This section presents an overview of national strategies, policies, and nationwide initiatives in digital skills area. They aim to promote and support digital skills development for ICT specialists, workforce, general citizens, and education systems for EU member states.
The section also presents the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) of the EU Member States with key measures in the area of digital skills. The plans cover the period from 2021 to 2026 and offer a roadmap towards a greener and more digital Europe.
Over a third of the member states have recently approved a general country digitalization (digital growth or digital transformation) strategy. In these strategic documents digital skills is one of the key pillars together with other priorities of country’s digital transformation goals. The typical examples here are: Digital Austria in 2050, Digital Bulgaria 2025, Digital Growth Strategy Denmark, Germany’s Digital strategy 2025, Dutch digitization strategy 2.0, Digital transformation Strategy for Slovakia 2030. Several countries will have updates and new Digital strategies in 2021, including Belgium, Latvia, Estonia, Spain, and some others, setting goals for next 5 to 10 years.
In some of the EU member states there are dedicated standalone National Digital skills strategies. In Portugal, in 2017, the Portuguese government established the National Digital Competences Initiative e.2030, Portugal INCoDe 2030, an integrated public policy to enhance and foster digital competences. In Malta, the National eSkills Strategy 2019-2021 sets very precise goals for digital skills development together with metric KPI’s. In Ireland, a very targeted Technology Skills 2022: Ireland’s Third ICT Skills Action Plan defines priorities for digital skills in education and from ICT specialists. In Italy, in July 2020, the National Strategy for Digital Skills was defined, within a comprehensive framework, with four lines of intervention for students, active workforce, ICT specialists and citizens.
In many EU member states digital skills development targets are integrated in general national education, industry digitalization or employment strategies and policies, such as Digital Workforce program Hungary, Lithuanian Digitisation Roadmap 2019- 2030, National Digitalisation Strategy for the School System in Sweden.
Finally, several countries have strategies and policies targeting some specific digital skills and ICT technology field areas. For example, in Finland, a couple of strategies and projects for AI are implemented at national level and, in Latvia, the Latvia's Cybersecurity Strategy 2019-2022 has specific goals to educate public and local administration staff on ICT safety, as well as provide cybersecurity skills for SME’s and citizens.
As EU member states constantly develop and approve new national strategies and plan to support and foster digital skills, this section will be continuously updated with the latest information.
National Recovery and Resilience Plans
The Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) is the largest component of NextGenerationEU (NGEU), the European Union’s financial instrument to boost the recovery of EU Member States and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis in Europe.
EU Member States have submitted National RRPs that describe the reforms and investment projects they plan to implement with the support of the RRF. The reforms and investments included in the plans should be implemented by 2026.
In the digital skills area, the objective of the plans is to provide European citizens with skills in line with current and future labour market needs, also in relation to the green and digital transitions.
Measures proposed by the Member States include:
- Upskilling and reskilling the digital competences of the workforce.
- Developing and updating modules and curricula for digital skills in primary and secondary education with a focus on fundamental computing skills and digital media literacy.
- Investing in digital equipment to support the provision of digital learning and skills in schools, Vocational and Educational Training (VET) and higher education institutions.
- Investment in fostering the digital skills of teachers and trainers and developing digital pedagogical content.
- Developing national programme of apprenticeships in ICT, including in SMEs.
- Promoting advanced digital skills in key technologies via new higher education programmes.
These activities will contribute to both major targets of the Digital Decade in the skills area: ensure that by 2030 at least 80% of EU citizens have at least basic digital skills and there will be at least 20 million ICT employed specialists.