EU Science Hub

Upskilling for life after the pandemic: Commission launches new digital competence guidelines

The report calls for action to support the development of digital competences in the European work force.
The report calls for action to support the development of digital competences in the European work force.
Jul 13 2020

Today the Commission launches new guidelines to help educators, employers and recruiters ensure Europeans are equipped with the digital skills to thrive in the post-coronavirus world of work.

The DigComp at Work report and its Implementation guidelines include practical steps, key actions, tips and online resources to make best use of the EU’s digital competence framework (DigComp) along the ‘employability path’ - from education to sustainable employment and entrepreneurship.

The realities of lockdown and social distancing over the past months have shown how invaluable digital skills are, with work, education and connecting with family and friends all happening in the digital space and with new technologies.

The recently presented European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience highlights that skills are key for the recovery. Businesses need workers with the skills required to master the green and digital transitions, and people need to be able to get the right education and training to thrive in life.

The Skills Agenda outlines several actions to boost digital skills.

The DigComp framework defines what it takes to be digitally competent. It is a reference point for identifying skills needs, assessing competences and cataloguing, developing and delivering digital skills training.

These new guidelines will help further unlock its potential and ensure that Europe’s workforce has the digital skillset to succeed, as the world recovers from this pandemic.

Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, responsible for the Joint Research Centre (JRC), Mariya Gabriel added “These past months, social distancing has transformed the way we connect, research and innovate at work - and we need to equip people with the right digital skills to continue working like this”.

The report includes a selection of case studies of organisations already using the DigComp framework for their own digital skilling purposes, and it is published with an Implementation guide, including key steps and practical tips.

Users of the guidelines are encouraged to first read the full DigComp at work report and its case studies to understand how DigComp has been used by others, and how it can help them.

Up to now, DigComp has been used to collect and disseminate labour market information, design and deliver training, and assess and certify skills. It also has potential to support activities including career guidance, workforce development, and job search support. 

The case studies show how DigComp helped organisations and authorities to:

  • Develop 36 individual digital professional profiles;
  • Implement digital competence certification systems;
  • Design and deliver generic and job specific digital competences training courses.

The report and guidelines are also a call to action for labour market actors to support the development of digital competences in the European work force.

DigComp is unique in bringing a common and broad view of what digital competence is. This can help stakeholders interact and build the ecosystem needed for effective upskilling actions.

DigComp’s credibility, reliability and neutrality stemming from its consensus-based origin and EU endorsement, together with its completeness and flexibility, are key implementation success factors reported in the case studies.

DigComp and the European Skils Agenda

Digital skills are essential for life and work and are the foundation for employability and accessing information and support throughout our careers. Support for managing the digital transitions are at the heart of the European Skills Agenda, adopted by the European Commission on the 1st of July 2020.

DigComp has and will play a role in supporting the work of countries, companies and social partners to support the development of digital competences.

The case studies showcase practical examples of the development of the digital competences, and the Implementation guide offers specific guidelines, examples and useful resources for the use of DigComp. Our hope is that they serve as a call to action for greater uptake of DigComp and delivering on the goals of the European Skills Agenda.

Launched in 2013, DigComp is a tool to improve citizens’ digital skills. So far, at least 380,000 DigComp based training courses and 440,000 DigComp based certificates have been provided in Europe.

The framework:

  • Identifies digital ‘competence areas’;
  • Provides ‘competence descriptors and titles’ pertinent to each area;
  • Defines proficiency levels for each competence;
  • Defines knowledge, skills and attitudes applicable to each competence;
  • Gives examples of where and how these competences can be applied in different situations.

DigComp is continuously evolving to take account of competence needs brought about by new technological developments like artificial intelligence, robotisation, big data and “datification”. The JRC aims to update and release DigComp 2.2 , incorporating these developments, in the first quarter of 2021.

DigComp at Work was produced by the JRC on behalf of the European Commission department for employment, social affairs and inclusion (DG EMPL). The report was made possible through the commitment and time of DigComp stakeholders across the EU, in particular nine organisations that shared extensive and valuable information on how they have used the framework.