Relatively little expertise or trained talent is available yet at the start of any technological cycle and blockchain technology is no different. Knowledge and skills in this field are scarce, in terms of both the IT and the socio-scientific, economic, legal, ethical and commercial domains.
The need for organisations to train and retrain their people properly and in a timely manner about new technologies such as blockchain falls by the wayside too often. If speed and impact are to be generated, the knowledge and ambitions must be created at various levels within organisations. A critical mass of people is needed in ambitious organisations – people who can dream up, control, design, build and manage blockchain applications. This existing talent gap is going to play a role in international competition about blockchain technology. The mission of the Human Capital Agenda (HCA) is to get this accelerated flow moving within organisations.
Four objectives have been defined:
- Accelerated introduction of blockchain technology in education
- Accelerated introduction of blockchain knowledge within organisations (both public and private)
- Obtaining a clear picture of the knowledge required
- Making the connection between education and organisations
Accelerated introduction of blockchain in education
More work will be done from within the Human Capital Agenda to distribute the available knowledge within education as efficiently and quickly as possible. The Teach the Teacher programme was developed for that, with assistance from experts in the coalition. Professionals who work with blockchain technology on a daily basis give lessons in hands-on sessions to educational staff from universities and higher and mid-level vocational institutions to ensure that the correct, up-to-date knowledge is available in the educational world. In small-scale meetings with breakout sessions, teachers and lecturers are brought up to speed on topics that are relevant to them (business, legal and technology), covering the latest developments. Additionally, experts from the coalition help write educational programmes and minor courses.
Accelerated introduction of blockchain within organisations
Distributing available blockchain knowledge is also important within both public and private organisations. That is why a Blockchain in a Day programme was developed from within the Human Capital Agenda. The purpose of the programme is to update participants about the world of blockchain. What is the state of the technology and what can you do with it inside your own organisation? During the programme, the participants learn about the technology and how it can be applied within their own organisations. By the end, they should have gained the inspiration to learn more about the technology and what they can mean for their own industry or organisation.
On top of that, the HCA working group launched the National Blockchain course at the end of 2019. This is an online course that may be taken free of charge. It targets anyone who wants to learn about blockchain and its possible applications. The basic course consists of a total of six modules and further modules are under development that will be added in the coming years.
Obtaining a clear picture of the knowledge required: skills and profiles
The coalition is constantly investigating what knowledge, skills and behavioural components are needed in the various domains that are relevant for implementing blockchain applications. The target audience are managers, organisational strategists, enterprise IT architects, software developers and business managers, as well as professionals specialising in e.g., human resources, finance, auditing, logistics, quality and compliance. The Human Capital Agenda published a report in 2019 that describes what the core competencies and profiles will be of the blockchain professional of the future, as seen in the context of the eCF. Those competencies and profiles are drawn up using inventories of the knowledge aspects that are needed and that are available.
Human Capital Agenda ICT
The HCA working group of the Dutch Blockchain Coalition is part of a broader programme that addresses the labour market, innovation and IT: the Human Capital Agenda ICT. HCA-ICT is a programme that was started up by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, aiming to work together with various partners to meet the growing demand for IT professionals. Under the umbrella of HCA-ICT, the DBC is also working closely with the Human Capital working group of the Netherlands AI Coalition.