22/09/21 Commission Presentations on Digital Skills and Digital Volunteers Pilot Programme


The European Commission delivered two internal presentations on Digital Skills and on the Digital Volunteers Pilot Programme at the meeting of the Working Party on Competitiveness and Growth (Industry).  

Below the description of the two presentations:

Digital Skills:

  • The Commission underlined the Pact for Skills launched in November 2020 is designed to support a fair and resilient recovery ad deliver on the ambitions of the green and digital transitions and of the EU Industrial and SME Strategies. In this sense, the Commission has invited both public and private organisations to join forces and take concrete actions to upskill and reskill people in Europe

  • The Commission recalled the Digital Skills Roundtable of 19 July 2021. In particular, it noted that for what the digital skills for the digital ecosystem are concerned, the actions need to be in alignment with the Digital Compass KPIs, in a strategic European perspective. As for the other ecosystems, the Commission recalled that digital skills are important for all ecosystems, and this requires first of all an understanding of these ecosystems, including a focus on use cases and good practices, followed by a matching of supply and demand of these skills. 

  • Finally, the Commission focused on the importance of Digital Skills for Industry and SMEs. In particular, it noted that:
    - To accelerate the twin digital and green transitions, the Commission proposed transition pathways in all ecosystems, of which digital skills a vital parts.
    - The key to successful digitalisation is matching supply of and demand for skills in all ecosystems.
    - To help SMEs grow and compete, the SME Strategy designed actions on digital education and better access to digital finance, requiring appropriate skills.
    - Digital skills matter for all enterprises regardless of size, sector or technological expertise (notably as regards data use/storage/transfer and cybersecurity).

 Digital Volunteers Pilot Programme (see here)

  • The Digital Volunteers Pilot Programme is grounded in the EU SME Strategy, and it aims at creating a network of European companies ready to support on a pro-bono basis and through their in-house experts the digitalization of SMEs, in order to promote a global enhanced digital business environment beneficial to everyone.

  • The Programme will have a two-phase implementation:
    - April 2021 – November 2021: This is the pilot phase, where only few companies are selected to participate.
    - November 2021 – onward: The programme will enter its main phase, where any SME will be able to benefit from this opportunity. The volunteers will propose their availability in the Digital Skills and Jobs platform, where there will be a dedicated matchmaking tool.

  • The results from the pilot phase are encouraging, confirming that companies are willing to participate in such programmes. However, some issues remain to be addressed, such as the process to identify the receiving SMEs, how to safeguard the SMEs’ interests, how to house the initiative on the Digital Skills and Jobs platform, the establishment of intermediary structures acting as support.

  • Next steps:
    - By November 2021, the mentoring schemes should be completed.
    - Volunteering companies will report back to the Commission on their experience, providing possible ways of improvement
    - The Commission will draft a comprehensive report to be presented in early 2022.
    - Following the feedbacks received, a more structured version of the programme will be set up.