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EC unveils ‘grand coalition’ to address IT skills shortage

Kayleigh Bateman

The European Commission (EC) has unveiled a “grand coalition for digital jobs” designed to tackle the region’s IT skills shortages.

Announced by digital agenda commissioner, Neelie Kroes, at CeBit she said the EU’s competitiveness is “under threat.”

Figures from the commission reveal there will be 900,000 vacancies in IT by 2015. There are currently 26 million unemployed people in Europe. According to the figures, the number of ‘digital jobs’ in the IT industry are growing by an estimated 100,000 every year, but the number of skilled IT graduates coming through is failing to keep up.

Addressing delegates at the German-based technology conference, she called for greater awareness of the career opportunities available in the IT industry.

Kroes was joined by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, who said one million Euros (£860,000) will be invested. Over 15 companies have already signed up.

Barroso said: "The grand coalition is an essential part of getting Europe's economy back on track and finding jobs for some of Europe's 26 million unemployed. I applaud those companies who have signed up today.

The grand coalition pledges:

  • Training and matching for digital jobs – to help ensure the skills people are getting are the skills business needs;
  • Mobility – helping those with skills get to the place where they're needed, to avoid shortages and surpluses in different towns and cities;
  • Certification – making it easier to prove to an employer what skills one has, regardless of the country;
  • Awareness raising – so that people know the digital sector offers rewarding and enjoyable careers to both women and men;
  • Innovative learning and teaching – so our education and training systems expand and improve to give more people the skills for success.

"If, together, we can turn the tide and fill the growing number of ICT vacancies, we will see a much wider impact across the whole economy. We want to empower Europeans to fill the jobs that will drive the next ICT revolution."

The commission has also launched, Start-up Europe, a programme offering tools for people wanting to set up their own web start-ups in Europe.

Last November, the commission unveiled its Rethinking Education initiative, calling for more investment in vocational education and training systems. This was particularly aimed at ICT. The strategy is designed to offer insights into how investments in education can be targeted in times of austerity.


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