EIT Digital wins EU project to train SMEs for the Digital Decade

During the next three years, EIT Digital and its project partners will deliver short-term training programmes for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises with a focus on three digital technology areas of strategic importance for Europe: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Cybersecurity.

Europe needs to enhance digital skills of its workforce

The EU has a significant and systemic gap between market needs and what is offered in terms of skills related to advanced digital technologies. The European Investment Bank (EIB) reports that the lack of staff with the right skills is the main obstacle to new investment for businesses. In addition, 53% of companies trying to recruit ICT specialists find it difficult. When looking at the digital skills of the current workforce, only 65% have digital skills which are “above basic”. This contributes to refraining from the uptake of advanced digital technologies.

Upskilling through tailored training

As a result of this gap analysis, the European Commission issued under its Digital Europe programme a call for proposals for projects that have a particular focus on the needs of SMEs and that aim at expanding the existing offer for training and retraining for both job seekers and current staff. SMEs’ workforce shall be able to access training that reflects the latest developments in key technology areas; areas that evolve at a fast pace and thus require a constant update of digital skills.

EIT Digital leads a successful consortium

Named SME4DD (SMEs for the Digital Decade), the successful proposal was submitted by a consortium entailing partners from four EU countries. The project is led by EIT Digital and includes the three EIT Digital partners Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Hungary), Talent Garden (Italy) and INRIA (France), as well as Digitális Jólét Nonprofit Kft (Hungary), Hyper Island (Sweden) and Confcommercio Milano Lodi Monza Brianza (Italy).

During the next three years, the SME4DD project will design short-term training programmes based on the needs of SMEs with the aim of increasing the number of men and women able to design, develop and deploy digital solutions in the economy and across sectors. As such, SME4DD will contribute to reducing the existing gap in advanced digital skills in Europe and increase Europe’s competitiveness.

A comprehensive approach to upskilling SME workforce on key digital technologies

The SME4DD project has four core objectives:

  1. To support the development of advanced digital skills in the EU workforce, with a special focus on SMEs.
  2. To design and deliver short-term training courses for upskilling SME professionals (owners, managers and employees).
  3. To provide affordable access to high-quality, specialised training courses to SME professionals, reflecting the latest developments in the three key capacity areas AI, Blockchain, and Cybersecurity; and
  4. To contribute to reinforcing and securing the digital technology supply chain in the EU.

Initially, the project will identify the general upskilling needs of enterprises, especially SMEs, in Europe.

The first courses under the SME4DD project are expected to be launched by December 2023. A dedicated webpage is under construction and will be launched in due course. Stay tuned and follow our channels for further updates on your opportunities to benefit from SME4DD!

Source: EIT Digital I News (https://bit.ly/3IeEHWK)