24 January 2013, 9:00–17:00 hrs

kindly hosted by

Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union

Rue Wiertz 77, Brussels


Since the financial crisis began to hit labour markets in 2008, Europe has lost more than 5.6 million jobs. In its Communication[1] “Towards a job-rich recovery” the European Commission states that “recovering this lost ground is only possible if the EU returns to sustained economic growth, which in turn requires European industries and services to retain or regain international competitiveness. In this respect, the capability of industry and services to compete and evolve is becoming increasingly dependent on the innovative and effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT).

Despite high levels of unemployment, ICT skills shortages have been identified. The mismatch between skills available and the needs of the labour markets concern all Member States, but affect them to varying degrees. Remarkably the demand for ICT practitioners continues to grow by around 3% a year, with labour demand outstripping the supply. Depending on the scenario to become reality there could be up to several 100,000 vacancies by 2015 unless more is done to direct more young people into computing degrees and retrain unemployed people.

In this context industry-based training and certification is part of the solution to reduce skills shortages and mismatches and thereby unemployment in general. However, we are currently faced with some strong inhibitors and constraints to make this happen. Starting a career as ICT practitioner or advancing a career towards those areas of highest demand is constrained by the fact that the ICT certification world remains un-transparent with thousands of different certificates, ranging from technical ones (almost every ICT provider offers some), those offered by foundations in information management to high end certificates. Moreover they seem to live in a parallel universe to that of vocational and higher education.

The lack of transparency and quality labelling is a challenge to human resources departments in their (cross-border) recruitment processes and curricula developers interested in providing side entries for interested individuals and organisations, but most of all to small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) searching for talent and very importantly also to ICT practitioners currently lacking orientation and guidance in deciding on and taking their next career step.

Progress towards solutions

Several European initiatives, involving in particular the CEN Workshop on ICT Skills, have been trying to address this issue by developing standards for competences (European e-Competence Framework) and ICT job profiles. The results of the project to be presented at this conference constitute a further step towards guidance and orientation through the certification world. Using the European e-Competence Framework it developed a European e-skills quality label, services and tools to foster transparency and guidance towards quality in the market of industry-based training and certification as it

  • Provides means to distinguish different types of certification and training (by quality labels and industry-based certification and training courses against the e-Competence Framework),
  • Collected and disseminated empirical information and evidence about demand and supply of e-skills in Europe to provide interested parties with an overview of areas with high demand for e-skills to better match e-skills demand and supply,
  • Provides a service and tool for focused further development and certification of one’s own e-skills or those of staff members to support better job placement and recruitment in companies. For this purpose a prototype of an online landscape, self-assessment tool and web portal is offered to stakeholders interested in the further development and enhancement of the prototype towards a fully-fledged service for operation in the job placement, recruitment, e-skills further development and certification market.

At the conference leading stakeholders will discuss how industry-based training and certification can contribute to reduce ICT skills shortages and unemployment. Solutions for achieving greater clarity and orientation support through the ICT education and training landscape together with latest data on ICT skills demand and supply developments and forecasts (2012 – 2020) will be presented. Possible interactions with employment agencies and recruitment / staffing industry will be shown.

A proposal for a pan-European quality label together with criteria, processes and structures for ICT industry training and certification will be presented. The first prototype of an online support tool for ICT practitioners and stakeholders such as human resources managers will be demonstrated. These will allow stakeholders to better anticipate e-skills needs in EU labour markets and put them in a position to swiftly act upon. Recommendations for actions and governance will mark the end of the conference.


[1] COM (2012) 173 final of 18 April 2012