Digital Agenda Assembly 2013

KMi Director, Professor Peter Scott joined he EU Digital Agenda Assembly 2013 this week in Dublin Castle, Dublin, Ireland. The event is a meeting of EU policy makers and stakeholders aiming to review plans for the Digital Agenda for Europe – to assess the progress and challenges in implementation of the plan and seek ways to improve its delivery.

The main challenge this year was to understand the digital lifecycle with an emphasis on digital skills, entrepreneurship and growth. The event workshops focused on ICT skills and jobs, public services for the citizen, research & innovation and technology enablers, trust & security, entrepreneurship and the digital single market.  

With 73% of EU households subscribing to (some form of) broadband; and 70% "use the internet regularly" the story sounds promising; but still, 22% of EU citizens have "never used the internet", and only 51% of citizens say they would cliam "medium to high internet skills"… this leaves 49% feeling they have "low to NO skills"! Indeed, one headline is that we are expecting up to 900,000 "unfilled IT vacancies in Europe by the year 2015! So major topics at this event were improving digital literacy and a "grand coalition for digital jobs" and how policy can help us map the route to a "digital single market" for Europe.

With a very active digital contribution, both via webcast, twitter and other channels – this was a very active and interactive event.  And with ‘hands on" participation from the Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny; Irish Minister of Comms, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, EU Vice President Neelie Kroes, and Open University Chancellor (and Irish Digital Champion), David Puttnam, the event was both stimulating and challenging.

The Open University participation was to ensure that the voice of open learning was heard in all of the policy and business debate, especially in the first day workshop on ‘digital skills for jobs and learning’.

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