Following the path of digitalization in Slovenia and Europe: CHAISE: A pioneering European Union blockchain education project
In the previous two articles, we’ve looked at what blockchain technology is and showed some practical use cases. However, the question arises; where to gain the necessary knowledge to master this future technology? The answer lies in the pioneering project of the European Union, in which Slovenia and some of our universities and other interested stakeholders are also actively participating. So, let’s take a look at more information about the CHAISE educational project, which addresses the growing needs in blockchain technology. When will the first courses be available, and what title will be awarded to individuals who successfully complete the training?
CHAISE is a four-year transnational initiative funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus + programme to develop a systematic approach to developing blockchain technology skills. The CHAISE project will develop and implement a European strategy to tackle inconsistencies and skills shortages in the field of blockchain. In addition, it will provide appropriate and forward-looking training, qualifications and mobility solutions tailored to the real needs of the sector.
The project website states: “The core mission of the CHAISE project is to develop a strategic approach on blockchain skills development for Europe as well as to deliver future-proof training solutions, in order to tackle blockchain skill shortages and to respond to the current and future skill needs of the European Blockchain workforce. “
Blockchain is at the core of the EU strategy to advance digital transformation, benefitting society businesses and stimulating sustainable growth. The European organisation Digital Europe, which represents the digital technology industry, states on its website: “The European Blockchain Sector is well placed to acquire global leadership; still its competitiveness largely relies on the availability of a competent and versatile workforce. ”
Although the demand for blockchain skills is constantly increasing, employers face a shortage of qualified specialists, which prevents the sector from exploiting its full potential. The blockchain technology industry is thus facing a shortage of talent, global competitive pressures, a limited link between education and the market, and the poor responsiveness of formal education to new job demands.
As already mentioned, the CHAISE project aims to fill these gaps and eliminate skills mismatches. This will be achieved by setting up an open and inclusive blockchain skills management system tailored to the needs of individual sectors. The project will provide appropriate and forward-looking solutions for training, mobility, and qualification schemes, thus further increasing the sector’s attractiveness, especially for young Europeans.
The innovative blockchain vocational education and training (VET) programme will run for five semesters or around 1,200 lessons and will run in 11 EU languages. Upon completion of the training, the individual will receive the title of ‘blockchain specialist’, which is the first-ever occupational profile of its kind. In addition, all learning materials developed by the project will be available to everyone through a massive open online course (MOOC), where we can already find a vast number of free and educational courses from various fields.
National blockchain partnerships
The CHAISE project will bring together stakeholders representing industry, academia, politics, and research from across the EU to develop a blockchain skills strategy. The strategy will set the framework for sectoral cooperation and outline measures to address skill shortages and skill mismatch.
In addition, the project will set up a collaborative method for monitoring the evolution of workplace requirements and anticipating future blockchain skill needs to act as an early warning information mechanism to mitigate possible imbalances between supply and demand, according to the project’s website.
CHAISE will also support the cross-border mobility of students and professionals by strengthening partnerships between education, training institutions and companies and launching a Blockchain career guidance and alumni platform. The transnational European project will develop mechanisms for strategic cooperation at European and national levels, such as the National Blockchain Skills Partnerships. These will ensure that national issues are reflected in EU-wide solutions and implement a sectoral skills strategy at the EU and national levels.
The project was launched in November 2020 and is expected to end in October 2024. According to the timeline presented in the CHAISE project brochure, applications for training are expected to open in 2023. The project involves 23 project partners from 15 European countries, including the University of Ljubljana (UL) and some of its members. Nena Dokuzov from the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology (MGRT) Slovenia believes that “the CHAISE project is well set up and structured and is properly linked to existing European programmes, instruments and strategies, including the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure [EBSI]”.
What is EBSI?
A few years ago, the European Commission recognised the importance of blockchain technology and its broad impact on the EU’s digital development. Thus, in 2018 the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) was established, and Slovenia is one of the founding members among other European countries. The EBP is working to establish a European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI), which will primarily aim to strengthen the security and privacy of public services in the European Union using blockchain technology.
EBSI currently focuses mainly on four important use cases. The leverage of blockchain technology in notarisation, i.e., to create trusted digital audit trails, automate compliance checks, and verify data integrity. Next is implementing the SSI (Self-Sovereign Identity) model in Europe, which allows users to create and control their own digital identity across borders.
A third use case is to provide citizens digital control of their educational credentials (diplomas) through blockchain, significantly reducing verification costs and improving trust in the authenticity of documents. Finally, the latest example for using blockchain technology which EBSI is currently focusing on, is secure and trustworthy data sharing among customs and tax authorities in the EU. Other uses will be added in the future.
Nena Dokuzov from MGRT said that “knowledge, digital competencies and skills are needed to use this type of infrastructure and services and develop new services using blockchain technology. The development of competencies and their use is very appropriately addressed by the CHAISE project, while at the same time offering the possibility to design so-called ‘national partnerships for blockchain skills,’ which can be an important element in Slovenia in the structure of activities focusing on emerging Slovenian blockchain partnerships.”
In the trilogy of articles on blockchain technology, we have delved into what blockchain technology is and looked at some of the practical examples of its use in Slovenia and the European Union. In this article, we found that the European Union, in cooperation with Slovenia and other active Member States, is implementing a pioneering programme called the CHAISE project, which encompasses systematic education on blockchain technology.
Author: Rok Žontar
Keywords: Blockchain, CHAISE, EBSI, skills, education
This article is part of a joint project of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies and the Anton Korošec Institute (INAK), Following the path of digitalisation in Slovenia and Europe. This project receives funding from the European Parliament. The information and views set out in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union institutions/Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies/ Anton Korošec Institute. Organisations mentioned above assume no responsibility for facts or opinions expressed in this article or any subsequent use of the information contained therein.