e-Skills for the 21st Century
The success of Europe 2020, the competitiveness and the innovation capability of European industry and social cohesion are dependent on the strategic and effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and the knowledge, skills, competences and inventiveness of the European workforce and citizens. There is a general recognition since the 1990s that the role of ICT on productivity and living standards is critical.
E-skills shortages, gaps and mismatches as well as a persistent digital divide will affect negatively productivity growth, competitiveness, innovation, employment and social cohesion in Europe.
As ICT is developing rapidly, e-skills need to be constantly updated. In addition, the demand for individuals with creativity, innovation and higher-level conceptual skills is increasing.
Improving the availability of e-skills involves actions both at European and national level, in several areas, primarily education, training, industrial and labour policies but also in other domains such as immigration, taxation and research.
There is broad consensus among stakeholders that e-skills are crucial for Europe. For example, a wide range of pan-European and national activities (over 1160 events involving more than 445,200 participants) have been organised by 284 stakeholders in 35 countries during the first European e-Skills Week (1-5 March 2010) to raise awareness of the demand for highly skilled ICT jobs and the importance of e-skills in today's society.
This initiative demonstrated the strong mobilisation of stakeholders. The campaign reached more than 65 million people.
eSkills Week - 26-30 March 2012
The EU e-skills strategy has made good progress with several visible achievements in particular regarding ICT practitioners and users.
Foresight scenarios on the supply and demand (2010-2015), an analysis of the impact of global sourcing and a European e-competences framework are now available as well as many multi-stakeholder partnerships including a European e-skills and careers portal.
While the momentum must be sustained and intensified, it is necessary to better address e-business (also called e-leadership) skills to generate a large talent pool with a greater emphasis on innovation and the use of ICT to strengthen the comparative strategic competitive advantage of European industry.
The European Commission adopted on 7 September 2007 a Communication on "e-Skills for the 21st Century: Fostering Competitiveness, Growth and Jobs [161 KB] ", presenting a long term e-skills agenda and including five major action lines at EU level (2008-2010).
The Competitiveness Council of Ministers subsequently adopted Conclusions on a long term e-skills strategy on 22-23 November 2007. The European Commission also adopted a Communication on e-Inclusion on 8 November 2007.
Further activities to promote e-skills will be further developed in the Digital Agenda for Europe (which was adopted on 19 May 2010 by the European Commission) and other important flagship initiatives related to innovation, employment and industrial policy.
|The initiatives stemming from the implementation of the EU e-skills strategy are mainly financed by the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), which aims to encourage the competitiveness of European enterprises.|