Digital Explorers: a successful mobility programme upskilling young ICT specialists
“In 2019-2022, Digital Explorers created an unexpected connection between Lithuania and Nigeria, two equally ambitious ICT markets with little previous interaction”, says Žilvinas Švedkauskas, Director at the Lithuanian Think-and-Do Tank OSMOS and lead project implementer for Digital Explorers. According to Žilvinas, the Nigerian participants were able to fast-track their careers, while Lithuanian partner-companies were granted access to an unexplored market for exports. On top of that, the programme helped address skills shortages in Lithuania, which had over 12500 vacancies in the tech sector.
Dayo’s experience: gaining both hard and soft skills
“People say you are valued more as the manager when you have overseas work experience. Some would get a Master’s degree, some would get overseas work experience. That was necessary for me.” For Dayo, the work experience in Lithuania helped his transition from a technical position into a managerial role in Nigeria. On top of the technical skills he gained, he got to experience a different work culture where “there is a balance, it is not just work.” Dayo has returned to Nigeria and currently works as a team lead and Solutions Architect at the United Bank for Africa (UBA) in Lagos. Other colleagues stayed in Lithuania.
An added value for European companies
Mr. Gediminas Markevicius, Senior Frontend Developer and Platform Lead at Telesoftas in Kaunas, Lithuania, stated that travelling to Nigeria to select the candidates allowed him to learn from a “completely different culture from Europe.” As a supervisor, the relationship with trainees helped him “grow as a person.” The programme also helped his company to hire new international employees and open a branch office in Abuja, Nigeria, where he now employs 13 people.
This programme, and others like it, demonstrate how the EU can successfully support Member States to implement legal migration schemes, as well as prioritise intra-EU cooperation over competition for talents. Digital Explorers II will broaden its scope and geography to include other Baltic states and build digital talent development partnerships between Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Nigeria, Kenya, and Armenia.
Nigeria has been identified as one of the priority countries for the second phase of the roll out of the Talent Partnerships: the Talent Partnerships aim to provide a more structured and strategic approach to the way labour mobility cooperation with specific third countries is managed and steered, in a Team Europe approach.
The Digital Explorers projects have been awarded and contracted in the framework of the Migration Partnership Facility at the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, which is financed by the AMIF funds.
The first phase targeted young Nigerian ICT specialists, as well as Nigerian and Lithuanian businesses, which lasted from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2021.
The second phase began on 1 March 2023 and aims for young ICT specialists from Nigeria, Kenya, and Armenia.
Digital Explorers - Iraq Edition will begin in September 2023. Partners include OSMOS Global Partnerships (LT), Enterprise Lithuania (LT), Diversity Development Group (LT), Code Academy (LT), Ventures Platform Foundation (NG), Estonian Centre for International Development (EE), and Latvian Startup Association Startin.LV (LV).
- Project locations