Developing a digital talent pool is crucial for the Digital Single Market, for European competitiveness and for our digital society to remain inclusive. Today around 45% of Europeans have only basic digital skills. All sectors of the economy are becoming digital, but 37% of the labour force – farmers, bank employees, factory works alike – has insufficient digital skills. Europe also lacks digitally skilled persons to fill job vacancies, despite high unemployment rates. There may be a lack of up to 500,000 Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) professionals in 2020.
The Coalition tackles the need for digital skills at all levels:
- 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 can partners do in the Coalition?
All organisations, groups, businesses or government bodies who take action to boost digital skills in Europe can become members of the Coalition by endorsing the objectives and principles of the Charter.
Members are encouraged to pledge for action to train more digital experts, re-skill and up-skill the labour force and provide citizens with the digital skills they need for their lives. You can see all pledges in our pledge viewer.
Member States can mobilise partners and form local, regional and national Digital Skills and Jobs Coalitions, which carry out actions in their countries to tackle the digital skills gap. Member States have been invited to develop digital skills strategies by mid-2017. To help them identify challenges and potential actions, experts have put together a menu of actions for national digital skills strategies, the so-called shared concept.
The Coalition also shares digital skills initiatives, which can be replicated and scaled up across Europe. In December 2016, 16 finalists were selected and four outstanding projects were awarded the first European Digital Skills Awards.
What will the Coalition achieve?
The goals of the combination of all initiatives in the Coalition are, by 2020, to:
- 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.