Training Europe for the future: digital skills for allcreative44
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With technology changing almost every aspect of our lives, to have the right skills is essential in the digital age.
These days, you need digital skills as a basic requirement to get ahead in society as well as in the modern workplace. It is not just about reading and writing any more.
“Learning how to code while at school, for example, is a great way to get young people interested in digital careers.”
There are many young people who use the internet on a daily basis but do not have the full skills needed to convert this interest into an actual job.
We also know that in the near future most jobs – in careers such as engineering, accountancy, nursing, medicine, art, architecture, and many more – will require some level of #digitalskills.
More and more professions require basic coding skills
Increasingly, that includes programming and basic coding skills.
Learning how to code while at school, for example, is a great way to get young people interested in digital careers. But in Europe today, less than half of children are in schools which are highly equipped digitally – and only 20-25% of them are taught by digitally confident teachers.
So we have a situation where the number of ICT graduates fell by 13% between 2006 and 2013. Today, 37% of the EU workforce has low digital skills, or none at all.
There is a clear and urgent need to do something to boost digital skills. However, the European Commission cannot do this alone, not even by working with national governments.
We need a broader, more inclusive and pan-European effort.
Today, our fellow Commissioner Marianne Thyssen – European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility – launched the #EUSkillsAgenda – New Skills Agenda for Europe, which also has a solid focus on digital skills and jobs with the planned Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition. It is good to see that digital skills are strongly recognised as basic skills, along with literacy and numeracy.
“The idea is for all EU countries to create national digital skills coalitions and develop comprehensive national digital skills strategies.”
The Coalition will bring together all interested parties from the public and private sectors – national authorities from the EU’s 28 countries, education providers, employment services, for example – to develop and expand the pool of European digital talent.
It will help to provide people – young and old, the employed as well as jobseekers – with the skills that they need to use digital technologies and be able to apply them in a working environment.
The idea is for all EU countries to create national digital skills coalitions and develop comprehensive national digital skills strategies, with accompanying targets.
This approach has already proved successful with similar partnerships that exist in 13 EU countries which have provided digital skills training for more than 500,000 people over the last couple of years.
A good example of how it works is Italy, where ICT skills are below the EU average. Associations, institutions and public authorities throughout the country offer courses and events to boost digital skills. Students can take part in ICT Olympic Games; traditional craftsman can take courses on using 3D printers and laser cutting; women aged over 60 can learn how to use social media.
While some courses are only offered in one city or one region, there is a single website for all course that might be of interest. This also updates where the country stands in terms of numbers of people in training, companies taking part –indicating whether the country is reaching the goals that it has set.
28,2% of Europeans have Above Basic digital skills, Source: Digital Economy & Society index, European Commission
The focus is very much on being national, with each country choosing what is best and appropriate.
There will be no centralised coordination; the Commission will act as a facilitator, bringing all parties together in each country and helping them to share best practices on digital skills that can be scaled up and replicated.
Skills forecasting and using big data to analyse the needs of each national market will also be important.
“Digital Single Market strategy identifies the need to raise digital skills in all economic sectors and among job seekers.”
Today is just the beginning. The Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition will have its official launch towards the end of the year, with a series of preparatory events to be organised in the run-up to this event.
It will play an important role in the project to build a Digital Single Market (DSM) for Europe. Our DSM strategy identifies the need to raise digital skills in all economic sectors and among job seekers to improve their employability – and also to create an inclusive e-society.
Better and more widespread digital skills will encourage the expansion of e-government services across Europe, and also allow more people to use them.
Digitisation will transform every economic sector, from transport to telecom equipment, from factories to farming. Digital skills are essential for everyone.
This is not only about filling jobs, although that is of course important. It is also about the many new jobs that we can create by succeeding in the DSM project.
Digitisation will transform every economic sector, from transport to telecom equipment, from factories to farming – and it is already doing so. From the large businesses that use digital technologies to become more connected, competitive and productive – to the smallest and most innovative web entrepreneurs.
This is how Europe can stay competitive, grow and prosper.
Digital skills are the starting point to make it happen.