Building digital skills in Austria was the focus of the event organized by the Austrian “Allianz für Digitale Skills und Berufe” (ADSB) and the European Commission on January 27, 2021. Around 70 experts from Austria, the institutions of the European Union and other EU member states met virtually at the invitation of Martin Kocher, Federal Minister for Labour.
The aim of the European Commission's initiative “Digital Skills and Job Coalition” (DSJC), founded in 2016, is to raise digital skills in Europe. The association fit4internet was confirmed by the European Commission in February 2020 as the first Austrian member of the Digital Skills and Job Coalition. In October 2020 the ADSB, the Austrian version of the DSJC, was presented. Recently, the second community-led event of the ADSB took place under the title “Digital Skills certification and DigComp implementation”.
Together with the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs and the Federal Ministry for Labour, the second virtual event in Austria was organized. The event focused not only on the status of the implementation of the Digital Competency Model (DigComp Framework) in Austria as a common standard for the assessment, qualification and certification of digital competencies and best practices for professional digital training and certification in the work context. It also gave attention to the future of digital competencies.
Experts from the fields of business, education, science and politics discussed the practical implementation of the DigComp model for lifelong learning. The European Reference Framework for Digital Competences (DigComp 2.1) also forms the basis for the Digital Competence Framework for Austria (DigComp 2.2 AT) and serves to classify and compare digital competences.
The importance of cooperations among EU member states was underlined as it is necessary to enable the transfer of know-how and the sharing of learnings and experiences on the basis of best practice implementations.
Below some selected quotes from the speakers:
- “The ‘Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition’ will help to broaden the picture and bring even more different perspectives and forms of theoretical and practical knowledge together to explore possible synergies and pool resources for the challenges ahead.” – Martin Kocher, Federal Minister for Labour
- “Digital competencies are a fundamental pillar in the digital transition and transformation. A Digital Economy can only be based on a digitally competent society.” – Luis Navarro, Digital Expert from Spain
- “The development of digital skills is a central priority in Austria. Digital literacy fosters companies’ competitiveness and enables people to meet the requirements of the labour market.” – Maria Ulmer, Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs
- “Digital pioneers also exist in Austria, not only in Silicon Valley. With increasing digitalisation, new job profiles are emerging that you may never have heard of. Some have been around for years and some are so new that not only there are no degree programmes or training courses but HR managers do not even know what skills are needed.” – Kurt Hofstädter, President, Platform Industry 4.0
- “Cybersecurity and raising digital skills are necessary for a strong European economy. The EIT offers different programs for improving digital knowledge and skills.” – Paul Rübig, President, SME connect Europe
- “The ultimate goal must be to enable the competent use of digital technologies and broad participation of society in digitisation. This is necessary for the labour markets and for a modern, participative democracy.” – Philipp Jauernik, IV / fit4internet
- “We need to create inclusive learning environments and instruments that benefit disadvantaged groups in order to avoid digital exclusion.” – Robert Titelbach, Member of the Taskforce Digital Competences Austria, Federal Ministry of Labour
- “Digital fitness is closely connected to social competences. So apart from certified occupational trainings it is absolute essential to train teachers for conveying this broad spectrum of competences.” – Agnes Streissler-Führer, Deputy General Secretary of GPA Union (Union of white-collar workers in Austria)
- “Europe can play a positive role in the certification of digital competences through the proposed European Digital Skill Certificate, which would be recognised and accepted by governments, employers and other stakeholders across Europe. It would allow all European citizens to indicate the level of digital competence they have acquired.” – Michael Horgan, Policy Officer, Skills and qualifications, European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
- “Digital certifications with micro-credentials for all. Starter to excellence level. We need to radically focusing of structural funds towards digital inclusion.” – Alexander Schmölz, Managing Director, Austrian Institute for Vocational Education Research (öibf)
- “Just one exam does not fit it all! Frameworks and standards assessing digital skills must consider both basic digital literacy and more specific advanced contribution to ensure they are relevant." – Thomas Nárosy, Taskforce Digital Competences
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