Digital Skills Programs are Crucial for the Development of the Real and Financial Sector in Armenia

EU4Digital. Women mentorship programs in the IT sector

Supporting the comprehensive and more results-oriented approach, “Enlight” Public Research Center NGO forms cooperation with StrategEast within the framework of their new project: “Bulleting on the main issues on the bilateral agenda of the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries.” The Bulletin is designed as a useful tool for public institutes and decision-makers whose sphere of interest includes the EaP region and will be distributed among over 1000 senior EU and EaP officials, international institutions, and distinguished experts.

Recently, the EU has been active in establishing a number of initiatives concerning the enhancement of IT sector in Eastern Partnership countries. 

Thus, recently,  EU4Digital launched a new activity to support women mentorship programs in the tech sector in the EaP countries. 

Do you consider such programs to be timely in the post-pandemic period? 

In this regard, pre-, during, or post-pandemic periods are the same, in a sense that, even without this external shock, the sooner digital transformation takes place, the better. Given the complementary nature of the digital sector, the programs aimed at the enhancement of digital skills in society are crucial for the development of the real and financial sector, as well as for government and NGOs. And especially taking into account that the IT sector has great potential for economic growth even during the pandemic and the post-pandemic recovery period, while in many other fields, people started to perceive their jobs to be insecure because of the possibility of redundancies or store closure, and as a result of perceptions of the difficulty of finding alternative employment. From this perspective, the launch of a women mentorship program in the tech sector in Armenia and the EaP countries can work more effectively as the current difficulties can be an additional incentive for people to take “risk” and find a better position in the labor market, with a higher wage and a professional position. On the other hand, of course, there is a risk that the necessity of finding alternative employment will change people’s attitudes toward the instrumental perception of the job when people lose their interest in the job/profession perceiving it only as a means of satisfaction of their financial needs. This can result in a weak work ethic and will lower their commitment to new programs that may open new opportunities for them. As for the targeted approach regarding women, it is important also to consider the country’s social and economic aspects, national variations in employment patterns, and lifestyle choices, as such choices are not made in a vacuum. Of course, today, choices are open to women in the sense that a majority of women in Armenia have choices in terms of education and employment but such factors as preferences toward work family balance and many other country-level and Individual Level variables affect their options, and such factors can also condition women’s involvement level in the tech sector or programs directed to this path. On the other hand, mentorship programs for women can succeed as from all the mentioned variables, education’s effect is a significant one, especially for those who are at the beginning of their career. 

Have you noticed the rising need for digital technologies to support the response to the pandemic consequences in your country? 

The need for digital technologies and skills necessary for their use is, without any doubt, needed during the pandemic and, as a consequence, during the lockdown. It may be argued that enhancement is needed with respect to skills, especially among adults, who otherwise are not using digital technologies as intensively in their profession, as the younger generation. Although, as a whole, Armenia’s increasingly significant IT agenda creates a good environment for the development of the potential of the digital economy and society.

Hakob Hakobyan and Heghine Aleksanyan, analysts of the “Enlight” Public Research Center NGO (Armenia)․

Original source: Strategeast