European Investment Fund to support digital education scheme

European Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas. [EPA-EFE/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / POOL]

The European Investment Fund and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology said on Wednesday (28 April) they would collaborate on a project to improve access to digital education.

The scheme, which is expected to launch in June under the oversight of the institute’s digital innovative branch, EIT Digital, aims to help 500 students improve their digital skills.

Funding will come from the European Investment Fund as part of the Skills & Education Guarantee Pilot, a debt financing initiative intended to stimulate investments and access to education, training and skills.

It will provide a €2.5 million financial guarantee, allowing EIT Digital to postpone payment for the courses. The initiative will be financed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which was at the centre of the Investment Plan for Europe, also known as the Juncker Plan.

Last year’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) suggested that 44% of EU citizens still lack basic digital skills. In 2019 a separate study highlighted a shortage of technical skills in the European workforce, linking this to the continuing male domination of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sectors.

“The digital transition profoundly changes the way we live, study and work. We must equip people with the right skills to master this transition and make the most out of the opportunities the future brings,” said European Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas.

Meanwhile, Roger Havenith, deputy chief executive of the European Investment Fund, stated that sharing financial risks with EIT Digital will “allow more Europeans to acquire the skills they need to be successful in the jobs of the future.”

EIT Digital was launched in 2010 to address the digital skills gap and support Europe’s digital transformation.

[Edited by Josie Le Blond]

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