also to motivate them to play an active role in the local IT community sharing their experience and achievements. The event also aims to change the perception of the role of women in IT and strengthen the local community. The summit consists of a motivational part and information sessions according to the interests of the participants. The latter will cover topics in the fields of management, software development or others that will bring to the center of attention the latest trends and innovations in the field. The event will provide participants with important opportunities to learn from industry leaders, to connect, to be inspired, and to explore perspectives that can fundamentally change their career path.

TechWomen platform. Special attention is paid to the creation and consolidation of the TechWomen network. The program began in 2018 with the selection of 11 TechWomen Ambassadors by community members and their involvement in promoting ICT careers among girls. The activity is interconnected with other industries and aims to promote only Moldovan IT professionals and provide international networking opportunities. The platform offers the possibility of interaction, exchange of views, networking and strengthening the network of professionals in the field.

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