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EU taking action to tackle shortage of IT professionals

The European Union proposed actions on Friday to tackle a severe shortage of professionals in Information Technology, aiming to maintain its economic competitiveness in the digital era.

EU taking action to tackle shortage of IT professionals

The European Union proposed actions on Friday to tackle a severe shortage of professionals in Information Technology, aiming to maintain its economic competitiveness in the digital era.

"The availability of e-skills is a key condition for successful innovation and for the competitiveness of European enterprises. We cannot afford to delay and will only succeed if all partners join forces," said the European Commission Vice President Gunter Verheugen, responsible for Enterprise and Industry Policy.

The EU's executive arm said although e-skills are becoming central to boost innovation, productivity and employability and to respond to global challenges, recent reports and surveys indicate that Europe may face severe e-skills shortages and mismatches in the coming years.

Under the plan, actions will be taken at EU level to raise awareness among parents, teachers and pupils about opportunities and future careers arising from education in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and to promote the development of courses and mechanisms facilitating the exchange of e-skills training resources.

"Knowledge, skills and competence are the main capital of European citizens and e-skills are a key competence in the context of lifelong learning. But only 10 percent of the European population participate in lifelong learning," said Jan Figel, EU Commissioner for Education and Culture.

The plan also called for efforts to foster employability and social inclusion by launching an initiative on e-inclusion in 2008 with a view to halving the digital divide by 2010.

The digital divide refers to the gap between those with regular, effective access to digital and information technology, and those without this access. In Europe, digital illiteracy still stands at nearly 40 percent.

"Shortfalls of qualified ICT practitioners slow down new ICT applications in the economy and draw away billions of euros of investment funds to dynamic emerging economies, where hundreds of thousands of new engineers are qualifying each year," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media.

In addition to the EU actions, the commission urged member states and industries to double their efforts in this regard.

Most actions contributing to the implementation of a long-term e-skills agenda are within the responsibility of member states, industry, academia, trade unions, etc., the commission said.

Agencies

Last Mod: 07 Eylül 2007, 18:27
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