During the 2021 State of the Union address, the president of the European Commission announced investments in digital skills. The importance of investment in skills “that help companies and strengthen Europe’s growth” was also reiterated in the 2022 SOTEU, proposing to make 2023 the “European Year of Skills”.
The European Year of Skills officially began on 9 May 2023 and will run for 12 months, supporting skills-related actions and initiatives across Europe, and bringing together workers and businesses with the common goal of creating fairer and more resilient societies.
EU funding for Digital Skills
This investment need was reflected in the work programme of the Digital Europe Programme. For the period 2021-2027, €580 million was earmarked for the development of advanced digital skills and support the development of a talent pool of digital experts. In the previous programming period (2014-2020), the European Commission invested around 9 million under CEF Telecom programme.
EU funding under CEF and DIGITAL Programmes supports digital skills of EU citizens through four main strains:
1. The Digital Skills and Jobs National Coalitions in EU Member States: The Digital Skills and Jobs National Coalition projects support the participating EU Member States’ national coalitions to share their Digital skills and jobs related activities and content with the Core Service Platform (CSP) at the EU level and with other relevant national coalitions/networks of actors in EU countries. It contributes to the development of digital skills within the internal market.
2. Specialised Education Programmes in Key Capacity Areas (Advanced Digital Skills Masters Programmes): The programme aims to contribute to the target of 20 million ICT experts to be employed in the EU by 2030 as pledged by the EU Digital Decade Policy Programme. The individual funded Master programmes aim at increasing the number of ICT graduates in key digital sectors with better gender balance and with a focus on fulfilling the needs of the industrial ecosystems that rely heavily on cutting edge-technologies. In addition, the funded Master programmes tackle the urgent need for sector specialists (e.g., in health, agriculture, public service etc.) with advanced digital skills.
3. Short term training courses in key capacity areas focus on SMEs digital skills needs/shortages and support the relevant digital training programmes to upgrade and reskill SME workforce.
4. Advanced digital skills analysis aims to assess upcoming digital skills needs and shortages in key digital areas to further benefit the internal market in the long term.
Additional information is available at the following LINK.