With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people wanting to gain digital skills.
We live in a digital age, where the fast pace of technological development is transforming our economies and societies profoundly. Almost all jobs now require some level of digital skills, as does participation in society in general. In this context, digital literacy has become a life skill and the inability to access or use the internet seems unthinkable to many of us. However, about 44 % of adults in the EU have low digital skills and about 20 % have never used the internet, which can hamper their social integration and personal development.
While education remains a responsibility of the individual Member States, the EU supports actions aimed at improving digital skills. Since 2007, ’digital competence’ has been recognised as one of the eight essential skills to have in relation to lifelong learning.
The EU has been investing for more than 20 years, under the Structural Funds, in digital literacy projects for all, including for socially disadvantaged groups. It has funded programmes aimed at helping teachers and learners with digital technologies, and research projects aimed at developing user-friendly accessible technology. As part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe initiative, an EU digital competence framework has been developed to better test abilities. A digital skills job coalition has also been launched, where the EU has gone into partnership with stakeholders to work together to help improve digital skills.
- EPRS briefing, Digital skills in the EU labour market, 2017, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/IDAN/2017/595889/EPRS_IDA(2017)595889_EN.pdf
- EPRS briefing, Bridging the digital divide in the EU, 2015, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2015/573884/EPRS_BRI(2015)573884_EN.pdf
- European Commission, New Skills Agenda for Europe, http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1223#qualifications