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A new skills agenda for Europe: getting everyone digital

Succeeding online shouldn’t just be for the privileged few. We want all Europeans to benefit - and digital skills play a big role in this. Today, the European Commission launched its proposals for a new skills agenda and we welcome their plans. Digital skills, one focus area of the plans, make people more employable, are indispensable for many new jobs being created, and fuel economic growth.

At Google, we’re committed to ensuring Europeans have the right skills for this digital age. The process starts with projects like Digital Active in France, aimed at training young people looking for jobs. And we’ve partnered with more than 50 European universities to train students. Our initiatives across 25 European countries result in stories like the Italian Levaggi brothers, who have been making handcrafted chairs for over half a century and increased overseas exports by 30% in major markets after completing our digital skills training.

We’ve made a commitment to train 2 million Europeans in digital skills and are a proud member of the European Commission’s Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs. A rounded education should prepare young people for online life -- it's as essential as literacy and numeracy. And it should be accessible to everyone: we’re particularly pleased that more than 40% of participants in our online workshops so far have been women. And it’s not just for the young - for instance in The Netherlands, of the thousands of people that attended training sessions in Dutch cities, over half are older than 45 years.

We believe all this dovetails with the aims set out by the European Commission. Europe is looking to the future, and good digital skills give people the tools to excel in their jobs, start their own businesses and fully participate in contemporary life.

As emphasized in this recent report by BCG, we need to get better at matching the skills of the workforce with the skills required in new jobs. That is key to making the most out of the digital opportunity. We want to contribute to more stories like the ones above, and are creating various programmes to nurture them. We welcome the Commission's proposals and look forward to working with the next generation of digitally-skilled Europeans.

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