07/09/18 Commissioner Mariya Gabriel's speech at the Bruegel Annual Meetings on September 4th

One key focus of our digital strategy is on digital skills.

Today, 90% of jobs require basic digital skills, but one third of the European labour force is lacking such skills. The 350,000 open vacancies for information and communication technology specialists in Europe show that the European digital transformation is slowed down by the lack of adequately skilled employees.

If we want to lead in the digital era, a skilled labour force is indispensable as will require facilitating lifelong learning, fostering the representation of female population, and integrating the teaching of digital skills in their schools' curricula.

In particular, the European Commission is supporting the development of digital skills by fostering public-private cooperation in the form of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition. A budget of €700 million for advanced digital skills is proposed for the period 2021-2027 as part of the Digital Europe programme.

Let me also mention two very concrete initiatives.

The Digital Opportunity Traineeship scheme aims at offering students and recent graduates the possibility to get a monthly €500 contribution to their salary as trainee, in areas such as big data or machine learning. The scheme started operating this spring and the first traineeships have recently begun. It will last until 2020 and benefit to 6000 trainees and the companies they will work for.

Second, we organise every year the EU Code Week, which is instrumental to draw attention to the need of understanding how coding works in order to better grasp the functioning of our digital societies themselves. Last year, about 1.2 million Europeans attended an EU Code Week event, and I have made it my objective that by 2020, 50% of schools in Europe participate in it, in particular those located in countries, where such trainings are not yet mandatory.
You can find the full speech here.