Conference sneak preview

atingi: The Digital Learning Platform atingi and its eAcademy Initiative: Addressing the Skills and Training Shortage in Tourism and Hospitality Post-COVID-19

Sustainable Tourism at Bulungula Lodge, Eastern Cape, South Africa – Nombulelo Mpayithi, 45yrs, Nolethile Bhokoda, 56yrs and Nonaggcudu Stwayi, 56yrs

The COVID-19 crisis has left millions of people in the tourism and hospitality industry without work, with many workers leaving the industry altogether. As a result, the industry faces major challenges, including a shortage of skilled workers in the post-pandemic era. Furthermore, many workers do not have formal education certifications and cannot prove their competencies and skills to potential employers.

The eAcademy Tourism and Hospitality initiative provides a solution to this problem by offering sector-specific courses on the digital learning platform atingi that are accessible, inclusive, and relevant to the success of Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in tourism and hospitality. Unlike larger, well-funded organizations, SMMEs in this sector must deal with fewer dedicated training opportunities or poor work-based training provisions and limited budgets.

The initiative was developed in collaboration between atingi, the digital learning platform of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Sector Project Cooperation with the Private Sector Component on Sustainable Development through Tourism. Targeted at industry staff and management, including young adults attending TVET schools and universities, learners can choose their path to enhance their professional skills and gain a digital certificate, which they can share with employers as proof of their achievement. Currently, the initiative consists of 45 web-based learning courses in tourism and hospitality in English, French, and Spanish. Many of these courses are deliberately granular in focus to guarantee low entry requirements and quick results for learners. Through eAcademy, approximately 55,000 learners enrolled and 47,000 have completed courses.

The initiative has provided valuable lessons about successfully reaching and offering relevant training in SMMEs in the tourism and hospitality sector, including:

  • Ready-to-use content is valuable for GIZ partner projects that can start quickly with the eAcademy before contextualizing with additional local content.
  • Online marketing is not effective without strong partnerships. The need for and interest in the provided content is crucial for scaling up.
  • High-touch and in-person efforts are effective in enrolling learners. Sometimes, learners with lower digital education literacy need personal assistance during onboarding.
  • Blended learning formats are effective at achieving impact for learners with lower digital education literacy.

The eAcademy initiative has assisted thousands of tourism and hospitality professionals in re-entering the job market and improving their competencies and skills for potential and current employers. Learners have also expanded their knowledge and skills beyond their sector through access to other courses on atingi.

About atingi

“atingi” is a term from the world language Esperanto and means “to achieve something”. A fitting name, for a German international cooperation project that helps young people from partner countries achieve a successful professional future. To achieve this goal, the innovative e-learning platform atingi provides free learning content that meets people’s economic and local needs. Using a computer, tablet or smartphone, they can access atingi and more than 400 publicly available courses and significantly improve their chances on the local labor market. Particularly on the African continent, but also in other partner regions of German international cooperation, the number of people with access to the Internet is steadily increasing. atingi thus enables them to “achieve something”.

The learning content is created in cooperation with local partners from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The atingi developers of the global project “Digital Transformation” cooperate with many companies and organizations from business, civil society, science and politics, such as the Smart Africa Initiative of the African Union or the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The Moodle-based platform supports more than 100 languages, which means that atingi can be used as an e-learning component almost anywhere in the world.

The atingi platform is commissioned and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and was implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in 2019. atingi offers a free and effective way to create and publish diverse learning content. It is aimed at learners over the age of 16, such as students, job seekers and entrepreneurs from various sectors. Since 2019, atingi has been helping to facilitate access to learning content in developing countries, including for disadvantaged groups such as girls and women and people in rural areas. Until now, more than 700,000 learners have used the platform. International development projects, organisations and partners in German development cooperation countries can use atingi for digital learning free of charge and benefit from the existing partner network and freely accessible content.

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