All organisations who take action to boost digital skills in Europe can become members of the Coalition and pledge to take actions to tackle the digital skills gap. Actions can range from training unemployed people, giving MOOCs for teachers, offering coding classes for children or cutting edge training for ICT specialists.
The Digital Opportunity traineeships scheme is a pilot project giving students and recent graduates an opportunity to get hands-on training in digital fields such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, coding or digital marketing.
The Coalition also shares and promotes digital skills initiatives through the European Digital Skills Awards, which can be replicated and scaled up across Europe.
Each year the European Commission highlights excellent initiatives that help improve the digital skills of citizens, the labour force, ICT professionals, girls and women as well as in education through the European Digital Skills Awards.
The European Commission, with the contribution of the Digital Champions, has identified some great projects that could be an inspiration for similar initiatives and eventually be supported by the European Social Fund as well.
Member States can support collaboration between the different actors in their country on developing digital skills by bringing them together in national coalitions. Related country factsheets provide a quick overview of all national coalitions.
The Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition Governing Board provides strategic leadership to the Coalition. The Board has 13 members who represent the Coalition partners at European level, and act as a link between pledgers, national Coalitions and social partners. In September 2018 the Governing board adopted a 9-point action plan outlining next steps to expand the membership or to ensure that EU’s future budget includes a focus on the development of digital competences.
Who or what does the Coalition target?
The Coalition tackles the need for digital skills of four broad groups:
- Digital skills for all – developing digital skills to enable all citizens to be active in our digital society
- Digital skills for the labour force – developing digital skills for the digital economy, e.g. upskilling and reskilling workers, jobseekers; actions on career advice and guidance
- Digital skills for ICT professionals – developing high level digital skills for ICT professionals in all industry sectors
- Digital skills in education – transforming teaching and learning of digital skills in a lifelong learning perspective, including the training of teachers
What should the Coalition achieve?
By 2020, the Coalition hopes to achieve the following higher level goals:
- Train 1 million young unemployed people for vacant digital jobs through internships/traineeships, apprenticeships and short-term training programmes.
- Support the upskilling and retraining of the workforce and in particular take concrete measures to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who face specific challenges in attracting and retaining digital talent as well as retraining their workforce.
- Modernise education and training to provide all students and teachers with the opportunity to use digital tools and materials in their teaching and learning activities and to develop and upgrade their digital skills.
- Reorient and make use of available funding to support digital skills and carry out awareness-raising about the importance of digital skills for employability, competitiveness and participation in society.
Skills Agenda for Europe
In its new Skills Agenda for Europe the Commission asked all Member States to develop national digital skills strategies by mid-2017 and to set up national coalitions to support their implementation. To support the development of national strategies, a group composed of Member State experts has put together a menu of challenges to be addressed and potential actions that could form part of a digital skills strategy – the so-called "shared concept".
The digital skills gap in Europe
Having a digitally skilled labour force and population, more broadly, is crucial for the creation of a Digital Single Market in Europe and for receiving its benefits, for European competitiveness and for an inclusive digital society.
Currently, however, 44% of European citizens do not have basic digital skills. 37% of people in the labour force – farmers, bank employees, and factory workers alike – also lack sufficient digital skills, despite the increasing need for such skills in all jobs.
Europe also lacks skilled ICT specialists to fill the growing number of job vacancies in all sectors of the economy. A crucial issue underpinning this is the need to modernise our education and training systems, which currently do not prepare young people sufficiently for the digital economy and society, and to move to a life-long learning approach so that people can adapt their skills sets throughout their life-times as needed.
Digital Economy and Society Index
- Human Capital/Digital skills
- Use of Internet Services by citizens
- Integration of Digital Technology by businesses
- Digital Public Service
- Reasearch and Development ICT