Launch of the digital skills and job coalition

CEC European Managers has participated in the launch of the digital skills and job coalition initiated by the European Commission on 1. December 2016 in Brussels. The coalition brings national and European stakeholders together to pledge action and identify best practices for streamlining the coordination for digital skills education. Digital skills will be a fundamental educational asset among the technical skills required in a digitalised working environment. CEC European Managers therefore welcomes the concerted efforts on both national and European level needed to create the conditions in which the opportunities of the digital era are used to create new jobs, a more sustainable economy and a more inclusive society.

Concretely, CEC encourages expanding lifelong learning programmes, teacher to teacher trainings and educational benchmarking in particular. Furthermore, CEC calls for a study focusing on the future skills needed in management positions. Managers will be the first to conceive and implement organisational changes, such as investments in new skills. In that sense, managers are the pivotal point of action for a sustainable and inclusive digital transformation.

The need to enhance transversal skills

Besides the hard skills necessary to accompany the fourth industrial revolution, it is of utmost importance to foster transversal skills. They enable the creative and empathic engagement with existing and potential opportunities in the specific professional context. The digital revolution has profoundly reshaped the way we can access and process information. With the emergence of digital information networks, the traditional way of linear teaching, learning and reproducing information has been outdated. Different domains of knowledge and experiences have to be structured in new ways which is why a broad soft skill agenda is particularly relevant, especially with regards to managers.

Being able to creatively and critically engage with information and thinking in multiple dimensions will, together with non-cognitive soft skills, be the ground for new socio-economic models and professions. The non-cognitive skills will shape the way technologies are perceived and conceived in their social context. For example, photo-visual literacy is necessary to intuitively handle large amounts of information, while socio-emotional abilities permit to develop healthier and more collaborative working environments through empathy for instance.

A differentiated approach to digital skills

The advent of digital skills is subject to several disparities, including demographic, geographic and institutional factors. Therefore, the discussion on upskilling should be differentiated with regards to the target groups. The needs of the sectors, companies and professionals in their respective position will have to be studied more profoundly for making the educational programmes effective. The European skills guarantee is seen as a welcomed initiative aiming at providing the most necessary skills to European citizens. However, the skills strategy needs to tackle all levels from unskilled to professional use for the skills to expand in society through people in management positions in particular.

CEC is also in favour of renewing e-learning initiatives. Educational computer programmes have been shown to be very efficient when it comes to learning results. Their cost-efficiency and easy employability makes them a potential complementary European educational tool that could be exploited more deeply.