At the launch event for the e-Skill Leadership Board, Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen said: "There is now a broad agreement on the main challenges and the key components of a long-term e-skills agenda. They are basically the following:
- Longer term cooperation between public authorities, industry, academia, trade unions and associations through scalable and sustainable multi-stakeholder partnerships;
- human resources investment to ensure sufficient public and private sector investments in e-skills education;
- attractiveness and the promotion of science, maths and ICT as well as role models, job profiles and career perspectives;
- employability and e-inclusion and the development of digital literacy and e-competence actions tailored to the needs of groups at risk of exclusion, and;
- lifelong acquisition of e-skills and the promotion of better and more user-centric e-learning approaches."
On the launch of the European Alliance on Skills for Employability, Employment Commissioner Vladimír Špidla said: "The most important phase of the European Union’s growth and jobs strategy is underway, and the spotlight is firmly on delivering results. Partnerships between the Member States and the private sector can also make a major contribution to Europe’s competitiveness as a region and for its citizens. I welcome the creation of the European Alliance on Skills for Employability. The alliance is a leading example of how innovative business-to-business collaborations, working with different stakeholders, can provide opportunities to the European unemployed. Access to skills training, content provision and certification can help older workers, people with disabilities and the young to face the challenges of unemployment and the changing workplace, and so contribute to Europe’s prosperity."
Education and Culture Commissioner Ján Figel said: "A learning society for all is the most valid guarantee against exclusion. Knowledge, skills and competences are the main capital of European citizens and e-skills are a key competence in the context of lifelong learning. But only 10% of the European population participate in lifelong learning. ICT has the potential to enable innovation and lifelong learning for all. We must ensure that this becomes a reality."
Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding said: "Shortfalls of qualified ICT practitioners slow down new ICT applications in the economy and draw away billions of euros of investment funds to dynamic emerging economies, where hundreds of thousands of new engineers are qualifying each year. Digital illiteracy, still standing at nearly 40%, is also a persistent feature of Europe's digital divide. We can no longer afford to waste the talents of millions of Europeans by leaving them out of the information society. Member States and industry must commit to a substantial e-skills strategy."
Jan Muehlfeit, Microsoft’s Chairman Europe, said, commenting on the Commission's Communication 'e-skills for the 21st century': "We fully support this Communication, and will continue doing our part to make the EU e-skills agenda a reality. The skills gap threatens Europe’s competitiveness and social balance. We need less talk and more action. The European Commission and industry are on board, and we look to EU Member States to play a key role in implementing the e-skills action plan. Microsoft is committed to investing for a more employable, more educated and more competitive Europe."
Hugo Lueders, Director Public Policy Europe with CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association, and also engaged with the Skills for Employability Alliance, said in an interview with EURACTIV: With more than 20 million people unemployed in Europe, a rapidly ageing population and rising competitiveness pressures, strengthening investment in 'skills for employability' is a key plank of the EU-wide Strategy for Jobs and Growth."
Social Platform President Anne-Sophie Parent said with respect to jobs commitments by big companies that besides the sheer figures the quality of the jobs must be taken into account. She stressed the need to bring disadvantaged groups into jobs and the potential of ICT of achieving this. She said not only ICT literacy was important to profit of these opportunities, but also access to the internet. For that reason, she argued, the internet should be declared a service of general interest, which member states should bring to all citizens.