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Technology is significantly transforming the labour market.  There are new emerging jobs with a strong digital component and even more traditional positions, require now more technological profiles. In addition, companies are increasingly using digital channels and tools to find and attract talent.

 In this context, it is important for the most vulnerable people to be aware of this transformation and have access to digital and technological training in order to be able to access the labour market.

#EmpleandoDigital is a pilot project developed by Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) and the Spanish Red Cross (SRC), in close collaboration with the Accenture Foundation. The project is co-financed by the Accenture Foundation and the European Social Fund.

The project was launched during 2017 with a clear objective: bringing up-to-date, improving and bringing innovation to the processes and methodologies of our employment programmes in order to continue successfully supporting the people we work with in a labour market that is being transformed by the new technologies.

To achieve this, #EmpleandoDigital has focused on two key aspects:

  1. Training our employment teams and bringing our methodologies and processes up-to-date.
  2. Enhancing the digital knowledge and skills of the people at risk of exclusion that take part in our employment programmes.

#EmpleandoDigital has been deployed in 12 regions and over 300 professionals from 26 employment teams have been directly involved in it (13 teams from FSG and 13 from Spanish Red Cross). More than 10,000 people at risk of exclusion have participated in the project, improving their digital skills and knowledge.

Results 2017-2019

In total, 9,826 people have improved their digital skills and knowledge thanks to #EmpleandoDigital, being more than 50% women

  • 5,924 people have improved their digital skills through basic courses on digital skills, and 2328 have followed advanced courses
  • 1,848 people have acquired digital knowledge in one of the “Digital Classroom” courses.
  • 304 people have gone through one of the 23 courses in occupations that are being modified by digital transformation.
  • 48 people have participated in the 4 software development courses in JavaScript and Java; 12 of them are already working in a technological position, of them with an employment contract of indefinite duration.


Since 2000, Fundación Secretariado Gitano has been running the Acceder employment and training programme, which since its origins has promoted a change in the mentality of society and the Roma population, favouring the labour market inclusion of Roma people by developing Individual Employment Plans (IEP) tailored to the needs and the potential of each person, establishing strategic alliances with companies and with a determined commitment to enhancing employability of the Roma people through professional training.

In the last 20 years, we have worked with over 110,000 people, 30,000 have improved their qualifications, more than 30,000 have found employment and more than 3,200 companies have collaborated with us.

To continue being a successful programme at this time of digital transformation it was necessary to bring up to date our work processes and this has been one of the main objectives of #EmpleandoDigital. This required to have a sound understanding of the impact that the digital transformation is having in the labour market and to put in place a digital skills training scheme that responds to the changes in the labour market.


First step, our employment teams immerse themselves in the digital culture

To that end, we have organised several workshops to raise awareness and reflect on the digital culture - in which we have been able to analyze how to transform our methodologies and other more specific workshops to provide training to the members of the employment teams in new tools, skills and digital knowledge

 A total of 88 employees from 13 employment teams at Fundación Secretariado Gitano have been trained to meet the challenges of digital transformation and its impact on the labour market

Through #EmpleandoDigital we update and optimize our labour market inclusion action plans

To optimize our methodology, we set up an Innovation Team composed of Acceder employment professionals from different cities, who have contributed their knowledge of the daily reality of the programme, including the characteristics of its participants and the demands and needs of the collaborating companies.

The proposals from the Innovation Team have been assessed and validated by the #EmpleandoDigital team and piloted.

Bringing Acceder into the digital era

Some of the most relevant changes that we have introduced in our methodology include; the dissemination of the programme in virtual spaces and social networks where Roma people have greater activity in order to increase the recruitment of participants, an organization of the labour orientation activities in group work spaces, including topics such as job search through mobile phones, the inclusion of the Digital skills and the Digital Classroom courses as a cross-sectional module in all Individual employment plans and training courses, or the use of professional social networks, such as LinkedIn, to optimize the relationship With the companies.

Innovative tools developed by Accenture in collaboration with FSG and Red Cross

Our technology company partner, Accenture, has designed and developed innovative digital tools that have helped this process:

  • Labour Intelligence: Using data analytics to guide decision making about efficiency and effectiveness of actions in Individual Employment Plans (IEP). A tool that using data from the interventions with the over 300,000 people who have participated in our employment programmes over the past 19 years, predicts the probability of success of the actions in the different IEPs, by analysing the history of actions and the results obtained. It also calculates the most successful sequence of activities based on numerous variables of the participant, which results in improved results and greater quality and efficiency of our tailored IEP. With Labour Intelligence we can know, for example, the percentage of participants that found employment after completing a given training course the last 5 years. We can add other elements to the query, to know what are the percentages for young people, or people over 45, or Roma, or with different levels of education. We can also combine the actions to know their level of success. For example, what has been labour inclusion rates when, in addition to the course on trade, we have worked the competencies, or carried out job guidance tutorials, or a digital knowledge course.
  • Virtual Reality Products applied to training, testing the products with the professional teams and participants in our programmes
  • + Social value, this tool seeks to show the value to society created by employment programmes that target vulnerable and disadvantaged groups by measuring the social impact of such programmes. The tool analyses the effectiveness, efficiency, quality and Social Return On Investment (SROI) of the programmes.



During 2017, the Accenture Foundation produced a report “The digital impact on vulnerable groups. A new way of working” that identified the 26 occupations that offer greatest employment prospects for people from vulnerable groups and analyzed how the occupations associates with these people have changed, regarding the tasks required as a result of the digitalization, and the digital skills and knowledge that are now required.

They also identified the necessary digital knowledge: knowing the digital world, the different mobile devices and operating systems, navigating safely, finding information on the internet, the cloud and the correct communication in social networks.

We design 23 experimental training courses in collaboration with the companies

Low-skilled jobs traditionally held by the most vulnerable, are not going to disappear as a result of the digital transformation but they are changing. Therefore, it is crucial to adequately prepare the participants in our employment programmes.

Taking into account the conclusions of this report and our extensive experience in the design and organization of training activities with companies, at the Spanish Red Cross and Fundación Secretariado Gitano we launched a series of experimental training programmes in one of these 26 occupations together with key allies: the main companies in the sector such as Carrefour, Decathlon, Ikea, Leroy Merlin, Makro or Inditex. We designed these trainings with them using their deep understanding of what these new tasks consist on and the technologies and tools needed to perform them.

Training programmes in software development: People from vulnerable groups with no qualifications access Tech Jobs

One of the main challenges we faced in the #EmpleandoDigital project was to get people from vulnerable groups, without previous qualifications, who were in many cases dropouts, to access a job in the tech labour market.

The first step was to figure out in which tech jobs we could fit in people from vulnerable groups. Accenture Foundation identified that a training programme on Java and Javascript programming for the development of software applications could be a great door to the labour market in a booming sector for which the European Commission estimates there will be 500,000 unfilled vacancies in 2020.

Together with Accenture Foundation, we designed an ambitious training programme on software development (Java and Javascript) that combines 480 theory hours with 150 hours of on-the-job training taking part in different Accenture projects.

The course has been implemented in two cities, Malaga and Madrid.

A total of 48 people have completed this training programme in Java and Javascript programming and 12 are already working in Accenture where they continue to learn other programming languages, methodologies, database management, systems testing, etc Their participation in training has opened up endless opportunities for them to continue developing a professional career in the technological field.

Keys to the success of the training programme

The results of this training programme shows that with the necessary resources, adaptations and support, unique opportunities can be created for people from vulnerable groups.

Keys of the sucess:

  1. A thorough selection process We had to be able to detect the necessary skills and abilities in people with basic education and without a clear intention to develop their professional career in the technology sector.
  2. Specialized academies: with the knowledge and pedagogical capacity necessary for a challenge like this.
  3. Continuous follow up of students. Accenture in the evaluation of theoretical training to assess each student for their incorporation into internship programme and a social and soft skills follow-up by the Fundación Secretariado Gitano y Cruz Roja.

The professionals of both entities had tutorial sessions once a week, to deal with topics such as:

  • The level of motivation of the person
  • The level understanding of the contents of the course, the interest in learning
  • Autonomy in learning
  • Adaptation to the group, flexibility in the face of challenges and discrepancies in the classroom
  • The resolution of problems related to attendance and punctuality
  • Creativity and innovation in problem solving
  • And above all tolerance to frustration, since these are not always simple concepts to acquire.

A pilot project: using virtual reality in the training of vulnerable people

In the framework of #EmpleandoDigital we have launched a pilot experience with two courses that use virtual reality: cleaner and customer service in restaurants.

The courses have been developed by the Accenture Foundation in the framework of the “Together for the Employment of the Most Vulnerable". The design and prototyping has been done with the participation of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano and the Spanish Red Cross, as well as other entities and companies, with the aim to generate pedagogically suitable materials adapted to the reality of companies and the people from vulnerable groups who will participate in the courses.

In these courses, the participants have to go through a series of scenes in which they solve situations related to their work, using digital devices, following a structure and order in their work, communicating with other departments and giving excellent treatment to the customers.

The experiential nature of these courses allows students to gain experience in a controlled environment. They can test how a ticketing tool works to report incidents, how to operate a home automation panel or how to respond adequately to the demands of the customers in a restaurant.

A key to learning is the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. These virtual training environments facilitate the learning processes before integrating into the dynamics of companies.

The theoretical and practical phases are still necessary in our training itineraries, virtual reality is considered as a bridge and a contribution of value between what has been learned in the theoretical part of the training and what is experienced during the experience in real working environments.

In total 43 participants through 6 courses have participated in the virtual reality experience, in teams from the Community of Madrid, Granada and Badajoz.

#EmpleandoDigital winner of the 2019 Vocational Education and Training (VET) Excellence Awards

The #EmpleandoDigital project won the Vocational Education and Training (VET) of the European Social Fund under the ‘European Funding for Excellence’ category. Awards under this subcategory aim to give visibility to excellent initiatives and practices in the area of education and training in initial VET as well as in continuing VET practices that offer the chance to acquire the skills to be more competitive in the labour market. This year’s award focuses on digitalisation and technological change.
The award ceremony of the VET Excellence Awards took place on October 17th in Helsinki, under the Finnish Presidency of the European Union. The Awards, handed over by the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, highlight best practice and recognise excellence in VET all over Europe.
This important award represents a great support to the work that both organisations have been carrying out with persons in situations of high vulnerability to reduce the inequalities and the digital gap. It is a recognition and support to #ED, a project that is innovative not only in terms of content but also in how it has been implemented, through a model of partnerships between two relevant social organisations and a big company of the technological sector such as Accenture. 
The recognition of the project by this award allows sharing a joint practice with other social organisations in Spain and Europe that are also immersed in the profound change that the labour market is experiencing and the resulting digital challenges and that need ideas on how to address them. It shows that with specific solutions, adapted to the situation of the different groups in situation of social exclusion or vulnerability, people who may a priori have fewer opportunities can also be included in the digitalised labour market. This helps breaking stereotypes about vulnerable people and their presence in the labour market and reducing the digital gap. It also allows giving visibility to innovative experiences related to training and  qualifications beyond traditional training itineraries, sharing learnings with all of society (businesses, social organisations, professional associations...).

The award to the #EmpleandoDigital was collected by Carmen Cárdenas of the Spanish Red Cross and Belén Sánchez-Rubio of the Fundación Secretariado Gitano.

#EmpleandoDigital+ 2020-2023

Fundación Secretariado Gitano, the Spanish Red Cross and Accenture Foundation are carrying out #EmpleandoDigital+, the second editiion of #EmpleandoDigital between 2020-2023.

The main lines of work of the #EmpleandoDigital+ project are:

  • Specialisation of the employment professionals of our programmes in the approach to technological and digital employment through market analysis and specialised prospecting with the aim of promoting the incorporation of people in social difficulty into the market in digital transformation.
  • Improving professional skills for the technology sector of the most vulnerable groups, designing and developing training actions in emerging occupations (non-technological occupations but linked to the development of the technology sector) and in technological occupations, with a commitment to access to quality jobs. 
  • Creation of a Common Framework of Digital Competences for professionals working with vulnerable groups, based on the European Framework of Digital Competences for Citizenship, DigComp 2.1, with the aim of perfecting the profile of the professional teams of all the organisations that work for the inclusion of vulnerable groups into the labour market, adapting their digital skills to the needs detected.
  • Systematise a blended learning methodology for guidance and accompaniment to employment that facilitates, through technology, the active participation of women with special social difficulties (lack of support networks for work-life balance or geographical isolation).