At a time when Europe faces massive unemployment, technology companies face a critical shortfall of talented ICT experts. This contradictory picture reveals a mismatch between the skills on offer and those in demand in today's fast developing technology market. As a result Europe might face a shortage of up to 900,000 ICT professionals by 2020, risking its potential for growth and digital competitiveness.
This is why in March 2013 the Commission launched the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs: a multi-stakeholder partnership that endeavours to facilitate collaboration among business and education providers, public and private actors to take action attracting young people into ICT education, and to retrain unemployed people. Our goal is to start to increase the supply of ICT practitioners by 2015, so as to ensure a sufficient number of them in Europe in the near future.
On February 2014 European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Vice President Neelie Kroes brought CEOs from across the global economy together at the World Economic Forum in Davos to expand the Coalition that is delivering digital training opportunities and jobs. Corporate leaders were then invited to endorse the Davos Declaration on the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs.
We encourage stakeholders to join the Grand Coalition either by making pledges for concrete short-term actions and forming or joining National Coalitions for Digital Jobs. We also strive to engage many more stakeholders through our events, workshops and meetings to share success stories and best practices.
So far, more than 50 pledging organisations have shown their commitment. Moreover, national coalitions have already been launched in Bulgaria, Greece, Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Poland; other relevant initiatives are underway in more than 10 countries.
Efforts will continue to be enhanced so that additional trainings, internships and jobs can be counted in hundreds of thousands instead of thousands making the Coalition sustainable. As such, the Commission continues to seek commitments from CEOs and political leaders to pledge substantial support for the Coalition, widening the membership to additional ICT and ICT-using companies. The Coalition aims also to reach out more companies’ HR managers and public, as well as private employment services.
The Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs delivers concrete actions, which can be implemented in the short-term and have high local impact. It builds on on-going programmes and best practices that could be scaled-up. The following are the priorities of the actions:
The Grand Coalition helps to accelerate and intensify efforts initiated by European policies, such as the Digital Aggenda for Europe, the e-Skills Strategy, the Employment Package, the Opening up Education Initiative, the Rethinking Education Strategy, the Youth Opportunities Initiative, and the EU Skills Panorama.
It also aims to stimulate digital entrepreneurship by liaising with Startup Europe, a single platform for tools and programmes supporting people wanting to set up and grow web start-ups in Europe.
To assist in this process, on behalf of the Commission, DIGITALEUROPE is managing the Secretariat of the Grand Coalition.
The Secretariat brings together stakeholders from the demand and supply side committed to bridging the skills gaps. These constituencies include Member States, the Commission, industry, academia and NGOs. Over two years, some 14 organisations active in the IT, education and SME communities will boost the Commission’s programme for reducing the skills gap in Europe.
The Secretariat will focus on action and local implementation. It will amplify successful local and national programmes and initiatives and seek to export these to other parts of Europe. It will build and promote local coalitions to facilitate action towards enhanced digital skills at national, regional or local level.
For more information on the Secretariat, please visit the dedicated webpage or contact
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