REvive Messina

A solution by REvive submitted to From the ground to concrete solutions: Brain Drain & Lack of Innovation - A Social Challenge for Messina

Establishing a code school to re-skill Messina’s youth on computer programming and make them competent for the ICT industry, where the demand for skilled people is much higher than the supply.

(Pitched: 15/07/2018)

One Page Summary

REvive is capable of establishing a code school which will aim to re-skill the unemployed youth of Messina in computer programming through blended learning. It will be free of charge for the unemployed, with operating cost covered by E.U. funds, CSR programs, and philanthropic foundations. Then it will connect them with companies from the ICT sector for job placement as intern software developers, where the demand for skilled people is much higher than the supply.  An additional -and very attractive- professional alternative for those students will be to work remotely for companies located all over the world -which is an increasing trend- or as freelancers.

Our track record proves that we have the know-how and the experience to carry out this task. The two steps of this solution have been tested and deployed in unemployed (Greece has the highest unemployment rate in Europe) and refugees who live in Athens, Greece:

1. First, we launched the e-Learning platform where students follow the curriculum which is drawn from established asynchronous MOOCs, which we combine with real-time mentoring from distant volunteers via web chat (watch the demo). Due to this real-time interaction, we have achieved higher engagement compared to the ones reported from those MOOCs (20% vs 5%). So far 82 students in total have enrolled in the e-learning platform, and out of them, 16 have completed the courses. 

2. Following the e-learning platform, we launched the physical code school which operates in parallel tο the platform and combines in-person training (from our professional trainers) with distant mentoring (from volunteers all over the world).
Information about the programme
• Curriculum: Front-end development (CSS, HTML, JavaScript, TypeScript, Angular). As of October, we will add MySQL and Java in order to create full-stack programmers.
• Duration: 15 weeks (+ 14 for MySQL and Java)
• Number of teaching hours: 168 (+156)
• Language: The content of the e-Learning platform is in English (after all, English is the universal language for coding), and the physical class can be either in English or Italian.
• Cost for the participants: None
There are a few similar non-profit European initiatives which mainly teach refugees, and we are continuously looking to create international partnerships and share best practices with them.

From the implementation of these 2 steps of our project, so far, we have identified that our main weakness and challenge remains to retain as many as possible from the students who enrol, and to decrease the drop-out rate from the training program (currently 60%).

On the other hand, the primary strengths we have are:
1. Our know-how on the field of e-Learning (regarding the e-Learning platform, our strategic partner is WIDE Services, the official Moodle partner in Greece and Cyprus, and the leading player in e-Learning implementation projects in the country – their clientele demonstrates that clearly).
2. The support we have in this endeavour (both technical and financial) from Google.
3. The professional experience of our team members.
An additional and vital strength we have in Greece is the collaboration with some of the most established NGOs which operate in the country, and more specifically:
• ActionAid Hellas
• Médecins Sans Frontières
• Metadrasi
• AstroLab Athens
These NGOs trusted our capability of training their beneficiaries, and they contribute significantly in the identification process of those who have the right profile and can demonstrate a strong motivation to study hard in order to finish the programme. The selection process of the beneficiaries is one significant factor in this equation, and for that purpose, a double screening is conducted, initially from these collaborating NGOs according to our instructions, and then by REvive Greece.