The Hamburg further education grant.
Our first plan for the European week in 2020 was to offer special consulting hours for our clients in a very central and nice location. That location is run by a neighbourhood project near the main station of Hamburg. The additional aspect was to offer consultation outside normal working hours, so the interested persons could drop by from Monday to Friday after work and for some hours on Saturday. And a more strategic aim was to promote the project once more in public. The message was “We support employees in going digital”.
Then short before announcing this activity to the public everything had to be cancelled because of the corona pandemic. At First, we thought ok that’s it, but then shortly after we had established the home offices for most of our staff members, we realised the chance: When we communicate successfully via teams, why shouldn’t we offer this to potential clients. Our IT-specialist got at work and made a test with a positive result. We could offer a consultation by sending a link to the person and meet them at an appointed time in a video chat. The project manager made the decision to go public with this offer, but because of the uncertainty whether it will work or not, the new communication channel was limited on Saturday, 09.05.2020, from 12 am to 3 pm.
The next step was to communicate this special consulting offer. The ESF-communication specialist of the BASFI, Mrs. Nora Obenaus, gave us very strong support. The message was spread across all ESF-media from ESF-website, social media channels up to the official press-releases of the government of Hamburg. The project staff started an e-mail-campaign with the CRM-system and send a message to former clients to motivate them to think about a further education in the field of digitalisation.
By that time our team was very enthusiastic about this project because it wasn´t only talking or promoting digitalisation but simply doing a step further by ourselves.
The week before Saturday the 9th of may we received per e-mail and phone in total 14 responses from interested persons, who asked for a video chat; some of them asked for another day. 3 people got the information via ESF-Twitter the others were responding to the personalised e-mail. Meanwhile we got 2 more late coming responses.
On Saturday the 9th may, 3 members of our staff gave the consultations at the appointed time out of their home offices. The technical part was no problem, only one client was not online, but he got in contact to us the following Monday. For our staff members it was a new experience to talk to the clients on screen but all 3 colleagues were very astonished about the intense quality of the communication. They agreed, it was an open and good atmosphere. This fact seems to be a specific quality throughout the last weeks of the corona pandemic.
Resume: We didn’t get masses of new clients, that expectation would have been unrealistic. Our main target group are poorly qualified and unskilled workers and employees. But in the shortage of time we made contacts of high quality and we started a new digital communication channel/tool and here we definitely will go on.