Digital Skills – Improving their provision
We recognise the skills gap the Commission describes, which impacts workers in different sectors despite the variety of their working conditions and roles. Eurocadres welcomes the initiative to build a strategic approach for digital skills as a timely effort to address the ongoing challenges.
Our key recommendations for the initiative are the following:
Emphasis on lifelong learning
Eurocadres has promoted an approach that focuses on lifelong learning, as meeting the goals requires that the demand for education and training needs to be reinforced through, new funding systems, quality training as well as access to training. Development of new types of models for combining formal education with on-the job learning, can be particularly effective when executed in the context of digital skilling.
Integrating a strong in-work training regime
While the initiative brings welcome additions that focus on the educational institutions, the emphasis on training and learning through employment are in the core of the digital skills. The basic pedagogical knowledge is often provided through the education system and early exposure to digital systems, adaptation of the necessary technological and content knowledge is often learned when already in work life. A strong approach that further integrates the in work training and continuous learning should be emphasized.
Fair and easily accessible training and education
Access to training during working hours is of utmost importance. This right to training must be guaranteed to the employee and not left to the employer's sole initiative. It should be mandatory practice that must also be extended to all members of the working community, whatever their status and whatever the size of the company, to ensure inclusion of the training regimes and to guarantee quality and respect the rules in carrying out the activity.
Employers must be flexible and willing to reorganise work so that employees can attend training. Tools and services may prove useless if we do not create the conditions and opportunities to access them. This is the case especially with SMEs, which have usually limited capacity and resources to take up new training activities. It is important to remember that the right to training should not be an individual responsibility, time and financial support needs to be organised for those participating in training. A tailored approach, that takes into account the specific needs of the employees regarding their background and employment status (including different employment types, sizes of companies, socio-economic status and intersectional challenges), is a must for successful training regimes.
Inclusion of the Social Partners in training planning
The ongoing changes on digital work-life and their impacts on skills also call for active engagement from the Social Partners. As the demand for skills needs to be based on an equal treatment, which further calls for inclusion of Social Partners when planning both education and in-work training actions. In addition, we welcome the past efforts from the Commission side to investigate individual learning accounts and other already existing financial instruments that aim to increase adult learning.