As a part of the Global Skills Initiative, Microsoft in cooperation with Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association (LIKTA), the Innovation Centre of the University of Latvia (LUMIC) and the ISM University of Management and Economics in Vilnius launched the personal development program – Baltic Digital Skills Development Program which started in January 2021.
People from the Baltic region were eager to gain knowledge, so the program was very well received, with more than 5,000 participants taking part in courses. More than 1,000 people successfully completed courses in “Software and Application Development “and “Business and Data Analysis”.
Seeing the program’s impact on digital skilling, the Baltic Digital Skills Development Program continued as Virtual Internship Program. The main goal was to help participants apply newly gained skills in a real work environment and test their knowledge in the business environment. Participants were given the opportunity to learn business, data analysis, software development, digital marketing, and a wide variety of unexplored possibilities of Microsoft Excel which they utilized in a provided company, applying a learning-by-doing approach.
Perfect opportunity to use knowledge in practice
At the end of the Baltic Digital Skills Development Program courses participants are excited about how many opportunities the acquired knowledge opens. Vaidas Velykis, one of the course attendees, commented that for that reason, after he passed the courses himself, he offered internships in the field of Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
The goal of the Virtual Internships was to allow participants to use their new skills in practical cases from real life. Vaidas was surprised by the performance of some of the interns – their motivation and ability to find solutions.
“I would recommend these types of internships to anyone who would like to challenge themselves in this difficult time. It is beneficial for both sides. For the intern, it is a perfect opportunity to use acquired knowledge in practice. As for the company, it is the perfect opportunity to shorten the learning curve for the new employees,” says Vaidas.
Breaking old stereotypes
Having completed the digital skills improvement course “Business and Data Analysis,” Ilva Kauliņa received an offer to participate in the Virtual Internship at the State Employment Agency (SEA).
Her task was to compare the data from 2020 and 2021 using Power BI, regarding the available vacancies in different branch offices and offered salaries in Latvian regions such as Latgale.
“You know, there is a stereotype that in Latgale salaries are much lower than elsewhere in Latvia, but the data analysis shows that the situation in terms of salaries is not that different in all the regions.”
Ilva’s accomplishments concluded changes in the number of vacancies and the salary level in regions and put an end to stereotypes circling around Latvian society, thanks to her role in the Virtual Internship program.
Everyone needs to understand their level of interest and the capacity to acquire new knowledge
Tõnis Laasik, one of the course participants, is happy to expand his horizons with the knowledge he has already acquired, learn more, and use it in practice.
He was interested in participating in several courses about machine learning, so he chose Business and Data Analysis and Low-code/No-code platform fundamentals. Having successfully finished both courses, he reached his goal from the beginning – to be able to understand the possibilities of Microsoft solutions.
“As I have a strategic look on these kinds of solutions, it is particularly important to understand what various vendors are doing nowadays, what the exact level of the product is, and what direction they are moving in. To understand how much this digital world is growing is amazing for someone who wants to learn about it in the process as it is evolving,” explains Tõnis Laasik.
Intuition in business is a good thing, but making important decisions should be based on data
It’s all about numbers and organizational work for one of the participants of the Virtual Internship. Sindija Strazdina familiarized herself with the PowerBI offered by Microsoft and used it to create her very first data analysis reports. The courses offered by LUMIC for the purpose of mastering PowerBI came at the right place at the right time for her.
Interested in whether the number of girls graduating from ICT (information and communication technology) studies is increasing, Sindija got a chance to see how data analysis worked in ZoomCharts, where highly attractive and interactive PowerBI visualisations were developed. These visualizations are highly informative since data can be studied at various levels – viewed generally or at an in-depth level.
Sindija thinks that intuition in business is a good thing, but making important decisions should be based on data, and the Virtual Internship program only confirmed her beliefs.
Everyone in the Baltics still has the opportunity to join the free program and to grow professionally since the Virtual Internship Program will continue during 2022.