DIGITALEUROPE launches two European projects boosting software and blockchain skills
To continue our efforts to bridge the digital skills gap in Europe, DIGITALEUROPE kicks off two new projects, ESSA (European Software Skills Alliance) on software skills and CHAISE (blockCHAIn Skills for Europe) on blockchain skills.
Funded by the European Commission under Erasmus+ programme – Sector Skills Alliances, the two blueprint projects will develop new strategies and vocational curricula for Europe to tackle the lack of trained specialists in the fields of software services and blockchain. ESSA, led by DIGITALEUROPE, and CHAISE, led by the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, bring together key industry and education stakeholders.
Director-General of DIGITALEUROPE Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl said:
“More than half of the European workforce needs reskilling. Key emerging technologies such as cloud computing, blockchain, and artificial intelligence will create high skilled, well paying jobs and open up new economic opportunities.
Through our participation in the ESSA and CHAISE projects, we will strive to ensure a pan-European dimension in the creation of specific curricula on software and blockchain skills, so that all European citizens and Member States can equally benefit from the opportunities these technologies will bring.”
52% of workers in Europe are in need of reskilling. Together with the growth of emerging technologies such as blockchain, cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and Internet of Things (IoT), the shift from hardware to software is enabling a broader range of new services. These are driving the high demand for more professionals, especially those with advanced digital skills.
The ESSA and CHAISE projects have officially launched with their virtual kick-off meetings taking place in December 2020. Within the next four years, both projects aim to develop highly innovative and sustainable strategies and corresponding Vocational Education and Training (VET) curricula to ensure the current and future skills needs of the fast-paced software and blockchain sectors in Europe can be met.
Innovative and data-driven strategies based on market needs
Based on data-driven insights on market and business needs gathered at both EU and national levels, ESSA will develop a new European Software Skills Strategy, while CHAISE will focus on designing the missing European Blockchain Skills Strategy. The strategies will be designed along with specific VET programmes for software and blockchain skills.
The new strategies and VET solutions are directly linked with recognised European instruments, tools and standards enabling skills and career development in general. In addition, new mechanisms will be included to ensure the continuous implementation across Europe throughout four years of the projects and beyond its completion.
New EU-wide VET curricula for reskilling and upskilling
Technological innovation and the rapidly increasing skills gap make it difficult for education and training to keep up. The growing demand for skilled specialists in software services and blockchain cannot be fulfilled by the current education and training programmes. Therefore, shorter and more efficient education cycles are needed. VET is considered as an applicable format, which enables better alignment with industry and employers’ needs in real time and more flexible learning pathways.
With this regard, the ESSA and CHAISE will develop innovative and comprehensive VET programmescustomised for various role and job profiles and underlying competences, knowledge and skills needed in the sectors. The curricula and learning materials will equip learners with not only up-to-date knowledge and skills but also recognised certifications that are transferable across the EU. The CHAISE will also build the first-ever “blockchain specialist” occupational profile in line with existing competences and qualification frameworks to guarantee a common language for digital skills descriptions.
Long-term collaboration at both EU and national levels
For a sustainable development, the ESSA and CHAISE also focus on shaping their long-term strategies for the expansion of partnerships and communities beyond the projects’ completion in terms of expert reviews, exchange of best practices and cooperation among the wider stakeholder and VET community. In specific, the ESSA will create a European Software Skills Community while the CHAISE will set the foundation for the formation of a European Blockchain Skills Cooperation Network and National Blockchain Skills Partnerships.
The long-term strategies include exploitation activities to support the rollout of the projects’ outcomes and their adoption at EU and national levels as well as ensuring the continuous improvements of the Strategies and VET programmes.