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Member States’ Inaction on Digital Skills Undermines EU Employability

24 October 2012


A recent report[1] from ECDL Foundation highlights how digital skills must remain high on national agendas to aid the much-needed increase of European employability and growth.

According to this report, many political leaders are still insufficiently aware of the considerable economic opportunities that will not be realised if they fail to immediately invest in digital skills. The real cost to national economies of not having a sufficiently digitally-skilled workforce has been estimated at up to €19 billion in some countries[2]. As Member States’ governments prepare for the next cycle of European Social funding, digital skills should be one of the top priorities of their political agendas.

The report also addresses the ‘digital native’ trap, i.e., the widespread assumption that today’s youth are appropriately skilled to engage in the workforce simply because they use specific technology on a daily basis. This is not the case, and is a dangerous myth that could lead to a new layer of labour market exclusion.

One practical measure that can be taken to promote digital skills as a political imperative at national level is the appointment of ‘Digital Champions’. These are high-profile individuals, often with considerable influence, who act as catalysts to promote the importance of digital skills across all government levels and civil society.

This report builds on the output of the European Round Table, organised by ECDL Foundation in the European Parliament under the patronage of European Commission Vice-President Kroes in December 2011, and it incorporates the subsequent work and feedback, gathered from Member State and EU-level participants, in the months following that event. This report is part of a continuing campaign by ECDL Foundation to work with stakeholders in the delivery of the Digital Agenda for Europe.

In 2013, the 2nd European Round Table will be held in conjunction with Member States and a variety of policymakers.

The report can be found at http://www.ecdl.org/daeroundtable

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