Behind the Scenes of DigiAdvance: Interview with Carisa Martins (InovaRia)

Welcome to our series of 1:1 interviews with the team behind DigiAdvance. Today we are lucky to be joined by Carisa Martins, Project Coordinator at InovaRia, to dive into our news Skills Mapping Tool, their role in the project and their vision for the future of digital skills.

This Skills Mapping Tool is part of our research being conducted by the University of Aveiro (UA), together with the University Autonoma of Barcelona (UAB) and Dublin City University (DCU), to discern what would be required to improve the advanced digital skills of SME employees in Europe. The survey itself has been put together by the University of Aveiro’s Labour Observatory team (which we will find out more about below!).

Hello Carisa, thank you for joining us today! Could you share why Inova-Ria decided to join the DigiAdvance project and how it aligns with the organisation’s goals and mission?

One of the Association’s strategic goals is to promote the training and upgrading of human resources of our associated companies. As technology is constantly evolving, professionals in this field and the job market itself require constant updating of knowledge and adaptation to the needs and challenges of the various sectors of the economy.

Following on from the work carried out on the project Aveiro Steam City, which involved setting up a job observatory in partnership with the University of Aveiro to identify future jobs and technological trends, Inova-Ria saw DigiAdvance as a tool that aligns with these goals. Believing in the importance of bringing academia and companies closer together, adjusting training and curricular offerings to market needs, and promoting continuous training throughout careers, Inova-Ria is committed to realizing these objectives through DigiAdvance.

Thank you! As a partner in the DigiAdvance project, what specific role does Inova-Ria play in addressing the skills gap and fostering digital upskilling and reskilling?

As mentioned earlier, today’s market is constantly developing and with this comes challenges that require companies and their employees to be increasingly prepared to meet the challenges and skills required.

The lack of digital skills in companies is a growing problem that affects productivity, innovation and competitiveness.

Faced with this reality, we want companies to be more capable and properly prepared for today’s challenges. As an Association, we represent a significant number of technology-based companies throughout the country, companies that also feel the need to update and train in order to be increasingly competitive and innovative in their strategies and action plans. For this to happen, it is essential that employees keep up with trends and are equipped with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to carry out their duties efficiently, effectively and productively.

In this sense, Inova-Ria’s role is to assist in the assessment and identification of needs and gaps through the application of forms to company leaders and employees; to forecast trends; to assist in the definition and planning of training and development programs, namely courses focused on digital skills; to promote Digital Inclusion initiatives and skills requalification programs.

After surveying and defining the training programs, Inova-Ria is also responsible for disseminating the results and promoting the training offer created under this project.

The lack of digital skills in companies is a growing problem that affects productivity, innovation and competitiveness.
Carisa Martins

From Inova-Ria’s perspective, what is the main objective of the DigiAdvance project, and how does it aim to contribute to the development and competitiveness of SMEs in the digital era?

The DigiAdvance project seeks to empower SMEs so that they can be better prepared for this new digital age and emerging technologies. To this end, it seeks to identify the gaps in basic digital skills that exist in the market by promoting tailor-made, low-cost and demand-driven training programmes in essential digital technologies for SME owners, managers and employees and to create opportunities for knowledge transfer and networking between European HEIs and industry.

With these objectives in mind, we believe the project promotes digital transformation through the development of advanced digital skills and the adoption of emerging technologies. It stimulates digital transformation and strengthens the competitiveness of SMEs, equipping them with the tools and knowledge they need to face the challenges and seize the opportunities of the digital market.

We also believe that better trained employees are more motivated, efficient and productive employees, which will translate into better results for organisations in terms of recognition, positioning and financial results. Only in this way will companies be prepared to incorporate emerging technologies into their day-to-day operations.

Given Inova-Ria’s experience in organising internships and scholarships for its associates, how does the organisation plan to leverage this expertise to support the implementation and success of DigiAdvance’s training initiatives?

Since Inova-Ria has more than 20 years’ experience in identifying and selecting talent, we know that it is important to complement the curriculum of students at the final stage of their academic careers. This takes form an experience of acquiring knowledge in a work context within the Associated Companies, through integration into multidisciplinary teams.

We believe that our positioning and experience, namely in organising internships and GENIUS scholarships for our Associates, allows us to support the implementation and success of the DigiAdvance project’s training initiatives, since we are able to anticipate trends, identify practices and needs to support the strategy of defining the training offer and the success of DigiAdvance initiatives.

As part of the Aveiro Steam City project, Inova-Ria addresses challenges related to talent attraction and retention. How does the DigiAdvance project complement these efforts and contribute to the overall goal of enhancing the region’s capacity to meet labour market demands in the digital age?

Territories are increasingly competing with each other when it comes to attracting and retaining people and talent. Issues such as mobility, infrastructure and cultural offerings are determining factors in the characterization of territories and their competitiveness.

Aware of this reality, the Aveiro Region has sought to combine these factors by incorporating technology and innovation as essential elements in its specialisation and attractiveness. DigiAdvance complements and strengthens the efforts made within the framework of Aveiro Steam City, especially with regard to attracting and retaining talent and the region’s ability to respond to the needs of the digital labour market. It seeks to offer specialised training, certify professionals, promote a culture of innovation and continuous learning, in an environment of innovation and in a territory that promotes experimentation and the incorporation of technologies.

Territories like the Aveiro Region, where professionals specialise, collaborate and strengthen their sense of community, reflect a strong culture and a more sustainable community. They will thus be better prepared for digital challenges.

Ready to see how your SME measures up? Take part in our 10-minute Skills Mapping Tool to see how your team’s digital skills measure up to other SMEs in Europe, and simultaneously have your say in shaping the future of our courses. Participate here.