The Latvian city of Ventspils wants wide use of smart technologies to drive its long-term development as a European city and believes the Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) journey will allow this goal to be pursued. Ventspils already participated in the previous Digital Cities Challenge and now continues its work by developing a Digital Transformation Strategy for 2021-2027. Its ICC activities enable the advanced development of this strategy.
Ventspils believes that creating effective workforce development pipelines that will provide opportunities to learn digital skills for people of all ages and with different backgrounds is important to driving economic growth. This must be done from a young pre-school age to the university level, and upskilling and reskilling needs for adults must also be addressed. This is one reason why Ventspils chose the thematic track of “Upskilling and Reskilling” within the ICC and plans to unleash the potential of its digital economy through talent strategy. The city plans to do this by providing three major solutions:
- Science and Innovation Centre “VIZIUM”
- State-of-the-art digital infrastructure for educational institutions
- Digital skills embedded in education
Science and Innovation Centre “VIZIUM”
To provide both adults and children with more opportunities to gain new foundational skills, a new Science and Innovation Centre, “VIZIUM”, is being built. The Centre will nurture new talents and increase engagement with technologies. VIZIUM will be a place where both Ventspils residents and guests of any age can spend time to gain new knowledge. The visitors of the VIZIUM Centre will interact with modern technology through exhibits which will be connected with educational programmes; this allows a contemporary and interesting way to develop new knowledge in the field of STEM.mes, this allows a contemporary and interesting way to develop new knowledge in the field of STEM.
State-of-the-art digital infrastructure for educational institutions
Ventspils acknowledges the necessity and importance of modern infrastructure in all educational institutions. Therefore all schools and kindergartens will be connected to 5G Internet, and every classroom will be provided with fast Wi-Fi within the next few years. This infrastructure will form the base of and background for the use of digital media and digital technologies, facilitating the development of 21st Century skills.
Digital skills embedded in education
To be able to provide digital skills within education, Ventspils will place a special focus on upskilling and reskilling prospects for all ages through offering various educational opportunities such as after school activities for children and courses for adults, ensuring that digital skills are constantly developed at all stages of education and training. Specially designed opportunities to learn and use digital skills will be available for teachers to scale up learners’ and teachers’ use of digital methods across the curriculum and everyday work.
Ventspils is looking forward to sharing their knowledge and experience and to learning from other cities about the most efficient ways to bring digitalisation into the upskilling and reskilling field.