Collaborating to nurture ICT skills and diversity

Main visual : Collaborating to nurture ICT skills and diversity

Keeping up with the rapid and extensive changes now taking place in our digital world, while also shaping one’s career development effectively, is a very demanding process for most of us.

Sustainable, life-long learning is one of the most important factors for ensuring success in coping with new challenges. The old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is more relevant today than ever before.

In order to bolster competitiveness and avoid unemployment, even the European Council has recognized the importance of “promoting life-long learning and the skills required for a modern economy,” and now sees this as a top priority.

Studies have shown that life-long learning across the EU among those people between the ages of 25 and 64 is rather low. There are a number of reasons for that. One is the fact that learning opportunities available often do not result in significant advantages for participants.

Despite the dedication and motivation among people willing to take part in learning programs, many participants are not able to unlock their full potential and practical implementations fall by the wayside. Insecurity, disappointment and career stagnation are all too often a final result.

That’s why the Fujitsu Enterprise Platform Services Academy has decided to intensify its efforts to offer inspiring and informative courses and learning programs!

Collaboration on creative learning experiences

One central approach being taken by the Fujitsu Enterprise Platform Services (EPS) Academy involves the establishment and support of educational networks in Central Europe in order to promote job-related training and career planning initiatives.

The concept behind the EPS Academy is based on a holistic approach that brings together employees, customers, partners, colleges, universities, schools and other educational institutions in order to create learning experiences, generate enthusiasm, and make sure that participants experience the benefits of successful learning outcomes.

Enhancing existing structures with hands-on learning

At the Fujitsu Innovation Days, an initiative which we have sponsored for many years in collaboration with Technology University of Applied Sciences (HFT) in Stuttgart, with the Goethe University in Frankfurt or the Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences, participants take part in specially focused seminars that cover the wide range of real-world IT topics, from the latest hype to enterprise IT subjects like proven mainframe infrastructures.

Enabling people to gain practical experience is the goal of all these programs.

Of course, new formats are needed to make learning and the application of subject matter easier. This means offering just the right mix of theory and practice based on the latest ICT trends along with information about existing ICT implementations – all presented in an exciting learning environment.

“These initiatives always generate a lot of enthusiasm among participants, and the combination of theory and practice provides them with a degree of in-depth knowledge that enhances the core curriculum,” 

- Peter Wilke, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg.

Another popular highlight in our offering is the Fujitsu Winter School (DE) concept, a compact four-day event that includes insights into theory as well as practice-centric experiences.

Together with the University Erlangen-Nuremberg, we are currently planning to extend the development of a program launched a few years ago at HFT Stuttgart – here we intend to add a series of curricula of relevance to mainframes. And with the Hacker School e.V. (DE), we are currently considering supporting schools together in order to make IT scenarios more tangible for young people at an early stage.

The EPS Academy offers courses specifically designed for students and pupils who want to “get a taste” of the real IT world. We are committed to diversity and inclusion in all our programs, including steps taken to make sure that women in various age groups have access to opportunities in the world of IT. Girls Days (DE) and Ada Lovelace Days are just two examples.

New ideas and new methodologies

Collaboration with partners and fellow enterprise organizations is another way in which the EPS Academy is able to enhance and expand its activities, ranging from expert initiatives to new approaches and methodologies for supporting learning processes.

One example is the Society for Information Technology (Gesellschaft für Informatik eV. (GI) (DE) and its specialist work group focused on operating systems.

“This exchange of ideas is important for everyone in the group – professors, students and representatives of leading IT players – because it keeps them updated when it comes to the latest developments,”

- Dieter Kasper (CTO of Fujitsu CE EPS and Fellow, Head of Fujitsu Distinguished Engineers, CE & WEMEA).

Knowledge transfer takes on various forms in today’s world. I am personally inspired by the international initiatives of Working-out Loud (WOL)- programme, which offer people from all participating enterprises and specialist departments great opportunities for independently achieving their personal development goals.

Exchanging ideas and experiences with others allows them to gain new insights and discover new horizons, not to mention the benefits gained from the intellectual ‘give and take’ involved.”

During the course of this project from late 2018 to early 2019, a variety of business enterprises from different branches participated in these “thinking outside of the box” events in Munich.

This learning method not only opens up new pathways and expands networks, but also provides a stimulus for collaboration across all industries. WoL is an amazingly simple concept: Learning from and with each other!

But one thing is very important: Take part and stay on the ball! This is also confirmed by many interesting examples in the book "Visionäre von heute-Gestalter von morgen (DE)" (published by Springer-Gabler, 2018).

Providing a level playing field

Many educational institutions know that courses can be enhanced through the use of the latest technology and computer-supported learning modules – at the same time, however, they often want to avoid the enormous workloads and costs stemming from the implementation and administration of modern IT platforms and methods.

Fujitsu Securon (DE) in this field provides a successful end-to-end solution that addresses this challenge and helps educational institutions gear up for the digital world quickly.

Securon is an easy to use educational platform that enables schools, teachers and pupils to combine content, methodology and pedagogical concepts to suit their specific needs. This “fitness program” for the digital future extends far beyond technology and infrastructure.

It promotes personal engagement and enriched knowledge transfer on a level playing field. This includes supporting learning initiatives for various target groups at various levels.

That’s why the EPS Academy supports so many multifaceted and diverse programs and learning activities.

Examples from the past few weeks and months reflect a myriad of needs and requirements that drew our attention: The ReDI School of Digital Integration approached us seeking support for current and future programs established for pupils and students with migrant backgrounds.

We also received requests from conferences such as the GEWINN-Expert Day at the TU Munich asking us to provide expert speakers, papers, workshops, application scenarios, etc. of relevance to current hot topics in the IT world.

The agenda of the last TUM Conference in April 2019 included e.g. an interactive workshop on “Gender in Algorithmic Systems” with case studies focused on “The Opportunities, Risks and Pathways to AI,” a topic that we will also discuss at the upcoming M-AI Summit 2019.

We regularly and intensively exchange information about current issues in close collaboration with educational institutions and organizations, with technology and training partners, and with our customers within the scope of co-creation processes.

We view this as a key prerequisite for shaping the events and developments of our times and society with our partners and customers. As an organization, we adhere to this principle internally and externally.

For many years Fujitsu has launched many different internal initiatives to promote knowledge transfer and collaboration – such as training programs for students, trainees and employees as part of our successful change processes.

Talent ready for the digital future

To address the issues arising from demographic change, everyone must come together and work together. Inspiring people to take an interest in technology is one of the main purposes of the EPS Academy.

Another goal is to make careers in technology attractive and accessible so that everyone will be ready for the challenges of the future – together, because this is the key to success.

In the “Digitalverband Bitkom e.V.” many representatives of the leading IT enterprises work side by side, e.g. as members of the Education and Career Committee (DE) with a focus on specific actions and initiatives, for example to increase the number of women playing key roles in the IT world.

One group, “Women in ICT (DE)” is comprised of women who are digital experts and business executives who engage in discussions and dialogue with young women and talents entering the field. One format for exchanging ideas and experience which is widely accepted is speed-mentoring, for example at the beginning of the year at the trade fairs in Hanover (DE) and Frankfurt (DE).  

Broad initiatives such as those at HFT Stuttgart under the leadership of Prof. Peter Heusch are offered to students early in the curriculum – in this case with support from Fujitsu NEXT e.V. (de).

What’s more, HFT Stuttgart also has a fully equipped mainframe SE Infrastructure from Fujitsu which is operated for practical learning scenarios. Plans call for gradually expanding this infrastructure and providing access to other schools and universities for shared system capacities, a step that e.g. will further anchor mainframe technology in selected curricula.

There is no doubt that demographic change and digital change will continue to pose challenges that can only be overcome through our creativity and more intensive collaboration.

That’s the reason for constantly expanding the Fujitsu education and training network. Would you like to be a part of this endeavor? If so, why not contact us right now: eps.academy@ts.fujitsu.com