|What is econ-it?|
ECON IT seeks to increase the contribution of business advisers as change agents who facilitate the uptake of innovation and growth within their SME clients. Firstly, the project will raise the quality of training available to them, by carrying out a full assessment of training needs and developing an innovative training resource which blends real life learning, interaction and assessment, with online course content.
Secondly, as well as improving training quality, ECON IT responds to the need to increase the number of business advisers undertaking training by creating an attractive training package. The ECON IT training resource will feature online and offline learning, encouraging uptake by those trainees who are often disadvantaged by classroom training (e.g. those with long working hours, mothers, those living in smaller towns), and providing greater recognition across European borders.
Finally, in order to ensure that ECON IT makes a lasting and valuable contribution to European VET, the project focuses strongly on achieving improved collaboration between VET and business sectors.
TThe overall aim of ECON IT is the development of a training course to improve the quality of business advisery training and thus to increase the uptake of such training. This will boost the ability of business advisers to provide flexible, tailor made support, and thus be more effective in influencing the uptake of positive growth patterns and innovation within their small business clients.
As a pilot project, the immediate aims of the project are therefore to:
- Identify, across Europe, the training needs of small businesses with growth potential
- Define key business adviser competencies as identified by the needs analysis and focus groups.
- Design and produce a highly relevant training course. This will be supported by an online platform for delivery, alongside live tutor support and assessment. Specifically, the training course aims to:
- focus directly on the needs of business advisers as educators and change facilitators
- provide trainees with skills to provide tailor-made support to clients, taking account of their specific size, phase of development, field of activity etc
- be highly accessible, in terms of time and cost
- foster the development of a community of business advisers fostering peer-feedback and support, as well as providing trainees with useful networking opportunities
- Pilot test the training resource with the target group in order to generate feedback and refine the content and format if required.
- Promote the training resource to maximise its uptake, not only by individual business advisers but also by their employers, enterprise agency and SME support bodies
- Carry out an in-depth evaluation of the project (process and outcomes) in order to feedback into future VET policy and practice and sustained collaboration between the business advisery profession and VET institutions.