ICT central in Commissioner Andor’s plan to tackle unemployment in the EU Posted by Lize De Clercq

As a result of the economic crisis, 24.5 million people (10% of the workforce) are unemployed in the EU today. In response, Commissioner Andor has launched a package of recommendations to boost the demand for workers and help people find jobs.

E-skills and ICT are central in the plan, and European telecentres can become key partners to help the EU get 75% of people aged 20-64 in work by 2020 – one of the main goals of the Europe 2020 growth strategy.

Next to the green economy and the health & social care sector, the digital economy is one of the key industries where jobs are being generated: one in five workers now require advanced ICT skills and 90% of workers require basic ICT skills. The prediction is that jobs held by highly-qualified people with ICT skills will rise by 16 million by 2020, while low-skilled will fall by 12 million.

If nothing is done to direct more young people into computing degrees, retrain mid-career unemployed people, and attract more women into the ICT sector, by 2015 there will be up to 700.000 vacancies, mostly requiring graduate degrees.

So no wonder Information and Communication Technology has a central positive role in the new EU employment package that announces actions of matching jobs and jobseekers, investing in skills training, anticipating future job requirements, developing programmes to encourage lifelong learning and providing young people with training to advance their careers.

The Commission will:

1. Set up multi-stakeholder partnerships  in order to

  • improve the identification of labour-market mismatches between demand and supply of ICT-related job profile
  • mobilise organisations and networks offering design, provision and certification of ICTskills training initiatives, with special focus on employability and certification of informal competences;
  • support awareness raising campaigns (European e-Skills Week, Get Online week), and promote ICT careers in order to attract and involve young people and underrepresented profiles such as women, mid-career workers and vulnerable groups;

2. Strengthen the European e-skills framework

  • by creating by 2013 a specialised section focusing on ICT careers on the European Skills Panorama website;
  • by further elaborating in 2012 the European e-Competences framework developed by CEN to provide by 2013 descriptors of digital competences and a self-assessment tool for all learners which will be integrated in the forthcoming European Skills Passport;
  • by developing in 2013 European guidelines for e-learning based on business needs and best practices including industry-led initiatives;
  • by promoting short-cycle qualifications, both in higher education or vocational education and training, to provide focused and applied e-skills;

3. Support an increase in highly qualified ICT labour force

  • by developing during 2012 quality labels for ICT industry-based training and certifications compatible with the European quality assurance reference framework for vocational education and training (EQAVET); and developing in 2013 a pilot providing an interactive landscape of the ICT industry certifications and an online self-assessment test for ICT practitioners;
  • by promoting synergies between actions in the fields of ICT skills, entrepreneurship and cloud computing in the context of the forthcoming EU action plan on cloud computing;
  • further develop the EU initiative on e-leadership launched in 2012 to address the needs of entrepreneurs, managers, ICT practitioners and advanced users, with a focus on start-ups and SMEs;

4. Promote greater use of EU financial instruments for investments in ICT skills

  • by encouraging Member States to strengthen digital training within their education and training systems and boost e-inclusion through ESF-supported operational programmes in 2014-2020

Read more:

» Neelie Kroes: Exploiting the employment potential of ICTs
» EU employment package: Towards a job-rich recovery
» Presentation of Commissioner Andor on “Employment Package: Towards …

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