Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs: PIN-SME promotes eCF as EU standard for eSkills

PIN-SME officially supports the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs in order to promote the adoption and uptake of a European standard for ICT skills. Read more about PIN-SME’s involvement in the Grand Coalition and support to e-Competence Framework.

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The Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs 

The European Commission is leading a multi-stakeholder partnership to tackle the lack of digital skills in Europe and the several hundred of thousands of unfilled ICT-related vacancies.

At a period of massive unemployment, technology companies face a critical shortfall of talented ICT experts. This is a dangerous mismatch between the skills on offer and those in demand in today’s fast developing technology market. The Commission estimates a shortage of up to 900,000 ICT professionals by 2020, putting at risk Europe’s potential for growth and digital competitiveness.

This is why in March 2013 the Commission launched the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs: a multi-stakeholder partnership that endeavours to facilitate collaboration among business and education providers, public and private actors to take action attracting young people into ICT education, and to retrain unemployed people. The goal is to start to increase the supply of ICT practitioners by 2015, so as to ensure a sufficient number of them in Europe in the near future.

The Commission encourages stakeholders to join the Grand Coalition either by making pledges for concrete actions or by forming or joining National Coalitions for Digital Jobs.

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The role of PIN-SME in the Coalition

The Commission mandated a small number of organisations representing different stakeholders to form a secretariat for the Grand Coalition. This secretariat is active since the beginning of 2014 and PIN-SME is a founding member.

The role of PIN-SME within the secretariat of the Grand Coalition is to bring the voice of ICT SMEs in the coalition and stimulate the involvement of its members.

Furthermore PIN-SME is an active stakeholder that contributes to the development of e-skills standards at CEN, the European standards organisation.

Our Pledge: a standard for e-skills in Europe

Back in 2013, PIN-SME, together with other stakeholders, announced its pledge to enforce the existence of a European standard for e-skills. PIN-SME pledged to support the adoption and take up of the e-Competence Framework as European standard for e-skills.

While ICT is a driving force for Europe’s economic and societal changes, companies and especially SMEs strive to recruit skilled people that can power their growth. The differences among the formal education systems in the various countries and among the private trainings and certifications schemes, which compete in the market, create a highly fragmented panorama of ICT competences. Such fragmentation harms the mobility of ICT practitioners in Europe curb SMEs’ chances to hire skilled labour.

The members of PIN-SME recognize the need to tackle the e–skills shortage and support the harmonization of ICT competences in Europe under the e-Competence Framework as a European standard.

The progress towards the pledge

For the last 6 years PIN-SME and its experts have actively contributed to the work of the CEN Workshop on ICT Skills, that among other technical specifications, published the first version of the e-Competence Framework.

A important development in the standardisation process occurred in 2013, when upon an initiative of a CNA, the Italian member of PIN-SME, CEN created a formal technical body in charge of publishing the e-Competence Framework as European standard for e-Skills, the CEN PC 428 Professions for (ICT).   Since then, most European countries created their national standardisation committees on e-skills comprising of all interested stakeholders. Moreover, the chairmanship of the CEN PC 428 was given to Mr Fabio Massimo, Vice President of PIN-SME.

At present, the eCF has been published in Italian as an official national standard. A translation in Dutch also exists although not yet as a normative document.