European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the European Year of Skills during her third State of the Union Address before Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
In her speech, President von der Leyen highlighted labour shortages across Member States (with the Digital Economy and Society showing that currently, 4 out of 10 adults and every third person who works in Europe lack basic digital skills), and noted the need for investment in reskilling and upskilling to ‘enable a workforce with the right skills’ and boost Europe’s competitiveness.
As part of the 2023 European Year of Skills, the Commission will encourage a much stronger focus on opportunities and initiatives related to upskilling, and digital skills for all. These efforts will aim to contribute towards achieving the Digital Decade targets – 80% of Europeans with basic digital skills and 20 million information and communications technology (ICT) specialists by 2030.
President von der Leyen noted that effective investment in further and higher education will require ‘careful knowledge of what staff are needed and how we can fill those vacancies’. The new call under the DIGITAL Europe programme to fund bachelor's and master's degrees in key technology areas specifically addresses this need.
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