Aims and objectives

DICE aims to help people with disabilities build the digital literacy skills needed to transition from VET centre training to mainstream education and employment by creating an online community based on a peer support model, promoted and sustained by Digital Inclusion Champions. DICE transfers innovation from a previous Leonardo project, Gateway, using online content on assistive technologies aimed at people with disabilities, educators and employers. It adds social media and user generated content to create a dynamic community of peer support relationships within and across stakeholder groups – people with disabilities, VET digital skills trainers, mainstream educators and employers.

The consortium involves four VET partners – NCBI (Ireland), PhoenixKM (Belgium), FIRR (Poland) and Interprojects (Bulgaria) – all of whom can implement the DICE community within their own countries and help spread it internationally. The consortium also includes IADT, the coordinator of the Gateway project, to ensure transfer of the most effective aspects of Gateway. NCBI will lead the consortium with over a decade’s involvement in EU funded project coordination and participation. Individual consortium members have specific skills in stakeholder requirements gathering, design and development of accessible digital resources, evaluation, quality assurance and dissemination.

The DICE website and its social media tools will enable community members to develop and maintain support relationships, sharing experiences, knowledge and skills. This will provide a permanent and always-available source of information and support, enabling students to sustain their skills development between VET sessions and after the VET course has ended. Digital Inclusion Champions of each stakeholder type will be motivated and appointed to the role of promoting the use of the DICE community to their peers, during and after the funding period. The DICE community will be spread internationally via innovative ‘twinning’ relationships between VET centres.

DICE will become a widespread, sustainable source of peer support, helping to increase digital inclusion for people with disabilities. The collection of data and feedback about the development, functioning and impact of the peer support communities in the different countries will inform the development of similar communities and supports in other areas, even beyond digital skills and beyond disability. This will be a major impact for future projects and initiatives that seek to build peer support communities for any reason.