24 exceptional projects and initiatives that help Europeans improve their digital skills were selected as finalists of the European Digital Skills Awards 2018. They will present their activities at ICT 2018 in Vienna. European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel will award 5 winners on 6 December.

264 projects and initiatives have applied for the European Digital Skills Awards 2018. “Digital skills for education” was the most popular category with 102 applications. The countries with the highest number of submissions were Italy (25), Spain (20) and Romania (16). 29 projects applied as “EU wide”.

The competition is divided in 5 categories. The Commission has shortlisted 24 finalists. An independent jury, composed of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition's Governing board, will now evaluate them and select one winner per category. The award ceremony will take place on 6 December at ICT 2018 in Vienna. All the finalists are invited to the event and get the possibility to present their activities at the exhibition at the stand of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition.

The Commission selected 5 finalists per category. There are two exceptions: "Digital skills for education" - due to the high interest the Commission shortlisted 6 projects - and "Digital skills for ICT professionals" - only 9 projects applied for the award in this category so the Commission chose only 3 finalists.

The 24 shortlisted finalists are:

1. Digital skills for all

Digital Duel (Belgium)

To combat the lack of digital skills, the Federal Public Service Economy created the serious game "Digital Duel". The goal is to sensitize Belgian citizens to take action to improve their own / individual level of digital skills. It covers 5 areas: information processing, communication, content creation, safety and problem solving.

Digital Senior (Norway)

An initiative by the Norwegian Red Cross to help the senior part of the population, that have close to no digital experience regarding the use of everyday technology, to overcome the fear of failing. The programme also hels them to to adapt to the new digital society. After 10 weeks of training, the seniors achieve basic mastery over the tablet and are able to use and understand email, camera, video chat, chat and two apps of their choice.

EdFab (France)

Located in the North of Paris EdFab’s main goal is to empower citizens by giving them access to the most relevant information, innovative tools, latest platforms and trainings for the skills and jobs of the future. It organises workshops for high-school students, a free after-school program for girls where they learn to code or monthly meetups where young people can hear from and meet professionals who pitch about their emerging or evolving job.

Sektor 3.0 (Poland)

Sektor 3.0 is a program that increases digital competencies of NGO professionals and the wider non-profit sector. It builds a digital ecosystem that is inclusive and sustainable. It targets small communities which are usually deprived of digital access and supports institutions who further educate citizens on the use of ICTs.

Training and certification on digital competences for all (Spain)

“CYL Digital” provides training and certification on digital competences for the citizens of Castilla y León. The target audience of the programme are all those groups with the greatest difficulties in accessing the Information Society (the elderly, the unemployed, people with disabilities, immigrants, etc.), and also other groups that can use ICT in their daily lives - such as kids and young people, self-employed and small businesses, etc. In the training centres, citizens can learn how to use technologies, but they can also certify their digital skills through a comprehensive certification system.

2. Digital skills for the labour force

Accenture and An Cosán Virtual Community College Roll Out Virtual ‘Skills to Succeed Academy’ Throughout Ireland (Ireland)

This online Academy uses virtual coaches, gamification and simulations to help users navigate their career paths while equipping them with skills they need to find long-term employment. For example, users can tailor their CVs to job opportunities, hone interview techniques and learn what is required to stay employed, from setting goals to keeping motivated in work.

Coding Bootcamp Praha (Czech Republic)

A 12-week full-stack web development coding bootcamp in Prague, Czech Republic, which targets career changers. It brings into the tech world a group of people who are highly interested in the switch, however, could not afford the other market solutions. The strengths of the programme include an industry-tested curriculum, high graduate placement, international environment and a holistic approach.

Compass - Digital Upskilling Platform for Young Unemployed (EU wide)

It is a free digital upskilling online training platform designed to improve the employability of young Europeans. The platform does not target ICT jobs as lots of other platforms do: as digital competences now impact the great majority of jobs, Compass wants to address young unemployed’ digital competences training needs required for all kinds of non-ICT jobs.

Digital and Green Skills for a Sustainable Economy (Spain)

This program contributes to train a new breed of professionals capable of endowing innovative processes with by-design green and sustainable principles that benefit society and environment. It is open to young people, under 30 years old, with a university or Higher Level Education Cycle degree, and unemployed at the time of the inscription to the course.

Regional Digital Campus Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (France)

This French region adopted follows a strategic digital roadmap for 2017-2021 with 3 main ambitions: a region that is 100% connected; a region that creates jobs and a region that creates services. One of the keystone of this strategy is the Regional Digital Campus. It drives digital transformation in terms of both technology and skills, building strong exchanges between enterprises and education.

3. Digital skills for ICT professionals

Building IT professional skills Industry to enable success (Spain)

This project helps IT managers, professional teams and any other professional who are in need to improve their digital skills. This project is unique as it´s involving enterprise companies, small-sized organizations and IT professional individuals so they can access to the program as it suits best for them.

Data Analytics Learning Framework at Airbus (France, Germany, Spain, UK)

This framework was established to upskill internal Airbus workforce with competences in Data Science. It is part of the company’s digital transformation. The approach is innovative, as it relies on both digital and social/ community learning. The employees greatly appreciate this learning framework as it provides the opportunity to develop their profile and career opportunities.

Innovation Training Course: Data Science and Deep Learning (Austria)

The main goal of this course is to enable the implementation of data driven innovation by imparting knowledge to companies on the newest developments in the Data Science area. It helps participants to recognise and describe potential application areas for Data Science in an enterprise and to design adequate solutions and intervention strategies.

4. Digital skills in education

Adopt a School! (Romania)

The program aims to blend technology in the learning environments of primary school students. To do this, it creates partnerships between schools and local IT companies to set up free Coding Clubs in schools organized by IT professionals from the companies that volunteer to mentor students.

Digital Makers in Lithuanian Schools (Lithuania)

This initiative empowers society with digital skills necessary for the 21st-century job market by introducing a network of mini FabLabs in schools. These are low-cost (up to 15.000 EUR per Lab) digital fabrication laboratories. The project brings a new integrated approach to the local education processes and curriculum, including 3D printing, 2D design, and robotics, programming, and STE(A)M activities.

ER4STEM: Educational Robotics for STEM (EU wide)

This project turns curious young children into young adults passionate about science and technology with a hands-on use case: robotics. More than 4000 young learners in several European countries participated in the educational robotics workshops. The participants showed an increased interest in the STEM domains and robotics.

INTO/Future Songwriting (Finland)

This Finnish toolkit and modular concept fosters creativity and 21st century skills through music education. It combines a teachers training program and a creative model for schools and kindergartens. It improves digital skills by training teachers to apply digital technology in their work and providing a test laboratory for exploiting future music technologies in music classes.

Lie Detectors (Belgium, Germany)

It’s an independent journalist-led news literacy non-profit aiming at starting a conversation in Europe’s classrooms about digital disinformation. It helps teenagers and pre-teens to learn how to spot and resist the growing volume of manipulative media crowding their social media accounts as they start to forge an independent worldview.

Meet and Code (EU wide)

The goal of Meet and Code is to introduce children and young people between the age of 8 and 24 years to the world of technology and coding. The events show young people how much fun coding can be. They also give participant the opportunity to bring their ideas to life. The initiative is organised by SAP and fosters digital literacy for young people in Europe.

5. Digital skills for girls and women

#Hackeuses! (France)

It is a digital acculturation program organised by Simplon.co dedicated to women to support them in the construction of a professional project in the digital sector. The program aims at women from 18 to 50 years old, mainly residents of low-income neighbourhoods and rural areas, and women unemployed and /or without training. The program includes theoretical classes, discussions, group workshops etc. and tackles different aspects of the digital sector including web development, robotics and personal data.

Women in Tech Coding Summer Camp (EU wide)

During summer break, where most people are on holidays and have some “free” time, the initiative offers women and girls the possibility to learn the basics of coding in a 3 weeks programme. It uses an EdTech platform with individual coaching and mentorship as well as group hackathons. The aim is to educate, encourage and empower women and girls with the basic skills of coding.

Salesforce Supermums (EU wide)

It’s a pioneering digital skills training programme, which empowers mums to get back to work with Salesforce CRM Admin skills, coaching and work experience. The programme helps increase women in technology, alongside helping them overcome the obstacles of returning to work and assisting them to secure well-paid flexible job roles feasible around their children.

STEMintheCity (Italy)

STEMintheCity is an initiative promoted and implemented by the Municipality of Milan to develop a STEM-oriented culture, encouraging girls to study science and technology, promoting careers for young women and using digital skills as an accelerator in every profession. It offers free training and activities for students of all ages—from kindergarten to university – and newly graduated girls.

STEM Talent Girl (Spain)

STEM talent girl is born as an answer to the gender gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) studies. It is a mentoring project for the development of STEM talent and encouragement of scientific and technological vocations among women. In three editions, the program has reached 9 cities from the North of Spain. It should reach every city in Spain in 4 years.

Members of the independent jury

All members of the jury are also members of the Governing board of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition:

Anja Monrad, Senior Vice President of Dell and the chair of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition Governing Board

Alessandro Bogliolo, Head of the School of Information Science and Technology, University of Urbino

Cecilia Bonefeld Dahl, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE

Cheryl Miller, founding director of the Digital Leadership Institute

Ilona Kish, Director of Director of Public Libraries 2020

Māra Jākobsone, Vice-President of the Latvian Information and Communication Technology Association (LIKTA)

Marc Durando, Executive Director at European schoolnet

Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa

Saskia Van Uffelen, Digital Champion of Belgium and the CEO of Ericsson Belux

About the Digital Skills Awards

The European Digital Skills Awards are organised every year since 2016 with the support of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition. Their objective is to recognise initiatives that have improved the digital skills of Europeans at school, at work, for ICT specialists, for girls and women and in society in general. The awards particularly focus on success stories that could be scaled-up and replicated in other cities, regions, countries and sectors.

Check out the winners of the European Digital Skills Awards from 2017 and 2016.