Digital skills comprise one of the eight key competencies for lifelong learning. Digitally skilled youth workers will competently promote and ensure successful civic participation of young individuals. On May 15th 2022, the Cyprus Youth Clubs Organisation (KOKEN) conducted a focus group to gather qualitative data for the development of the DigitalYouth Training Package: an interactive handbook for youth workers. The following is a short description of the Cyprus report prepared and submitted by KOKEN in partial fulfillment of the aims of the DigitalYouth project coordinated by CARDET, Cyprus.
Focus group: A description of the sample
A total of five individuals participated in the focus group discussion. Sixty per cent were female, mostly youth workers (60%), the remaining being a president of the board of a non-governmental organisation in the youth work sector, and one educational psychologist. The age of the focus group ranged between 24-45 years old with over 10 years of experience in youth work.
Overview and Current status
Participants acknowledged the importance of acquiring digital skills and expressed the need to be trained. They discussed how the social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and online communication platforms (e.g. Skype, ZOOM) had significantly contributed to connecting with young individuals-especially during the COVID-19 crisis and lockdowns. They noted that overall, they have been attending non-formal educational trainings, seminars, workshops, activities, webinars, job shadowing and study visits both for professional and personal development. An overall consensus was also noted regarding the benefits of a freely accessible to youth workers’ platform containing an exchange of best practices, webinars training sessions and digital tools. An acknowledgement of learning basic internet, IT skills and Microsoft Office was also brought forward. Additionally, participants stated that they have been using online communication platforms (MS Teams, Zoom, Skype), social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram) for communication and training purposes, Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Word, Excel), Coreldraw, Photoshop and WordPress during their work days. A lack of familiarity with MOOC, DigComp, DigCompEdu, Youth Work Portfolio of the CoE as well as with digital tools for use with individuals with physical disabilities was mentioned throughout the discussion.
Although participants took a positive stance regarding digital competency, they raised their concerns about the time consumed on training and adaptability and highlighted possible resistance to change from fellow youth workers. Notwithstanding, participating individuals were keen to adapt to changes and attend how to use effectively digital tools trainings, trainings on using online applications for employees, online courses and modules. Basic IT knowledge and skills, and MS Office were also regarded as a necessity in the workplace and the importance of trainings on successfully using online communication platforms and social media was also highlighted during the focus group discussion. Trainings on how to apply age restriction on websites and security and safety trainings were also deemed important and useful
Based on the above findings, KOKEN recommends the following:
- User-friendly & easily accessible tools.
- A step-by-step guidance for each digital tool.
- Basic Internet skills modules.
- Microsoft Office.
- Digital tools for individuals with physical difficulties.
- How to effectively use communication platforms.
- How to effectively use QR codes at work.
- Security & safety guidance on using online communication platforms, social media and the internet.
- MOOC introduction, ‘how to use’ guidance and benefits.