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Commissioner Gabriel launches the first Digital Opportunity Traineeships and hands out the Digital Skills Awards 2017

At the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition conference, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, unveiled the first Digital Opportunity traineeships available for students and announced the winners of the European Digital Skills Awards 2017. She also spoke about the achievements of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition in its first year: over 300 members with nearly 90 organisations taking concrete action by involving millions of Europeans.

list of Digital Skills Awards winner

European Commission

Digital Skills Awards winner

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society said: "I want to encourage talented young minds to get the digital jobs of the future. Today I am launching the Digital Opportunity pilot to offer students traineeships in digital in another EU country."

First Digital Opportunity Traineeships announced today

Today the first Digital Opportunity traineeships were announced on the Drop'pin@EURES for students to browse and apply for. The traineeships are offered in a wide range of fields such as cybersecurity audits and development, web and app development, design, implementation and operation of public networks through WiFi, technical design and planning of systems and multimedia product projects, and development of e-learning platforms.

The Digital Opportunity Traineeship pilot project will provide cross-border traineeships for up to 6,000 students and recent graduates from 2018 to 2020. The trainees will improve their ICT specific skills and be ready to take up jobs in the tech sector and in ICT research. The first traineeships will start in spring 2018. Interns will receive an allowance of around 500 EUR per month, for an average of five months. The pilot project will be financed by Horizon 2020 and implemented through Erasmus+. Members of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition have been mobilised to offer the internships.

European Digital Skills Awards 2017

Altogether 243 projects from countries all over EU applied for the Digital Skills Awards 2017. One project will be awarded in the following five categories: 

  • Digital Skills for All,
  • Digital Skills for the Labour Force
  • Digital Skills for ICT professionals
  • Digital Skills in Education
  • Digital Skills for Women and Girls

Finalists were selected on the basis of the impact made by the project, the synergies between the different stakeholders involved, the scalability and replicability of the initiative as well as the effectiveness of the project.

An independent jury composed of members of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition Governing Board –  Alessandro Bogliolo, Professor University of Urbino, Coordinator of EU Code Week; Piotr Pluta, Director Corporate Affairs of Cisco; Ilona Kish, Director of Public Libraries 2020 Europe; Cheryl Miller, Founder and Executive Director of the Digital Leadership Institute; Bernd Welz, Executive Vice President and Chief Knowledge Officer of SAP SE – selected the winners.

The award ceremony took place at the launch conference of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition in Brussels, which aims to boost digital skills for life and jobs amongst Europeans.

The winners are:

1. Digital skills for all

Digitaal.Talent@Gent – Unlocking the Digital Potential of all Citizens in Belgium

Digitaal.Talent@Gent is the e-inclusion programme of the City of Ghent, the Public Centre for Social Welfare Ghent and Digipolis Ghent, which aims to give all citizens the opportunity to develop digital skills. Digitaal.Talent@Gent reaches over 20,000 citizens a year in actions such as: the Digital lending service, where organisations and schools can borrow free hardware; a coding summer camp for underprivileged children and teens; a programme for people with intellectual disabilities who learn how to work with computers, ICT and deal with social media; an initiative where vulnerable families are introduced to educational games; a public library with digi-cafés for digital starters, digi-tastings where participants gain insight into digital themes such as social media, the cloud and the internet.

2. Digital skills for the labour force

Fit4coding - training jobseekers into web developers in Luxembourg

Fit4coding is a coding school run by a public-private partnership between NumericALL and the Ministry of Labour and Employment of Luxembourg.  The programme aims to improve the digital skills of the country's workforce, while providing opportunities for young adults who have not gone through formal superior education. The duration of the programme is two years and aims to train 90 people by the end of 2017, in six cycles. The result of the first four cycles show that 80% of the students have found a job in development related positions in less than six months after the training.

3. Digital skills for ICT professionals

Developer Scholarships Challenge in the EU

The Developer Scholarships Challenge Developer Scholarships Challenge is an initiative by Google, Bertelsmann and Udacity, to help close the ICT specialist skills gap in Europe and offer opportunities to everyone to change career or get access to the skills needed to be part of the new digital economy. During the course, each student is paired with a mentor to guide and support them through the coursework and app challenges. Additionally, students receive feedback on their projects from reviewers who help shape the quality of their project submissions with detailed and insightful reviews. Out of 11,250 students enrolled in the Beginners Course, 6,405 completed it, that is a 57% graduation rate. 12% of the Beginners said that they found a job / started app-based business / started freelancing, with 71% attribution to Udacity training and 86% of the freelancers attributing the impact to the training. One of the goals of this scholarship programme is to help promote diversity in the field of technology.

4. Digital skills in education – Opening Opportunities in Romania

Opening Opportunities is a mentor-lead programme, in which IT professionals mentor teams of high school students who discover computer science, product development and team work in poor regions in Romania. The project is carried out in several stages. First Microsoft employees are recruited as mentors and trained in product management, design, the ABC of start-ups, free learning resources, so they have the necessary skills to engage with their students. Then the project team together with the enrolled mentors, travel to cities across Romania (especially poorer regions). Presentation events are held at public libraries and then the team meets the high school students to understand their reality and inspire them to befriend technology and sign up for the 5 months mentoring programme. At the end of the mentoring period, seven teams are selected by a jury and the finalists pitch their computer science projects in Bucharest. The project is run by Asociatia Techsoup with the support of Microsoft YouthSpark and in partnership with Microsoft Romania and the National Association of Librarians and Public Libraries.

5. Digital skills for women and girls

IT for SHE in Poland     

IT for SHE is a programme which aims to increase the participation of women in the high tech industry, by helping talented female students from IT faculties to enter the labour market. There are three main actions of the programme. The first is the Women in Tech Camp where the 130 best IT female students in Poland take part in a hackathon, workshops and mentoring. The second action is the Kids in IT, where 50 volunteer female students from IT departments teach  1,000 kids in rural areas basic coding,  how to use 3D printers, Arduino programming and robot building. The third element is the Mentoring Program for female IT students, which is run by representatives of technology companies in Poland. The selected women get to work with mentors for six months on their professional and personal development.

Millions of trainings provided by pledgers of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition

After one year, the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition has over 300 members with nearly 90 organisations taking concrete commitments (pledges) tackling the digital skills gap. The pledging organisations have provided online and face-to-face training, digital skills certifications, awareness raising, job placements and internships to millions of Europeans.

Organisations have committed to providing digital skills actions :

  • in education (33%),
  • for the labour force (31%),
  • for all (21%)
  • for ICT professionals (18%)

The main target audience of the pledges are primary and secondary students as well as all citizens.

63% of the pledges were submitted by companies and organisations from the ICT sector.  27% were submitted by the education and training sector. The rest of the commitments were made by the public sector, the financial and banking sector, the agriculture sector and the social care sector.

41 of the pledges were "pan-European" with actions rolled out in all 28 EU Member States. The most pledges were found in Italy (17), Spain (11), UK (7), Greece (6) and Belgium, Ireland and France (5).