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Commission launches Digital Skills & Jobs Coalition

The European Commission hand in hand with member states, enterprises, societal partners, education providers and NGO’s has launched the Digital skills and Jobs coalition on December 1. This new initiative is to bridge the increasing demand for, yet lacking provision of, digital skills both in the job market as well as society more broadly, and is an integral part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe presented this June.

The currently 30 member strong coalition, comprising groups as the European Digital SME Alliance, ESRI, Google and many more, is committed to taking on the skills gap at all levels.  A currently estimated 750 000 vacancies in ICT professions predicted to remain untapped by 2020, paralleled with youth unemployment at almost 20%, signals a need for digital skills across many sectors.  Efforts will be directed at building up highly specialised ICT skills, to those skills needed by European citizens to equally participate in an emerging digital economy and society.

This Coalition builds on the efforts of its predecessors - the Grand coalition for Digital jobs, eSkills for Jobs Campaign, and Education and Training 2020 - that since 2013 left their impact by training over 2 million people and establishing 13 national skills coalitions across Europe.
The new Coalition that embraces a ‘broader, more inclusive and pan-European effort’, combined with ongoing initiatives in the field, by 2020 aims to:   

  • Train 1 million unemployed youth to fill a pool of idle digital jobs, with a focus on traineeships and short term trainings.
  • Upgrade skills levels, increase workforce retention and attraction of digital talent, particularly supporting SMEs
  • Modernise education and training by equipping all students and teaching staff with digital materials and tools, in the frame of learning activities.
  • Leverage available funding, including awareness raising activities for the importance of digital skills for employability, competitiveness and societal participation.

With the goal to establish national coalitions across all member states by 2020, three new coalitions are pending to be launched in the Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovenia, with a further four in the making. The Commission will act in a coordinating role at EU level and facilitate partnerships and practice exchanges. As this multi-stakeholder partnership grows in members and national contexts, so must its capacities for concerted action to tackle skills barriers inhibiting European growth, innovation and the participation of citizen’s in modern work environments.

European Commission - press release