The European Information Technologies Certification Institute is member of the EU Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition.
The Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition is one of the central EU strategic development policies of the European Commision. It brings together Member States of the European Union as well as the companies, social partners, non-profit organisations and education providers, who take action to tackle the lack of digital skills in Europe. All organisations seeking proliferation of digital skills in Europe contribute to the Coalition by endorsing the objectives and principles of the Coalition as laid out in the members Charter as well as taking pledges to take action in order to carry out initiatives reducing the digital skills gap. Actions range from training unemployed people and giving MOOCs for teachers to giving coding classes for children and cutting edge training for ICT specialists. The EITCI Institute pledge is to disseminate high quality IT skills and related certification among EU citizens and promoting not only digital literacy but also more advanced professional IT competencies, helping to secure strategic positions in the developing information society.
Within the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition the Digital Opportunity traineeships scheme is a pilot project giving students and recent graduates an opportunity to get hands-on training in digital fields such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, coding or digital marketing. EITCI Institute is part of this initiative providing advanced IT certification schemes within the EITCA Academy. The Coalition also shares digital skills initiatives, which are then replicated and scaled up across Europe. Member States support the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition through motivating of collaboration between all the different actors in respective countries on developing digital skills by bringing them together in national coalitions and then promote cooperation on international level.
In the new Skills Agenda for Europe the European Commission asked all Member States to develop national digital skills strategies by mid-2017 and to set up national coalitions to support their implementation. To support the development of national strategies, a group composed of Member State experts has put together a menu of challenges to be addressed and potential actions that could form part of a digital skills strategy – the so-called "shared concept". A set of best practices, has also been collected and disseminated.
The European Commission monitors Member States' digital progress, including digital skills, in the European Digital Progress Report.
A comprehensive description of this European Commission's policy can be downloaded in the form of a document: Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition in a nutshell.
Who or what does the Coalition target?
The Coalition tackles the need for digital skills of four broad groups:
- 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 should the Coalition achieve?
By 2020, the Coalition hopes to achieve the following higher level goals:
- 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.
The digital skills gap in Europe
Having a digitally skilled labour force and population, more broadly, is crucial for the creation of a Digital Single Market in Europe and for receiving its benefits, for European competitiveness and for an inclusive digital society.
Currently, however, 44% of European citizens do not have basic digital skills. 37% of people in the labour force – farmers, bank employees, and factory workers alike – also lack sufficient digital skills, despite the increasing need for such skills in all jobs.
Europe also lacks skilled ICT specialists to fill the growing number of job vacancies in all sectors of the economy. A crucial issue underpinning this is the need to modernise European education and training systems, which currently do not prepare young people sufficiently for the digital economy and society, and to move to a life-long learning approach so that people can adapt their skills sets throughout their life-times as needed.
EITCI Institute's DSJC contribution
EITCI Institute as a Member of the Digital Skills and Jobs coalition launched an initiative upon EITCA Academy, pledging to assess digital skills of 1 million of the EU citizens who will earn relevant EU EITC / EITCA Certificates attesting their competencies.