Skills are increasingly becoming the differentiating factor between haves and have-nots in the digitized world. The process has been accelerated in the past two years with the coronavirus pandemic forcing people of all ages and backgrounds to quickly learn new competencies, in particular related to digital technologies. While the disruption brought about by the pandemic enabled some to quickly acquire new skills, it has also exacerbated existing gaps such as gender disparities and inequalities in access to digital infrastructure by rural and low-income communities.
Skilling efforts are a clear focus of the EU with initiatives such as the Pact for Skills and the European Skills Agenda aimed at promoting investment in improving existing skills (up-skilling) and acquiring new skills (re-skilling). Similarly, digital skills are a key priority with the recent Path to the Digital Decade setting out a concrete target of 20 million employed ICT specialists in the EU by 2030, with convergence between women and men. The European Parliament in its own-initiative Report on shaping digital education policy underlined the importance of not leaving anyone behind, which was recently ingrained in the Solidarity and Inclusion principle proposed as part of the declaration on European digital rights and principles.
At this EIF event, we will take stock of the progress made in the past year and examine concrete outcomes of the initiatives proposed by the European Commission to foster skills development in Europe, with particular focus on digital skills. The discussion will also cover the role of skills in democratizing access to opportunities in the labour market as well as the need to ensure equitable access to up-skilling, re-skilling, and digital competences. The debate will also explore the need for a better understanding of the state and availability of skills across the EU and the role of digital technologies in facilitating a more informed, data-driven skilling effort.
Victor Negrescu MEP, Vice-Chair of the Culture and Education Committee and EIF Steering Committee Member
Manuela Geleng, Director for Jobs and Skills, DG EMPL, European Commission
Tatjana Babrauskiene, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee; Head of International Relations, Lithuanian Education and Science Trade Union
Jens-Henrik Jeppesen, Director Public Policy EMEA, Workday
Susan Teltscher, Head of Capacity and Digital Skills Development, ITU
Maria Rosa Gibellini, Director General, European Internet Forum
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