The health sector is, as stated by OECD in 2021, undergoing “significant transformation from fragmented and disease-centered toward integrated and people-centered care. Health workers find themselves at the centre of this transformation that demands from them commensurate changes in the skill-set employed in day-to-day practice”. The Eurofound in 2020 reported that “recruitment and retention in social services are issues that require immediate and urgent responses, including through social dialogue at national and European level”.
The project C@RE, initiated by the Klaipeda State University of Applied Sciences in Lithuania in cooperation with partners from Lithuania, France, Italy, Romania, Greece and Croatia, aims to support the care system by creating a model that involves the acquisition of the new skills requested by the labour market (basic digital and relational & emotional management skills), using Augmented Reality (AR) as a key tool for digitizing learning pathways. The lack of attention to these competencies in Continuous Vocational Education and Training (C-VET), “combined with the low levels of compensation and professional recognition afforded to this workforce, suggests that much of these workers’ social and emotional labour goes unseen” (PHI, Quality Care through quality jobs, 2021).
The central aim of the C@RE project is oriented toward improving basic digital skills, having the competencies to use digital technologies in daily care activity, and relational & emotional management skills, to manage relationships with clients and their families and manage such emotional work that “is psychologically taxing and over time can contribute to stress and burnout among direct care workers” (PHI, 2021). It has the ambition to prevent the urgent need of lack of qualified workers that the sector of care is facing on, and provide an approach focused on the e-skills needs of care workers (new digital and relational & emotional management skills), use AR to create safe and effective learning situations. Other than this the project wants to contribute to designing and implementing a new, modern, agile and blended (physical/online) educational path of the most important competences that care and social workers need to learn and with related training content to meet labor market requirements provided through the use of AR in C-VET pathways.
These ambitious goals are to be achieved through the development of a competence framework model to provide the needed skills, the design and release of a training course, based on the model above-mentioned and aimed to support VET organizations in introducing the AR method in their social curricula and the creation of a motivational social learning platform that will include training materials, a competency framework and augmented reality components.
Those who will benefit from this project are care workers involved in C-VET paths who will upskill and reskill their competences using AR, educators and teachers providing continuing VET in the sector of personal care services as they will gain from a new professional profile defined by knowledge, skills and competences and LOs closer to labour market’s needs. Indirectly the project will help the stakeholders such as organizations that support the care sector in various ways and include Confederations, Associations, organizations that support business development, as well as public institutions in the care sectors. Needless to mention the labour market itself will have more trained workforce capable of supporting the demand for skilled care and social workers.
The project consortium consists of representatives of these organizations:
Klaipedos Valstybine Kolegija (Lithuania), Klaipedos Ernesto Galvanausko profesinio mokymo centras (Lithuania), OpenCertif (France), European Digital Learning Network (Italy), Asociatia de Terapie Familiala si de Cuplu Timisoara (Romania), Aintek Symvouloi Epicheiriseon Efarmoges Ypsilis Technologias Ekpaidefsi Anonymi Etaireia (Greece), Udruga roditelja “Korak po korak” (Croatia).
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