Virtual Skills School "WeLearn"
Our solution's stage of development:Growth
WeLearn aims to create a world where every woman and girl access to skills development opportunities leading to employment and entrepreneurship. As a free virtual learning platform, it leverages modern technologies and pedagogy to overcome not just physical and financial barriers but also more deeply rooted cultural and societal norms.
Did you know that there is a miss-match between vacant jobs and people with the right skills to get those jobs? Today, up to 40% of employers globally find it difficult to fill their vacancies due to many reasons: lack of applicants, applicants do not have the hard and soft skills the employer is looking for or they do not have the experience.
No matter the sector, women and men need a core set of skills to succeed and be competitive on the job market. No matter what the sector you work or would like to work in, you need a core set of skills. With these skills, you will be able to go with the flow of the changes in the labour market. And the next job opportunity may be within your reach.
With this in mind, and based on the lessons learned from UN Women’s Empower Women’s Champions for Change programme[i] (2012-2017), led by the Economic Empowerment Section, UN Women has developed a Virtual Skills School “WeLearn”, an online learning platform with offline digital solutions.
WeLearn will leverage modern technologies and techniques to promote gender equality and facilitate access for women and girls to lifelong learning and provide opportunities to catch up on relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for life and work.
To foster a gender inclusive society, WeLearn avoids negative gender stereotypes and promotes non-traditional role models for working women and men.
VSS “WeLearn” is UN Women’s response to address the current global talent gap. UN Women recognizes that traditional, structured education is very important, but most curricula have not yet incorporated the much-needed skills required in the labour market. VSS will therefore strive to equip women and girls with new literacies, capacities and skills to succeed in the 21st century labour market. It will provide access to customized, skills-based learning paths, a supportive community of learners and change-makers, and connections to real-world learning and employment opportunities that will economically empower women and girls and build a more gender inclusive society.
Why our solution will solve the problem:
While many online education or training platforms focus only on self-paced learning, the VSS platform provides access to customized and skills-based learning paths, a supportive community of learners and change-makers, and connections to real-world learning and employment opportunities that will economically empower women and girls and build a more gender inclusive society.
Through collaboration with local development partners, the distinct needs and challenges of learners will be tailored, such as the delivery of localization of content. The VSS is a scalable and transferable model, expanding over time to support broader and deeper reach across geographies, target populations, and accessibility levels.
Our target outcomes:
WeLearn will support women and girls in their path towards economic empowerment. The target audience:
- 21st century skills - targeted to learners looking to develop broader, more foundational professional development skills. These individuals are seeking learning opportunities directly tied to their job readiness and career growth.
- Vocational training - target learners seeking to develop their technical capacity in trades such as construction, plumbing, and electricity; and their entrepreneurship and business skills that are directly applicable to potential employment opportunities.
- Changemaker enablement - targets Changemakers within communities and organizations, including those in education/academic fields.
How we will measure our progress:
The populations we will benefit initially:
The technologies we employ:
Why our solution is unique:
The platform seeks to offer learning pathways that move beyond traditional online courseware to incorporate targeted courses that suit the particular context and labor needs. These learning paths further deliver an interactive and collaborative learning, interdisciplinary curriculum, gender-responsive content, real-world projects, supportive mentoring, gamification, and direct access to employment opportunities. The VSS will use a blended learning approach to deliver content to learners, combining an expansive online platform with offline projects, assignments, and connections among the VSS community.
Why our solution is human-centered:
WeLearn it is unique because of its sense of community and inclusive learning that connects individuals to a broader sense of belonging, empowerment, and support that will drive learner adoption and engagement in the platform. WeLearn will be a collaborative effort across a variety of partnerships: private and public sectors, civil society etc. UN Women already has strong relationships with many organizations in these different fields and has one of a kind convening power in the area of gender equality and women’s empowerment that can be harnessed to deliver a distinctive service to the women and girls of the world.
How people will access our solution:
VSS is a complete learning ecosystem that will track learners progress and its technology approach is aligned with the broader UN Women IT strategy, which is that of a “progressive enhancement” implemented over time, based on user demand. This real-life feedback helps to improve trainings over time.
Technology-Readiness Level:4-5 (Prototyping)
How we will sustain our team financially:
Once the pilot testing has been completed, UN Women will prepare a global VSS Business Plan for VSS scale up and roll out. The learning path of financial, digital and business literacy will be updated based on user feedback. This will also include expanding VSS pilots to additional countries and contexts, develop/source additional course content, and conceptualize new learning paths.
The factors limiting our success:
Currently we are looking for financial support to establish the team and pilot it in multiple countries and:
- Develop a methodology to assess stakeholders’ learning and skills needs: level and format of course content.
- Develop and/or source course content
- Test the content with learners.
- Develop a training guide for content delivery.
We already have the content partners, but we need to develop the MVP and scale.
How long we have been working on our solution:2 years
How long it will take to develop a pilot:3-6 months
How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:12-18 months
Our expected annual budget:
How much of our budget we've secured to date:
We're looking for partners in these fields:
Why we're applying to Solve:
We hope to bring the Virtual Skills School "WeLearn" to scale and make, so that millions of women and girls have the equal opportunities for personal and professional development.
Our current partners:
We are in discussion with Unilever.
Empower Women UN Women's Movement for Women's Economic Empowerment , UN Women