Great interview from Cáritas Diocesana de Coimbra, one of SmartWorkEU partners

12th March 2020

Last week, we had the opportunity to ask some questions to one of our partners from Cáritas Diocesana de Coimbra, Carina Dantas. Here below the full interview.

What is the main role of Cáritas Coimbra in SmartWork?

Caritas Coimbra has a very strong role in this project, leading two work packages – at the level of co-creation and use cases, as well as validation of the solution in real context. It is also leading some tasks in other areas, especially in the area of ethics, with Carina Dantas being the President of the Ethics Board of the project, and on the concertation and standardisation activities

Getting it shorter, we are leading the activity packages that are more connected to the needs of workers and their feedback on the system.

In the first months, we led a thorough survey, with the participation of hundreds of people in several European countries, thst showed us the main wishes and challenges.

Now we are moving forward to validation and testing. This year will be dedicated to recruiting employees who will participate in the pilot project of Caritas Coimbra and Denmark (Aarhus) and will have the opportunity to test the new tools during a trial period.

What was the idea behind your participation to this project?

Although more than 40% of the working-age population in Portugal are over 55 and this raises a number of concerns: do these workers feel active and involved in working life? Can they maintain or adopt healthy lifestyles? How can we accompany constant innovations in work tools or renewing their professional skills?

According to the latest data from INE – National Statistics Institute, it is estimated that Portugal has more than 3.5 million people over 55, representing 34.4% of the country’s population. In 2019, retirement age is set at 66 years and 5 months, which has evolved with average life expectancy.

Older workers are often the anchor of organisational processes, have a wealth of accumulated knowledge and an experience that allows them to identify priorities. However, they often face greater challenges than younger people because of the slow decline in physical and mental conditions caused by aging. Examples are vision, hearing, cognition and mobility. The increase in chronic diseases from younger and younger ages also brings a number of difficulties to productivity and working conditions, as well as conciliation of personal and family life.

These were the challenges that made us be involved in SmartWork, hoping we can help to bring some added value to this issue.

What added value do you expect SmartWork will bring to your organisation and its workers?

Although this is still a research project, we expect to help in the advancement of innovative digital solutions that enable our workers over 55 to stay actively involved in the working life for a longer time by helping them to renew their working skills and to adopt healthier lifestyles, taking into account any age-related health conditions.

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