Digital Belgium Skills Fund

Bridging the digital skills gap in Belgium

The Digital Belgium Skills Fund and BeCode are collaborating to improve the digital skills set of Belgium’s workforce.

A project supported by

Project summary

As part of this project BeCode wants to make ICT trainings available to citizens of all backgrounds all across Belgium.

BeCode is a non-profit organisation that offers free educational programs for anyone who is motivated and eager to learn new skills to work in a forward-looking sector : ICT.

The project is supported by the Digital Belgium Skills Fund.

Project details 

Project goals

In Code We Trust

BeCode vzw wants to train professional programmers, regardless of their background or foreknowledge, and thereby offer an answer to the acute shortage of digitally trained workers from a socially inclusive perspective – and this in the conviction that broadening skills and offering a concrete job perspective offers prevention against radicalisation of our society.

This first project concerned the start-up of a pilot project in Brussels, with 2 different locations – and the building up of the required expertise and experience to adapt the “Simplon model” to the specific Belgian context. Given the large numbers of potential students and vacancies to be filled, the development and testing of a model for scalability of the project was an important part of the objective. That is why during the course of this pilot project the BeCode activities in at least one additional city, namely Charleroi, were already underway. This would allow BeCode to quickly move on to a national network of schools in 2018.

BeCode: cross-regional expansion

After a successful pilot in Brussels, BeCode started the cross-regional expansion to Flanders and Wallonia as part of this 2nd DBSF project. Multiple classes were launched in Charleroi and Antwerp, allowing ca 250 job seekers to be reskilled into junior web developers.

BeCode – Activation of employers for sustainable programming training

In order to ensure the supply and flow of well-trained technical profiles to the Belgian labour market in the longer term, employers must be actively involved (and at an early stage) in these training courses. They also have to include (learn) their share in the economic payback model of the training – after all, they are the most important customers.
In this project, BeCode therefore took up the challenge of developing an economic model in which employers and public actors in balance finance a solution to the pressing labour shortage, focusing mainly on tapping into “new” talent groups, in particular the low-skilled, long-term unemployed, non-native speakers, etc., but also allowing existing workers who are “upskilling” to stay in the fast-digit economy.
BeCode involved employers both in the different phases of the existing basic training “junior web developer” and in the development of specific content for companies.

Expert digital skills as a pathway to sustainable employment

Many young adults NEETs (not in employment, education or training) and older people with a heavy job already have a good basis of digital skills and interest in the ICT sector. In this project, we will work with the most motivated candidates to develop an initial level of expertise in one of the domains that is currently most in demand on the labour market: Python development with AI fundamentals, Data AI Development, DevSecOps or Cloud Development. We lead candidates from the programme to the labour market thanks to close cooperation with global industry leaders (e.g. Microsoft, Euroclear and AWS) and companies with concrete vacancies in these domains, who come into contact with the students through student projects, meetups, workshops and hackathons throughout the programme, after which they will complete a company internship as a last step towards their new career.

Target audience

The Digital Belgium Skills Fund supports the digital education of children, youth and young adults, especially those socially vulnerable. As part of the BeCode training, the target audience of the project mainly consists of young adults who are remote from employment due to a lack of degrees or diplomas (school drop-outs), a lack of professional experience, a lack of soft and tech skills or a long-term unemployment period.

Contact us

Sarah Unger

Sarah Unger