The digital divide as a springboard to employment

19.07.2022

BeCode and the Orange Digital Center prove that training can make all the difference. 

The Orange experts of the future don’t always realise they have a gift for IT. In fact, for many of them, digital is a whole other world. That’s why the right training courses can change lives and boost enterprise, by teaching a host of in-demand skills that lead to a job with a future.

 

Bridging the digital divide 

For a telephony and internet operator like Orange, ensuring everyone has digital access is a social mission. Digital inclusion and a determination to support entrepreneurship are both in our DNA. We prepare large and small companies – whether long-established or start-ups – for the challenges of a world that’s evolving rapidly. And with the Orange Digital Center, we’re equipping tomorrow’s IT professionals to perform crucial roles.

Thanks to new technologies – such as 5G, artificial intelligence, IoT and cybersecurity – companies can become more efficient, higher performing and more future-proof. Their survival depends on their agility and willingness to embrace these innovations. But the market has a serious shortage of developers and data analysts. To tackle this shortage – and increase digital inclusion at the same time – Orange wants to offer real opportunities to young people who have dropped out of school or are seeking social reintegration, as well as those in long-term unemployment.

After seven months of practical training courses and two months spent learning within a company – yours, perhaps? – participants will be at home with Big Data, AI, cybersecurity and 5G applications. These programmes are offered free of charge and are supported by the King Baudouin Foundation.

 

Inclusive training 

Orange Belgium works closely with two inclusive training centres that are fighting to overcome the digital divide. The first is WeTechCare, which targets the general public through short training modules and video capsules (123digit.be). Its aim is to help people acquire basic digital skills such as using the Itsme authentication tool, completing a tax return online, installing an app, making payments or preventing piracy.

The second centre, BeCode, focuses on young people aged from 18 to 35 who are unemployed and have no previous experience in IT but would like to make it their profession. This is a visionary approach, because between now and 2030, as many as 600,000 new jobs will have to be created in order to maintain our competitiveness, according to Agoria’s Be The Change study.

This demand requires us to educate and train people who are already working or looking for work in various aspects of digitalisation. For example: call centre operators must learn to answer customers’ questions via chatbot instead of by telephone. 

 

Co-Creation

Orange Belgium is seeking to train more than 600 people between now and the end of 2022, including 350 via BeCode and 200 via the Solidarity FabLab, Orange’s shared creation and prototyping space. “We co-created the content of the training courses given by BeCode on 5G and the IoT (Internet of Things),”  explains Juliette Malherbe, head of the Orange Digital Center project and Orange Fab Innovation Manager.

 

What the Orange Digital Center wants to do is offer a complete ecosystem,” she adds. “A student can begin to learn to code in the Digital Academy, then go to the FabLab to develop their prototype, create their start-up with the aid of Orange Fab and grow their business with financing from Orange Ventures.

 

Juliette Malherbe

 

Complete ecosystem

“What the Orange Digital Center wants to do is offer a complete ecosystem,” she adds. “A student can begin to learn to code in the Digital Academy, then go to the FabLab to develop their prototype, create their start-up with the aid of Orange Fab and grow their business with financing from Orange Ventures.”

 

In addition to Brussels, 5G Labs have opened in Antwerp and Liège, where BeCode also has a base. Given how jobs are evolving, we envisage launching training courses for our business customers. Thanks to the Orange Digital Center, their personnel will be able to bring themselves up to date by acquiring new digital skills.

 

 

Digital reconversion in B2B

“In addition to Brussels, 5G Labs have opened in Antwerp and Liège, where BeCode also has a base. Given how jobs are evolving, we envisage launching training courses for our business customers. Thanks to the Orange Digital Center, their personnel will be able to bring themselves up to date by acquiring new digital skills.”

 

Orange Digital Center

The Orange Digital Center is a support and development centre composed of four programmes:

  • The Solidarity FabLab creation and prototyping space gives access to digital tools such as 3D printers, digital embroidery machines, an Internet of Things workshop and a laser cutter. Creating objects enables users to become familiar with coding and gain confidence about prototyping their ideas. One recently realised idea is a CO2 detector that was produced entirely using electronic elements, after which the SIM card and the mother board were connected, the sensors parameterised and the housing printed in 3D.
     

  • The Digital Academy is based on two partnerships, including one with BeCode, which trains young people for seven months to turn them into the web developers and data analysts of tomorrow. It enables them to acquire professional and human skills and coaches them through their professional integration or creating their business
     

  • Orange Fab is the accelerator of start-ups in Belgium and Luxembourg. In the past five years, three innovative start-ups have been selected each year to benefit from Orange’s assistance and network to market their products;
     

  • The Orange Ventures investment fund.

 

Our mission is to enable people who are unemployed to become the best developers of tomorrow. The current shortage is prompting employers like never before to adopt a recruitment strategy that highlights diversity, focused on skills rather than degrees. In addition, these future-oriented jobs offer well-paid career possibilities. We see the digital skills shortage as a lever for creating a more inclusive workforce.

 

Frédéric De Cooman, director of BeCode:

 

Becode

Frédéric De Cooman, director of BeCode: “Our mission is to enable people who are unemployed to become the best developers of tomorrow. The current shortage is prompting employers like never before to adopt a recruitment strategy that highlights diversity, focused on skills rather than degrees. In addition, these future-oriented jobs offer well-paid career possibilities. We see the digital skills shortage as a lever for creating a more inclusive workforce.”

 

 

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