EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Sir,

Regarding ‘Jobless migrant women want more e-skills‘:

Your article highlights the significant challenges faced by job-seekers in an increasingly digitised economy, or the “i-conomy” as described by the new EU commissioner for research, innovation and science; Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.

Many migrants who come to work in Europe find themselves in menial jobs that do not match their training. But what is also made clear in the respective report is that many jobs that did not traditionally incorporate any ICT, such as social care, now involve tasks that require e-skills.

This is part of a growing trend – a recent report from the IDC [International Data Corporation] estimated that within five years’, 90% of all jobs in Europe will require e-skills on some level.

Therefore, although the European Commission hypes up the importance of research and innovation in ICT, there is an enormous need for e-skills training at the very basic level for groups such as these migrant workers.

Older generations are finding that their jobs have changed around them, demonstrating the sincere need for re-training and re-skilling. As your article rightly points out, this is part of a wider ‘skills mismatch’ problem between our labour supply and demand.

The European e-Skills Association (EeSA), a not-for profit organisation representing the community of ICT stakeholders, embodies the recognition that e-skills will be the differentiating factor for how Europe transforms itself, how it creates new ideas, products and services and how much it prospers in a global digital economy.

One of our key recommendations asks for greater cooperation between educational and training institutes, the ICT industry, and IT professionals in the private and public sectors. We need policymakers to understand the urgency of improved e-skills and allow them to learn from initiatives such as the NGO migrant training schemes described in the article. These training opportunities need to be implemented on a much wider scale, supported by governments, so as to provide people with the skills they need to participate in our evolving ‘i-conomy’.

In the new Europe 2020 strategy, the agenda for jobs and skills recognises the need to implement lifelong learning principles and flexible learning pathways. EeSA is pushing for e-skills to be highly prioritised in the European Skills, Competences and Occupations framework that will guide learning and labour market development in the implementation of this strategy.

Jan Muehlfeit, EeSA Co-Chair and Chairman of Microsoft Europe
Dr. Michael Gorriz, EeSA Co-Chair, President of EuroCio and CEO of Daimler AG

On behalf of EeSA Members
EeSA members include: Council of European Professional Informatics Societies/CEPIS; Cisco Systems; Computing Technology Industry Association/ CompTIA; European Grants and Subsidies Consulting/Econet; European Information Technology Observatory/EITO; ECDL Foundation; European Schoolnet; European Software Association; European Network of CIOs/euroCIO; Examination Institute for Information Science/EXIN; Hewlett Packard/HP; Intel; Oracle and Microsoft (see: www.eskillsassociation.eu).

The European e-Skills Association was founded in June 2007 as e-Skills Industry Leadership Board. It cooperates with public authorities across Europe, small and medium sized companies, social partners and other stakeholders, building upon the European Commission initiatives on e-Skills and lifelong learning. With its expanded membership, the EeSA is set to lead the contribution of ICT-embedded industries to the development and implementation of a long term e-skills and digital literacy agenda in Europe.

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