Digital technologies are affecting the emergence of disruptive business models, challenging traditional hierarchies and creating new commercial value systems as illustrated e.g. by the all-permeating use of data analytics (6)

It is already amply documented (3) that there are already hundreds of thousands of ICT related job vacancies in Europe and the US across all industry sectors due to lack of suitable digital skills among the young.

The number of these vacancies is growing as our traditional educational institutions struggle against deeply entrenched entropic resistance to rapid change which, in turn, results in a growing skills mismatch (4).

In the context of the overall “digital disruption” a drastic re-think of both formal and informal education and skill acquisition programs is taking place at all levels both in Europe, the US and elsewhere to address the issue of digital education and skills.

Furthermore, Digital Enlightenment Forum (1) debates and reports lead to the conclusion that the sought after “digital literacy” cannot and must not be limited to the necessary prerequisites of the digital equivalent of “reading, writing and arithmetic” but extend to the acquisition of a certain degree of “professionalism”, including:

  • Functional skills (e.g. in data analytics or mobile apps)
  • Critical thinking and selection skills
  • Effective communication and collaboration skills

There are already budgeted new EU initiatives to address this via the creation of Skills Hubs, usually within an Innovation Hub with a broader scope.

In a number of EU regions, where the skills mismatch is worse than the average in the EU (see Eurostat) it further aggravates the tragic youth unemployment situation (e.g. Greece, Spain).

There are in such regions large numbers of young (many with university degrees in STEMS) who are unemployed. At the same time there is a growing demand by healthy and growing enterprises in the digital domain and increasingly, in other business sectors ready to hire candidates possessing suitable ICT skills that they need.

This is where the idea and ensuing proposal for a Skills Hub comes in.

Unlike most other EU and US related initiatives it is not proposed to set up a full Innovation Hub (2) but rather just one of the key components of such an Innovation Hub, a Skills Hub which enables young people to acquire, in a relatively short time, functional digital skills which will make them immediately “hirable” by existing companies.

The approach to be developed will combine mini and “flipped” courses, self- regulated learning, mentoring and aim only at clearly measurable skill acquisition.

Teachers/trainers would come from the industries involved and experts would be added as appropriate from the coming  European programs , the Digital Enlightenment Forum network and of course the local environment.

There is no formal certification foreseen for the time being (but not excluded for the future) other than the actual employment of the “graduates” after their training.

It is planned that such a Skills Hub project starts in one or two regions or countries on an experimental basis with 25-30 “students” with the skills acquisition process not exceeding 12 months.

 To this end we need to bring together in such a region:

  1. A group of stakeholders from the digital company ecosystem that will also act as “mentors” identifying dynamically the digital skills required in the wake of the ongoing digital transformation and their specific needs.
  2. A “home” for the Skills Hub that will provide a lean administration, the physical facilities as well as the business culture needed to complement the functional skill acquisition with critical thinking and teamwork and communication skills.

 A pilot  in Greece as a reality check

Digital Enlightenment Forum first focused on Greece, a country with tragically high youth unemployment to check if the concept is viable and whether appropriate stakeholders could be motivated to contribute to its implementation.

Preliminary contacts with some “healthy”, innovative, extroverted companies in Greece showed that there is indeed support for such a Skills Hub project.

Discussions with Alba (Graduate Business School - ) showed that it could be an excellent “home” for the project in Greece providing an overall holistic framework for the proposed activity

The governing Board of Alba has given its approval

A meeting between potential stakeholder companies   hosted by Alba has been held in November to define the project parameters and preconditions required to make such a skills Hub a reality and possible next steps were identified, including the methodology for identifying specific skillsets, selection of candidates, resources and related key critical path issues.

The first  Skills Hub has already  started operating in Greece and DigEnlight will be monitoring its evolution in the next few months so that it can report on its progress as an innovative concrete European model

References :


2. digitising-european-industry-reaping-full-benefits-digital-single-market



5. web.pdf?dl=0

6. shortage-of-talent-in-data-analysis/