Learning and skills are key contributors to society and the economy. As modern societies and economies are changing due to, amongst others, globalisation and technological progress, a fundamental transformation of education and training (E&T) throughout Europe is required to deliver the knowledge and skills needed for growth, employment and participation in society. This forms an important part of the Europe 2020 agenda and its various flagships and policy initiatives.

The New Skills Agenda presented by the European Commission in 2016 (COMM 2016 – 381) is centred around three key work strands:

1. Improving the quality and relevance of skills formation
2. Making skills and qualifications more visible and comparable
3. Improving skills intelligence and information for better career choices

The Commission has made it clear, that EU-level actions alone will not suffice. Success depends on the commitment and expertise of many players: national governments, regions, local authorities, businesses and employers, workers and civil society, and people themselves, taking up opportunities to make the best of their talents. In particular, social partners will have a key role to play in ensuring the Agenda is successfully developed and implemented, and keeps pace with the fast-changing needs of our labour market and society.

The Commission proposes 10 actions to be taken forward over the next two years. A number are announced with the adoption of the new Skills Agenda for Europe on 10 June 2016:

  • A Skills Guarantee – renamed ‘Upskilling Pathways: New Opportunites for Adults’ – aims to help adults acquire a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and digital skills and/or acquire a broader set of skills by progressing towards an upper secondary qualification or equivalent.
  • A review of the European Qualifications Framework and the related annexes for a better understanding of qualifications and to make better use of all available skills in the European labour market.
  • The ‘Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition’ to support co-operation among education, employment and industry stakeholders.
  • The ‘Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills’ to improve skills intelligence and address skills shortages in specific economic sectors.

Subsequent actions include:

  • A revision of the Europass Framework, offering people better and easier-to-use tools to present their skills and get useful real-time information on skills needs and trends which can help with career and learning choices. A proposal to revise the Europass Decision was adopted by the Commission in October 2016.
  • A ‘Skills Profile Tool Kit for Third Country Nationals’ to support early identification and profiling of skills and qualifications of asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants.
  • Making Vocational Education and Training (VET) a first choice by enhancing opportunities for VET learners to undertake a work based learning experience and promoting greater visibility of good labour market outcomes of VET.
  • A review of the Recommendation on Key Competences to help more people acquire the core set of skills necessary to work and live in the 21st century with a special focus on promoting entrepreneurial and innovation-oriented mind-sets and skills.

The DIGA Learning Programme

Developed in the framework of the diga – Digital innovation for Growth Academy ERASMUS+ co-financed project provides an opportunity for Enterprise Trainers and Educators across Europe to enhance your digital knowledge and understanding and to consider how you can integrate digital skills, tools and processes into their business start-up and development training and support activities.

Based on extensive research carried out by partners from the UK, Bulgaria, Ireland, Lithuania, Norway, Slovenia, Spain who analysed the needs and experiences of learners considering entrepreneurship as a career option, entrepreneurs running their own small businesses and their teachers and advisers, a 5-module learning programme has been designed.

The diga Learning programme was launched 16 October 2016 in Brussels and includes the following five (5) modules:

  • Enhancing Digital Awareness and Knowledge
  • The Role and Use of Digital Technologies and their Benefits to Business
  • Making Digital Deliver for the Start-up and Small Business
  • Enabling and Supporting the Development of an Entrepreneurial Digital Strategy
  • Designing Integrated (Digital Competence) Entrepreneur Support / Programmes

Each module involves sharing information and knowledge as well as small group and individual activities. Reports, case studies and a range of learning tools are included throughout the programme

Piloting of the learning programme is carried out in diga partner countries in July 2017 and will be presented in a special edition newsletter 1st week of August.