4 new National Coalitions for Digital Skills and Jobs in Belgium, Cyprus, the Netherlands, and the UK were announced at the Workshop Digital Skills for the Digital Single Market of the European Digital Assembly in Riga. There are now 12 national partnerships inspired by the EU's Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, launched in 2013 to overcome the digital skills deficit in Europe. Digital skills and confidence are essential for everyone who wants to benefit from the opportunities offered by new technologies and the Digital Single Market (DSM).

To boost the DSM, digital skills will be a key element of the European Commission's skills agenda. The Commission is also supporting the Grand Coalition and other initiatives such as the EU Code Week to boost digital skills. Also today in Riga, organisations including the BBC, CA Technologies, EMC Academic Alliance, the National College for Digital Skills and Google announced pledges to the EU Grand Coalition.

Almost 24 million Europeans are currently without a job, while companies have a hard time finding skilled digital technology experts. There could be up to 825,000 unfilled vacancies for ICT (Information and Communication technologies) professionals by 2020. Moreover, there is a need for digital skills for nearly all jobs where digital technology complements existing tasks.

Our vision: by collaborating with businesses across the economy, education providers employment services, social partners and many more embracing partners we can tackle the big skills challenges hindering growth; allow the digital talent in Europe to thrive; empower and equip people for success in the job market.

The infographic describes why Europe needs to have more digitally skilled citizens at all levels

4 new national coalitions

  • The newly-formed Belgian Alliance for Digital Skills and Jobs is led by Saskia Van Uffelen, the Belgian Digital Champion. As part of Belgium's new Digital Belgium action plan. The Alliance brings together stakeholders from various governments and the private sector and aims to equip all citizens with digital skills.
  • Cyprus' National Coalition is also led by the national Digital Champion,  Dr Stelios Himonas. More than 30 stakeholders, including the government, have come together in a partnership due to launch in autumn 2015. It will undertake initiatives, such as enhancing ICT in education and providing training to unemployed, ICT professionals and vulnerable groups.
  • The Netherlands National Coalition builds on the existing ECP – Platform for the information society and its partner Nederland ICT. The 180 ECP members work to strengthen the digital skills of the population aged 10 to 67 to increase the innovative capacity and labour productivity of the Dutch economy.
  • United Kingdom. The Tech Partnership (previously e-skills UK) is a growing network of employers, from all industry sectors, creating the skills for the digital economy. More than 550 employers have joined the Partnership in its first year, and more than 1300 learners from over 200 companies have received training. Over the next decade, the Partnership’s ambition is to deliver the skills for a million new digital jobs. The Tech Partnership has been endorsed as the UK National Coalition.

These 4 join the existing 8 national skills coalitions (Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Malta, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Romania).  The Commission makes sure that national coalitions flourish and become stronger by working with the Member States to encourage them to commit to filling the skills gaps, support and scale up grass-root initiatives and facilitate access to funding as well as by making concrete proposals in the context of the European Semester. It has developed a Toolkit, with recommendations on how to successfully start and implement stakeholder alliances

New pledges

At the Workshop Digital Skills for the Digital Single Market  in Riga, major companies and organisations also announced pledges to the EU Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs. These add to the more than 50 existing pledges and 80 stakeholders which address the ICT skills gap.

  • The BBC has committed to removing geo-blocking from the BBC academy on all training and development material, opening access to around 1000 videos, 500 blog posts and 1700 articles from career profiles for school leavers to Data Analytics for industry specialists. Its goal is to reach to 2.5 million users by 2016.
  • Google has renewed its 2013 Grand Coalition pledge. The company promise to provide digital skills training to 1 million Europeans by 2016 through various initiatives, such as offering free courses to unemployed people on web development, digital marketing, and e-commerce, supporting small businesses to use digital tools for exports and providing trainings to small businesses to enhance their digital presence. In addition, Google will reach 50,000 entrepreneurs across Europe in 2015 and will work with seven STEM (science, technology, and math) and computer science education organisations, to impact 100,000 young people.
  • CA Technologies will organise awareness raising activities to get young people excited about technology careers and advance women in ICT. It will also support start-up entrepreneurs in 2014/2016 in Switzerland with guidance through their partnership with the Heig VD and EFPL universities.
  • The UK's National College for Digital Skills is due to open in September 2016 and will directly benefit 5,000 learners between 2016 – 2021, supporting many of them straight into digital jobs. A public-private partnership and registered charity with a substantial UK government remit, it aims to be a new centre of excellence for the teaching and learning of higher level digital skills.
  • The EMC Academic Alliance will offer for free an advanced technology curriculum on specialized ICT skills to institutions of higher education. It will introduce new learning and certification options to students targeting a minimum of 100 new academic institutions to join the program until 2016. In addition, by 2020, 30,000 European students will be educated on a yearly basis in Information Management, Cloud Infrastructure and/or Big Data.


The Grand Coalition is the largest collaborative effort in Europe aimed to offer more ICT training co-designed with the industry; implement job placement programmes; provide more digitally aligned degrees and curricula at all levels and types of training and education; and motivate young people to study ICT and pursue related careers.

Experience gained through the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs shows that tackling the digital skills issue in Europe is beyond any particular stakeholder on its own. A coordinated and cohesive policy response to develop human capital is necessary, as well as commitment at the highest political level.

Moreover, we need all the actors on the ground to support our goals and get actively involved: make new pledges, renew their current commitment, join or start a national coalition in their country to deliver concrete, high impact actions.

The  Digital Skills for the Digital Single Market workshop brings together stakeholders from education, business and employment (e.g. national coalitions, companies, education providers, NGOs) that can play a key role in addressing Europe's challenges in the area of digital skills. It will present the Commission's vision with regard to digital skills development in Europe and explore and identify actions and best practices which can feed into future European and national initiatives in the area of skills.

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