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EU skills coalition wants to beef up digital capabilities across Europe

Matteo Natalucci Published 11 December 2017

European companies and organisations were invited to submit projects they have implemented to improve digital skills in Europe


The EU’s Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition has announced the winners of the European Digital Skills Awards 2017 and unveiled the first Digital Opportunity traineeships available for students.

Companies and other organisations (e.g. national or local public authorities) were invited to submit projects they have implemented to improve digital skills in Europe for the awards.

The awards aim to showcase ICT initiatives that enhance digital skills of citizens, the labour force, ICT professional, in education and closing the gender gap in digital skills.

The Coalition has over 300 members with nearly 90 organisations taking concrete commitments (pledges) tackling the digital skills gap, including several UK organisations.

Altogether 243 projects from countries all over the EU applied for the awards.

Finalists were selected on the basis of the impact made by the project, the synergies between the different stakeholders involved, the scalability and replicability of the initiative as well as the effectiveness of the project.

The five winners and finalists announced by Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, were selected in the following four categories:

  • Digital skills for all – developing digital skills to enable all citizens to be active in the 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

The awards are open to any organisation or company (e.g. national or local public authorities, businesses, education, non-governmental organisations, associations or a mix thereof) undertaking digital skills projects in Europe. The initiative must cover one or multiple EU Members States or European Free Trade Association (EFTA countries)

The Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition brings together public organisations, companies, social partners, non-profit organisations and education providers, who take action to tackle the lack of digital skills in Europe.

41 of the Coalition’s pledges were "pan-European" with actions rolled out in all 28 EU Member States. The most pledges were found in Italy (17), Spain (11), UK (7), Greece (6) and Belgium, Ireland and France (5). .

The Digital Opportunity traineeships   initiative will provide cross-border traineeships for up to 6,000 students and recent graduates between 2018 and 2020

The aim is to give students of all disciplines the opportunity to strengthen ICT specific skills, in fields like cybersecurity, big data, quantum technology and machine learning or boost digital skills for business in areas like web design, digital marketing, and software development.

The first traineeships will start in June 2018 and the interns will receive an allowance of around 500 EUR per month, for an average of five months.

Interested students and recent graduates can apply through their university. The pilot project is open to all European Union member states, Erasmus+  Programme Countries and to the Horizon 2020  Associated Countries .

Gabriel said: "I want to encourage talented young minds to get the digital jobs of the future. Today I am launching the Digital Opportunity pilot to offer students traineeships in digital in another EU country."

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