Nov 16, 2023 | News

On the 14th of November, the LEADS project took centre stage at CONNECT University’s workshop on “The State of the Digital Decade 2023.” This event, organized by the European Commission’s DG CONNECT, aimed to delve into the recently published annual report on the digital transformation in the European Union. LEADS, as a coordination and support action for advanced digital skills within the Digital Europe program, played a pivotal role during the panel discussion.

The LEADS project, represented by Mr. Brendan Rowan, the Coordinator, featured prominently in the event. The panel discussion, expertly moderated by Ms. Lavinia Bianchi, Communication Officer of the Investments in High-Capacity Networks Unit at DG CONNECT, explored crucial aspects of advanced digital skills. The distinguished panel included experts such as Ms. Solveigh Hieronimus, Senior Partner at McKinsey, Ms. Sophie Woodville, Digital Policy Officer for Bordeaux Metropolitan Area, Mr. Izabel Jelenic, CTO of Infobip, and Mr. Alessandro Gropelli, Deputy Director General of ETNO.

Insights from LEADS:

Brendan Rowan provided key insights into LEADS’ focus on digital skills within the evolving landscape of the digital future. He emphasized the foundational role of basic digital skills for inclusivity in society and highlighted the dynamic nature of advanced digital skills. Rowan discussed the challenges of attracting and retaining top tech talent in Europe, stressing the need for a comprehensive approach to skill development.

Key Findings and Future Trends:

Rowan shared LEADS’ findings on the rapid evolution of advanced digital skills, emphasizing the importance of domain expertise. He pointed out that individuals with domain knowledge can become productive in advanced digital roles faster than those with a purely technical background. Additionally, the discussion touched upon the projected need for 6 to 12 million professionals with advanced skills in areas like IoT, AI, and cyber by 2027.

Challenges and Recommendations:

Rowan acknowledged the challenges in addressing digital skills, citing the urgency of the issue. He called for a shift in focus from infrastructure to skills, urging a more ambitious and integrated approach at both the European and member state levels. The need for a multi-policy approach that spans education, industry, and social aspects was stressed. Rowan emphasized the importance of flexibility and collaboration to adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape.

In conclusion, the LEADS project’s active participation in CONNECT University’s workshop underscored its commitment to shaping the digital future of Europe. Brendan Rowan’s insights provided a valuable perspective on the challenges and opportunities in advancing digital skills, contributing to the ongoing dialogue on Europe’s Digital Decade. LEADS remains dedicated to catalyzing positive change in the digital skills landscape, aligning with the ambitious goals set for the next decade.

Watch the full recording of the event here.