In 2017, 43 % of the EU population had an insufficient level of digital skills and major disparities still remain between Member States regarding the acquisition of digital skill among the labour force. The European Social Fund (ESF) has been used to tackle digital skills deficit throughout Europe in the current programming period (2014-2020) by supporting projects aiming at fostering digital skills among citizens.
Since 2016, the ESF Transnational Thematic Network on Learning and Skills has enabled mutual learning and has looked into national, regional and local policies aiming at building an inclusive digital economy and society in Europe by boosting the digital skills of citizens, workers and education providers. For example, the “Digital inclusion – Digi4all” project in Luxembourg aims at providing socially excluded people with access to computers and giving them the autonomy to acquire digital, professional or linguistic skills. The network drawn on the 10 actions of the New Skills Agenda for Europe of the European Commission as a policy framework and identified the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition as a priority. Since 2016, thanks to this Coalition, 10.9 million people in the EU could improve their digital skills.
For the future, the European Commission has highlighted the importance of investing in digital skills in its Communication on the post 2020 Multiannual Financial Framework and by forecasting the European Commission Digital Europe programme. The ESF+ will have a key role to play to ensure that people develop the right skills for the digital economy in order to tackle unemployment. Moreover, Ursula von der Leyen, the next President of the European Commission, wants to get Europe up to speed on digital by updating the Digital Education Action Plan.
Learn more about Ursula von der Leyen’s programme
Ledan, A. and Toland, J. (May 2019) Inspirational practices for tomorrow’s inclusive digital world. Technical dossier no. 10. Available at: https://op.europa.eu/s/ntwL. Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) Report 2019 on Human Capital Digital Inclusion and Skills. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/dae/document.cfm?doc_id=59976.