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Serge Linckels, Ministry of Education, Children & Youth: “Using digital technologies to redesign the whole department”

Serge Linckels, Deputy Director-General for Vocational Training at the Ministry of Education, Children & Youth, winner of ICT Luxembourg Awards (Digital Transformation Project of the Year), looks back on the digital transformation journey of his department and its philosophy and talks about his ambitions for 2022.

(photo : Sabino Parente)

Can you tell us about your digital transformation journey?

Serge Linckels: Our digital transformation journey started three years ago. At the Vocational Education and Training (VET) department (Service de la formation professionnelle), we started almost from scratch, it was less digitized than other departments. It was a department that relied heavily on paper so we had to start with engaging all our agents to make this transformation be successful. In the end, digital transformation challenges always boil down to people. You have to define clear objectives and to be very transparent in terms of communication.

We also identified and used a lot of existing services or technologies such as MyGuichet.lu.

What were your goals and what strategy did you put in place?

S. L.: We had three main goals.

First, administrative simplification: simplify procedures and processes.

Secondly, to become faster in our response time to our “clients” (schools, students, other departments, the general public) and to become more transparent as well. In a nutshell, to propose a better service.

Our third goal was to be paper free as a modern administration.

This new strategy is based on three pillars. One concerns our internal departments to fulfill the three goals mentioned above.

Another one lies in the pedagogical aspect: using new technologies in the classroom. We have three main projects: create a learning digital environment for the “green school” (Lycée technique agricole, Ettelbruck). We are currently testing digital apprenticeship journal (carnet d'apprentissage numérique). Every apprentice should report on their main tasks of the day. Right now, it is a paper journal. We just launched a prototype of a digital agenda on smartphones.

The last project is what we call the VET (vocational education and training) Circle: a network of all our teachers to exchange regularly on the use of digital technologies in class. This project was born during the lockdown where we pull together all the teachers to learn from each other.

The third pillar is about our relation with the public which is also a target in our digital transformation.

What benefits have you gained from this digital transformation?

S. L.: We have more motivated agents. Change is good. When you leave a little bit of the “old” traditions and you move towards a more modern department, the new procedures are more than welcome by our agents. We have a faster, more transparent system. We have an excellent collaboration with the ministry of Digitalisation, the Government IT Center, the European Commission and with other stakeholders.

How to engage at best new generations with digital transformation and emerging technologies?

S. L.: The key word is communication with the people who are concerned, young and old. For instance, we have team meetings on a regular basis for everybody who wants to get better information about the digital transformation. We communicate a lot on social media. We are very transparent when it comes to our objectives, to our missions and we try to imply all the people concerned by each project.

What are your ambitions for next year?

S. L.: I will mention three specific ambitions. The first one is about credentials. We have worked to issue digital credentials and we want to go deeper in this project. In addition to the digital diplomas for which we received the ICT Award, we are going a little bit more granular, by issuing micro-credentials for certain achievements of the students.

The second ambition is to turn into a complete paper free department. For instance, we are at the point to have a fully digitalised mailing system. Every mail that enters our department is going to be scanned and digitally forward to the agent. We are at the edge of starting this project.

Our last main ambition is to empower all the people to come aboard. It’s not only changing the media, like going from a paper document to a PDF document. Our aim is to have a real digital transformation, to rethink our processes. Not only thinking paperless but using the full power and advantages of digital technologies to redesign the whole department.