In today’s digital world some ‘lucky’ children are practically born with touch-key knowledge. As a digital native, it is easy to imagine how over 200 billion people use the internet worldwide and millions more come online each year. But what about those people who have not been so lucky? According to data from Eurostat released in December of last year, only 25% of young people across the EU self-report having “high levels of basic internet skills” – high levels being defined as being able to carry out five or six tasks including: using a search engine to find information; sending an e-mail with attached files; posting messages to chat-rooms, newsgroups or any other online discussion forum; using the internet to make telephone calls; using peer-to-peer file sharing for exchanging movies, music; and creating a web page.

There is a constant percentage of young people in the EU who are not using the internet regularly, particularly those with low formal education – an average of 13% of young people have low formal education– increasing to 50% in some countries like Romania. (Eurostat)

There are some baby boomers, as well as those who are excluded from digital society (believe it or not, some people living in remote parts of Europe have no Broadband access), people living with disabilities, and even the ‘not so old folks’ of Generation X who somehow managed to get left behind by the digital gravy train and find themselves with limited career prospects. Those in ‘the know’ enjoy the benefits, while others born in the 1970s feel like they live démodé, Beaumarchais 1770s style.

Addressing the e-Skills gap is important. One great example of a grass roots organisation that seeks to build a bridge to digital literacy is Telecentre-Europe – a digital hub for European citizens. “Get Online Week 2012” takes place between 26-30 March and is a partner of the European e-Skills Week 2012 Campaign. Public venues throughout the EU will be open for everyone to come and see how it feels to get online. Supported by the European Commission, Get Online Week seeks to promote online activity and e-Skills for everyone through a basic understand of ICT. Showing people how ICT can open doors to new, exciting digital opportunities for social and professional interactions is one way to get Europeans excited about the future.

The European e-Skills Week 2012 Campaign is strongly supported by the European ICT Industry; it is being actively promoted by national contact points in the following member states: Austria (see a cool video here), Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the UK, in partnership with academics and education leaders from LSE, INSEAD and many others who are working together to engage and include all citizens in the e-Skills Week 2012.

One highlight of the 2012 e-Skills Week Campaign is Project Passion – a pan-European competition which seeks to engage young people in telling unique, interesting and quirky stories about how e-Skills can open up new career directions and opportunities to be entrepreneurial.

Imagining a new world where people are equipped to live, work and play in the digital age is the overarching vision of the e-Skills Week campaign. By making this vision a reality, e-Skills Week 2012 seeks to ensure that all generations of European citizens have the best opportunities for the future.

Watch this video for more inspiration!

This blog post was published by Colleen Wood, stagiaire, DIGITALEUROPE and the content supported by Natalia Kurop, Director of Communications-Marketing, DIGITALEUROPE

19 February 2012


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