On November 30, 2020, IT Solutions for All joined the online Kick-Off Meeting of SWIFT SME (Smart Working: Innovative & Flexible Training for SMEs), a Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission, which brings together six Partners from five countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Romania and Spain). The Kick-Off Meeting, hosted by the Centrum fur Innovation und Technologie GmbH (CIT) and Institut De Haute Formation aux Politiques Communautaires asbl (IHF), was originally planned in Brussels, but has been rescheduled online due to COVID-19 restrictions.
EU SMEs represent the backbone of the EU economy. Yet, they are also the least prepared to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and the related lockdown measures. Contrarily to large companies, SMEs are ill equipped for the shift to remote work, lacking as they are both ICT systems and policies to ensure business continuity. According to the latest figures, less than 15% of EU SMEs are ready to implement Smart Working arrangements (European Commission).
The European Commission acknowledged the pressing need to make SMEs competitive and resilient by providing them with ICT solutions and practices to implement Smart Working. Not only is this transition an absolute necessity, but it also constitutes an opportunity, as it allows businesses to increase their efficiency and improve their employees’ working conditions (Eurofound/ILO).
The SWIFT project stands as a concrete response to the pressing need of equipping SMEs with new, innovative and “agile” business models.
SWIFT specifically targets this most vulnerable yet essential segment of European economies to bridge the skill gap and make SMEs more flexible, responsive, efficient and thus able to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis and in the post-pandemic world.
SWIFT will capitalise on the valuable experience of its consortium partners to provide SMEs with skills, competences and tailored solutions to successfully implement Smart Working arrangements. In particular, partners will carry out the following activities:
- Develop the SWIFT OER Platform, a repository of knowledge accessible to all, free of charge, in full Open Access mode and in multilingual versions (DE, EN, IT, RO, ES)
- Develop a shared methodology for the mapping of current trends, threats and opportunities (including technical, operational and human resource implications) and then consolidate the findings in a final report on the basis of which the training and tools will be designed
- Develop the SWIFT training courses, handouts, operational tools and guidelines for European SMEs to adapt and implement Smart Working so as to stay afloat, be more responsive, efficient and competitive, all the while improving the work-life balance of their employees.
- Deliver the training to 120 target groups and collect feedback to fine tune the material created
- Develop guidelines to facilitate the uptake of SWIFT and its mainstreaming in VET and SME ecosystems
- Put forward policy options to promote Smart Working and competitiveness of SMEs
IT Solutions for All is the technological partner of the project, especially of the IO4: REA Platform, the project website, as well as the Backoffice for the management of the project contents, and its maintenance and updating during all the SWIFT SME implementation phases, and even two years after its completion.
For further information on SWIFT SME and other IT Solutions for All initiatives: