2020 is witnessing an unprecedented digital transformation across all areas in society. But… are we all equipped with the necessary digital skills to make an efficient use of technology? According to Eurostat, in 2019, there were still 29% of individuals who have low overall digital skills in the EU.

Digital literacy is key in our daily lives. As citizens, we need to be able to search, manage and understand the information that we have access to through digital means (e.g. by determining if it is false or misleading information or harmful speech). 

On the other hand, each occupation requires a specific digital professional profile: a nurse and a software developer need different digital skills that respond to the requirements of their professions. It is, therefore, critical to enhance digital skills and competences of EU citizens for the digital age. This is one of the strategic priorities of the new Digital Education Action Plan recently adopted by the European Commission in the end of September.

To ensure a common understanding of digital competences across the EU, the Commission created a European Digital Competence Framework (hereafter referred to DigComp) back in 2013 and has been updated ever since. This Framework comprises five competence areas which, in total, entail 21 different digital competences. The most recent version of Framework also includes proficiency levels. 

The Digital Education Action Plan foresees a new update of DigComp to encompass, for instance, specialised digital skills, but also the ability of identifying disinformation. The new version of DigComp is expected to be validated and released by the end of 2021. 

In line with this initiative, the Digital Education Action Plan also proposes the development of a European Digital Skills Certificate as one of its actions. The overall goal of such initiative is to create a well-accepted and meaningful certification model that can be mutually recognised and easily understood by learners, jobseekers, workers and employers across the EU (similarly to what already happens with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, CEFR). This initiative will go through a participatory and bottom-up approach throughout the next year. 

Complementary to these initiatives, the European Commission is also developing an EU-wide digital competences assessment tool. This tool is primarily aimed at improving an individual’s awareness and knowledge about their skills and understanding the overall situation of digital competences. The tool should also contribute to the professional development of individuals. everis is supporting the Commission in the development of the concept of this tool which builds on the current version of DigComp and may leverage from the European Digital Skills Certificate.

As a reminder, in July, the European Commission also adopted the European Skills Agenda. Europass, one of its 12 flagship actions, has been recently modernised to adapt to the new digital era. The new Europass platform comprises a set of tools to support individuals in communicating their skills, qualifications and experiences. This is particularly important in times like those we are living today as individuals need tools to manage their career in a rapidly-changing digital world. everis played an important role in the development of the new Europass platform which is currently a success with more than half a million registered users.

Technology should be seen as an enabler to acquire other skills. Therefore, it is crucial that all women and men, girls and boys, from different backgrounds, have the same opportunities to become digitally skilled to thrive in the digital labour market.