Slovak Digital Champion and State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance Peter Pellegrini has initiated the establishment of a new platform entitled the “Digital Future”. The new platform has been set up based on an invitation of the Digital Champion to companies and institutions operating in Slovakia to contribute with their activities to enhancing the information and communication technology (ICT) sector at the national level. The underlying reason for the establishment of this platform is a poor structure, number and quality of graduates in ICT, the most dynamically growing and best paid sector. The “Digital Future” platform has been inspired by a European Commission project - Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs.
“I am very much pleased that our efforts to bring the Grand Coalition initiative from the European to the national level have met with positive acclaim. I highly appreciate all activities and particular contributions through which individual institutions have decided to facilitate solutions to existing problems and which have enhanced the value and relevance of the IT sector in Slovakia,” says Peter Pellegrini.
The Digital Champion intends to support concrete activities and initiatives towards creation of new jobs and enhancing digital literacy in the future. Moreover, he wants to better engage experts as well as the general public in cooperation under this initiative to ensure that the content of such activities is as vigorous as possible.
The “Digital Future” platform should be an umbrella initiative to cover a range of various activities and projects, including, for example, internships, educational and training programmes, funding of emerging and start-up businesses, free online university study programmes, and many more.
“It is only through interactions between the measures adopted by the government and the activities carried out by digital technology companies, public and government institutions, non-profit organisations, professional and civic associations and educational institutions that we may seek solutions to help fill the identified 900,000 vacancies that are expected to exist in Europe in the ICT sector by 2015, thus contributing to the meeting of targets and objectives under the Digital Agenda for Europe,” adds Peter Pellegrini.
ICTs have an enormous potential for economic growth and post-crisis recovery. According to a Slovak Academy of Sciences study, an increase in investment in the IT sector by 1 percent translates into a growth in real GDP at a level of 0.11 percent. According to Europe’s Digital Agenda 2020 strategy, 50% of EU’s economic growth posted over the past 15 years can be attributed to ICT, with this sector considered a main driver of post-crisis recovery.
A positive impact of the information and communication technology sector on economic growth is undisputable. The IT sector contributes to GDP formation not only directly (through deployment of ICT-enabled products and services) but mainly indirectly. An increased uptake of ICTs in the economy enhances effectiveness in design and development, production and distribution of virtually all products and services across all sectors. A country’s advancement in terms of ICT structure development has thus become an important factor in assessing its competitiveness. When exploring suitable destinations for their investment plans, traditional investors no longer assess the quality of motorway or electricity networks only, but such factors as broadband coverage or citizens’ digital literacy are becoming ever more important indicators too.
(Source: ICT Sectoral Analysis 2011)
It results in a paradox on the labour market: on the one hand, we witness an increase in unemployment, on the other, there has been a large number of job vacancies identified in the ICT sector, both at the national and international levels, which require a certain level of digital skills.
A Digital Agenda annual scoreboard (2012) confirms that half of European labour force does not have sufficient ICT skills to help them change or find a new job. While 43% of the EU population has medium or high internet skills and can, for example, use the internet to make a phone call or create a web page, nearly half of the labour force is not confident their computer and internet skills are sufficient in this labour market. Almost 25% have no ICT skills. These problems are making it difficult to fill all vacancies in the ICT sector.
A list of specific projects and activities can be found HERE: