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First European e-Skills Week

Eurescom supports initiative for promoting e-skills

                                                                           

Milon_Gupta

Milon Gupta
Eurescom
gupta@eurescom.eu

Europe is facing a serious challenge: according to a recent e-skills Monitor study, between 2% and 13% of job positions in the ICT sector will remain vacant in the year 2015, depending on the respective scenario. Event today, a considerable proportion of ICT positions cannot be filled. The reason is the lack of job candidates with sufficient e-skills. The EU has launched an initiative, the European e-Skills Week, to raise awareness for the e-skills gap and tackle it. 

Launch event at CeBIT 

The e-Skills Week was officially launched with a conference at CeBIT in Hannover on 2 March 2010. The strong participation of the ICT industry, including high-level panel participants from Deutsche Telekom, SAP, Microsoft, and other major players, indicated that the ICT industry takes the issue of e-skills very seriously. 


Discussing the e-skills gap at the launch event in Hanover (from left): moderator Mark Spelman, Managing Director Strategy at Accenture; Douglas Brown, Vice Chair of European Schoolnet; Herbert Heitmann, Chief Communications Officer at SAP; Stefano Venturi, Vice President Public Sector Europe at Cisco; Matthias Schuster, Member of the Board at T-Systems Deutsche Telekom AG.
 

The purpose of the e-Skills Week from 1 to 5 March 2010 was to highlight the growing demand for skilled ICT users and professionals to drive a competitive and innovative Europe. The campaign is particularly aimed at students, young professionals and SMEs about the vast range of opportunities that ICT-related jobs present. The initiative by the European Commission’s DG Enterprise and Industry has been coordinated by DIGITALEUROPE and European Schoolnet and is supported by a number of national and international stakeholders, including Eurescom. 

Critical importance for ICT research 

Being a stakeholder on European level, Eurescom has actively supported the e-Skills Week, as the issue is also of critical importance for research in the information and communication technologies sector. David Kennedy, director of Eurescom, sees the risk that human resources in European ICT research may not be sufficient in the mid-term to keep the EU at the leading edge of innovation, if industry and public institutions do not address the issue now. 

“The main issue in European ICT research in the near future is to have enough highly qualified researchers and project managers to drive innovation in areas like the Future Internet,” said Kennedy. In order to address the issue, he suggests an interdisciplinary discussion between industry, academia, and public institutions on the type of e-skills needed in future research activities and how to create an e-skills-friendly environment, which motivates young people to build the skills that are needed for outstanding research. 

“The European e-Competence Framework is a good basis for discussing the e-skills required. However, we need to get more specific. It is not enough to have researchers with a narrow, specialised expert knowledge, we need more versatile researchers, who combine technical expertise with interdisciplinary thinking and project management skills,” said Kennedy. 

Eurescom e-Skills Forum 

In order to kick off the discussion, Eurescom has launched a mailing-list through which stakeholders in the field of ICT research can exchange their views and discuss a roadmap towards building the e-skills needed to ensure that European ICT research stays at the top worldwide. Representatives of relevant stakeholders are invited to join the Eurescom e-Skills Forum and subscribe to the Eurescom e-skills mailing-list via the form at www.eurescom.eu/activities/e-skills.asp. Based on the discussion, Eurescom plans to write a White Paper on e-skills in ICT research, together with active stakeholders from the community. 

Further information:
European e-Skills Week website – http://eskills-week.ec.europa.eu

Eurescom e-Skills Forum – www.eurescom.eu/activities/e-skills.asp

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