Caring Insights: unveiling the progress of DOCUP project

We are pleased to present insights and updates on the project DoCUp – Upskilling domestic care workers to ensure resilient employment pathway. The 28-month project is part of the Erasmus+ programme and is coordinated by Folkuniversitetet in Uppsala, Sweden. The DoCUp Consortium, a collective of five organisations deeply committed to education, training and the advancement of innovative practices in care services, comprises Anziani e non solo (Italy), Promea (Greece), Infodef (Spain) and the University of Humanities and Economics in Lodz, Poland.

In embarking on this journey, our collective mission is to elevate the skills and perspectives of domestic care workers, thereby strengthening and supporting resilient employment pathways in the care sector.

What progress has been made so far?

A series of results has been crafted, stemming from comprehensive research in both literature and the field, and incorporating interviews with home care professionals, intermediaries, and care recipients—encompassing both families and older people or non-self-sufficient persons requiring continuous care at home.

The first document, titled “Analysis of challenges faced and lessons learned from the pandemic for the care sector,” delves into the new and pressing challenges encountered by the care sector in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Responding to identified needs, the document titled “A set of evidence-based learning outcomes on emerging skills and competences required in the domestic care sector” has been compiled. It spotlights the essential knowledge and skills necessary for delivering high-quality care services. The objective is to facilitate the development of learning opportunities supporting key competences in domestic care work, addressing demands both before and after the COVID-19 epidemic.

“A curriculum structure and pedagogical resource pool” has been created to meet these evolving needs. This curriculum includes educational instructions, learning, and assessment materials, designed to support the delivery of the course, a trainer handbook and a learner e-book.

All of these resources are readily available on the project website for free and we encourage you to explore them in more detail.

What is the news?

In light of these noteworthy results, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) has been created to enhance engagement within our target group. The effectiveness of this initiative has been directly assessed with those interested in the learning opportunity.

We are thrilled to share the exciting news of the successful completion of the pilot phase for the DoCUp MOOC. The pilot, conducted during October-November 2023, witnessed enthusiastic participation from more than 60 learners, trainers, and domestic workers across our partner countries: Italy, Greece, Sweden, Poland, and Spain.

The primary goal of the pilot was to gather valuable feedback from the diverse participant group, including learners, trainers, and domestic care workers. This input is pivotal in fine-tuning the DoCUp course to better meet the needs and expectations of our target audience. At the end of the course, all participants received a well-deserved certificate.

The feedback received from the pilot participants has been overwhelmingly positive, affirming the effectiveness and relevance of the DoCUp MOOC. Here’s a snapshot of the evaluation results:

  • Curriculum Structure: Participants praised the well-organized, clear, and easily understandable structure of the course curriculum.
  • Learning Materials: Most participants found the learning materials to be comprehensive, corresponding well to the addressed topics, and aiding in the practical application of acquired knowledge.
  • Clarity of Objectives: All participants found the course objectives to be clear, with the delivery of the content consistently aligned with these objectives.
  • Technical Operation: The platform’s operation was unanimously rated as satisfactory, with the discussion forums and external content features (such as YouTube videos) being particularly commended for their utility.
  • Overall Satisfaction: More than 80% of participants expressed high satisfaction with the quality of the DoCUp course, and every participant confirmed their intent to recommend the course to colleagues and friends.

In addition to this, the Italian experience shows that there are advantages to presenting the course in person. This approach allows participants to explore the content as a group and emphasises the importance of the tutor’s role in supporting learners, helping them to overcome any difficulties they may have in using the platform, navigating the platform and getting to know the course content.

These positive outcomes underscore the success of the pilot and the promising potential of the DoCUp MOOC in addressing the training needs of domestic workers and fostering professional growth. As we move forward, the DoCUp partnership is committed to incorporating the valuable feedback received during the pilot into further refining and enhancing the MOOC.

What comes next?

The partnership is currently gearing up for the next phase, which revolves around the development of “A framework and a comprehensive set of tools aimed at facilitating, recognizing, and validating the intricacies of domestic care work.” This initiative seeks to establish a robust foundation that not only streamlines the processes involved but also ensures the acknowledgment and validation of the invaluable contributions made within the realm of domestic care.

Specifically, initially, a “Statement of Support” will be created. This concise document will outline the skill requirements for domestic care workers and secure the endorsement of relevant stakeholders. Their approval signifies a “soft” commitment to advancing the project’s objectives. The endorsement of this statement will play a crucial role in socially acknowledging the DoCUp learning resources, acting as a foundational step toward gradually integrating domestic care work into upskilling initiatives and established formal pathways.

Next, a guide will be created that compiles best practices from the partnership countries and exemplary cases. This best practice guide aims to broaden social security and protection for domestic care workers and other worker categories.

In the final stages, a position paper will be developed by the DOCUP partnership to support policy-making and the formulation of domestic policies. This document will serve as an advocacy tool, providing valuable insights, recommendations and a strategic framework in line with the overall objectives of strengthening and optimising home care policies.

We are very excited about what has been achieved so far, and even more excited about what awaits us for the upcoming outcomes, culminating in a successful conclusion to this project. Domestic care workers play a crucial role, and ensuring secure and resilient employment pathway is essential to deliver high-quality care services.

Thank you for your ongoing support and enthusiasm for the DoCUp project. We look forward to updating you on our continued progress.

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