The Malta Independent 21 May 2019, Tuesday

National eSkills Strategy aiming to address need for digital skills needed for all jobs launched

Albert Galea Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 13:07 Last update: about 3 months ago

A National eSkills Strategy which runs between 2019 and 2021 and aims to, amongst others, address the need for existing and new digital skills that shall be required by nearly all jobs in the medium term was launched on Wednesday morning.

Speaking at the launch of the strategy, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri said that the IT sector had become more and more important, with or businesses having to integrate technology into their everyday running.

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Schembri said that human capital in this sector is essentially for the country’s wellbeing, and that more women need to be attracted to the industry.  He said that it has been estimated that if more women were to enter digital job, it would create an increase of €16 billion into the European economy. Malta is a country which still lags behind in the participation of women in the digital field, Schembri said.

Schembri noted that this strategy would prepare Malta for the challenges of the digital age. He said that Malta was the first EU member state to have a specific and coherent national digital skills strategy, after the European Commission had recommended it in 2016.

“The Strategy aims to complement initiatives at both local and EU level to address the need for existing and new digital skills that shall be required by nearly all jobs in the medium term”, the strategy’s executive summary reads.

“The digtal market shall completely transform a number of business models that we are accustomed to”, it reads before adding that “this is expected to bring major changes within the labour market in a relatively short time”.

“Despite general positive developments in digital literacy, the need for a continued effort to narrow the digital gap further is key to the Malta eSkills Foundation”, the strategy reads.

The strategy highlights various needs such as ensuring communication within all sectors is effective, whilst also identifying the need for the publication of an online reference technology board so to serve as a benchmark for technology adoption and corresponding market usage.

Funding sustainable initiative business models is another recommendation within the strategy, and it takes into account aspects of project continuity as well as incorporating a “triple bottom line” approach which takes into account stakeholder interest, the environment, and society.

This effort shall be governed by an eSkills Strategic Consultation Committee which will be established by the Malta eSkills Foundation and which will include all relevant parties that could contribute to the strategic process.

Other recommendations include looking into the evolution of the quality in curriculum design, working towards more collaboration in continuous professional development; highlighting the need for upskilling and specialisation; suggesting a framework for grading and evaluating digital competence; establishing initiatives which support a shift of youth focus to a more participative use of technology and online system; reducing the mismatch between the skills available and those demanded for the digital transformation of the economy; and opening up a professional structure in the domain of ICT.

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