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Poland has become the first country to launch a national digital jobs coalition under a European umbrella. The purpose of the coalition is to work with public authorities, education providers, employment services (public and private), and IT companies, among others, to tackle growing unemployment.
“Sharing and joining is what we need in Europe,” said Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, and commissioner for the Digital Agenda for Europe. “First, we can ensure people know that ICT careers are an attractive career option. Second, they need basic ICT training embedded in their education. Third, they need somewhere to train. Fourth, once they are finished with their training they need employers to recognise and reward their skills. Finally, they need to be where the ICT jobs are.”
Telecentre-Europe (TE), an association representing more than 20,000 ICT learning centres, estimates that the number of unoccupied vacancies in the digital sector will reach 864,000 by 2015. TE predicts that an overall lack of specific digital skills in the workforce, a drop in the number of ICT graduates, and the retirement of ICT workers will be the main catalysts of this decline.
Ms Kroes added, “For any politician today, the main priority has to be dealing with high unemployment. Far too many people are out of work; including 5 million young people. In that context, boosting digital skills is essential. It helps people find jobs available, and remember that, in our digital age, almost one million ICT jobs risk going unfilled.”