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National Coalitions

Austria joins forces to significantly boost digital skills across its society, education system, and workplaces with the Digital Skills Initiative (“Digitale Kompetenzoffensive” or short DKO). The initiative, which acts as the national coalition for digital skills and jobs, was established in 2022. It represents a comprehensive and strategic effort, engaging a wide range of stakeholders to address the digital skills gap that exists across different segments of the Austrian population.

 

The initiative consists of a collaborative effort led by four federal ministries, the Ministries for Finance, Labour and Economy, Education, Science and Research, and Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport, and represents an innovative approach to cross-governmental cooperation that ensures a unified and effective strategy. The effort is national as well, with all federal states signing the Digital Austria Pact, demonstrating a collective commitment to enhancing digital skills and literacy.

 

In a nationwide process involving more than 500 experts and stakeholders from 80 institutions, a strategy paper on digital skills was established. This strategy highlights eight priority measures that serve as the basis for further action by the initiative. These include the introduction of a national reference framework for digital skills and targeted low-threshold educational opportunities. Particular attention is also paid to the training of educators, leveraging and supporting best practices, showcasing the public sector as a role model, addressing the IT skills shortage, offerings in the field of AI literacy, and asserting Austria's leadership in digital competence at the international level.

 

Cooperation with the numerous stakeholders did not end after the strategy process, but was formalized with the Advisory Board, which is made up of experts from all relevant national institutions from the public sector, academia, educational institution, interest groups, social partners and many more. This board advises on the further evolution of the Digital Skills Initiative.

 

As a key action to address the basic digital needs of beginners, the initiative has introduced so called "Digital Überall“ (Digital Everywhere) workshops. These workshops - around 4,500 in 2024 alone - throughout Austria aim to bolster digital competencies through accessible and targeted educational sessions. Topics covered include essential skills such as navigating digital government services, cybersecurity awareness, and understanding artificial intelligence, ensuring participants are well-equipped to thrive in the digital world. The offer is intended to emphasize the importance of digital skills and should thus create incentives for citizens to continue their lifelong learning journey. These measures are considered crucial to achieving Austria's ambitious goal of raising the level of basic digital skills from 63% in 2021 to over 80%, in line with the broader European Digital Decade objective.

 

Another key action is the establishment of a national reference framework, aligned with DigComp 2.3, to set a standardized benchmark for digital competencies, facilitating consistency in education and training assessments. Austria's participation in the European Digital Skills Certificate pilot underscores its commitment to validating and recognizing digital skills at an international level.

 

Additional focus is placed on focus topics such as AI literacy, which aims to prepare the population for the challenges and opportunities of AI technologies. By promoting basic AI knowledge and awareness, these activities will help to increase confidence in the use of modern technologies. These are just some of the measures taken by the initiative as a whole, complemented by all the activities of the numerous partners, which are further boosted thanks to the collaboration.

 

The comprehensive approach, encompassing strategic collaboration across government levels, stakeholder engagement, and the development of inclusive, accessible educational programs, demonstrates Austria's commitment to preparing its population for a digital future. The DKO initiative not only aims to bridge the digital skills gap but also to enhance the digital literacy of the whole Austrian population, ensuring that everyone can benefit from the opportunities presented by the digital era.

 

Note: The national alliance previously known as the „Allianz für Digitale Skills und Berufe“ (ADSB) was fully integrated into the Digital Skills Initiative in 2023.

National coalition details

Target audience
Digital skills for the labour force.
Digital skills for ICT professionals and other digital experts.
Digital skills in education.
Digital skills for all
Geographic scope - Country
Austria
Target language
German
NC priorities

Austria's Digital Skills Initiative seeks to enhance digital literacy across various sectors by promoting collaboration among multiple stakeholders. The initiative outlines eight priority measures, including creating a national digital skills framework and offering accessible educational programs like the “Digital Überall” workshops. The efforts focus on equipping the population with essential digital competencies and addressing the IT skills shortage. With the goal of raising basic digital skills to over 80%, Austria is committed to preparing its citizens for the digital age.

NC partners

Spearheaded by a coalition of four federal ministries and supported by all federal states, the initiative draws on a diverse group of stakeholders through the institutionalized advisory board, which is composed of experts from all relevant national institutions from the public sector, academia, educational institutions, interest groups, social partners and many more.