Hubs for tomorrow
Rapid digital transformation and increasingly noticeable demographic shifts are profoundly changing the world of work. For small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, this presents new opportunities and growth prospects. At the same time, there is enormous pressure to adapt. The challenges of demographic shifts and digital transformation are affecting the eastern Länder to a greater degree and much earlier. The question is how can we help companies, employees and the self-employed master these transformation processes? This is precisely where the Hubs for tomorrow came into play.
Rethinking and testing in-company skills training
With the Hubs for tomorrow programme ("Zukunftszentren"), the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs provided targeted support to the eastern Länder to help them cope with major transformations, for example, the results of developments in artificial intelligence. The main goal was to ensure that the social dimension was taken into account. We needed to rethink and test in-company skills training, always keeping an eye on promoting the capability for self-learning and influencing outcomes. For example, innovative concepts for in-company further training aimed to increase companies' digital skill levels. This was necessary because digital technologies are transforming the work that needs to be done and the skills required to do it in all professions.
The Hubs for tomorrowe followed a holistic approach: they were aimed both at companies and their employees as well as at the self-employed, in particular the individually self-employed. One "regional hub for tomorrow" was to be created in as many of the eastern Länder as possible in order to take a nuanced look at the differing needs of the various regions and sectors. At a higher level, a "hub for digital work" collected the lessons learned and facilitate nationwide knowledge transfer. A "house of the self-employed" provided information on the establishment of interest groups and self-regulating procedures in order to improve the remuneration, working conditions and social security of the individually self-employed and platform workers.
The expertise of the stakeholders and networks in the regions was crucial for the development of the hubs. The people living in eastern Germany have special skills for dealing with transformations: they have already successfully mastered one profound upheaval. This is what we needed to build on.