Europeans need more accessible knowledge on emerging technologies

Many businesses and citizens across Europe struggle with even the most basic digital competences. This lack of skills raises a variety of issues – from an increasing digital divide to difficulties filling out vacancies for ICT specialists.

The Digital SkillUp partners has conducted an extensive research in the initial phase of the project, with an aim to learn more about emerging technologies, their trends and application in daily lives and work, learners’ (citizens’ and SMEs’) training needs and training path development, and existing educational offer in this field. The research consists of a combination of various types of methodologies, such as interactive workshops, online surveys, expert seminars, interviews, and desk research. The findings of the analysis have been used as recommendations for the development, design, and further improvements of the Digital SkillUp training courses and the website resources.

According to the analysis, emerging technologies have the potential to stimulate economic growth, transform business models, and improve the overall well-being – this is the case if challenges are managed well and citizens and SMEs possess the necessary skills to take advantage of them.  One of the main takeaways from the research is that digital skills are currently needed more than ever – together with technical and non-cognitive skills, they build up skills sets for future jobs.  

It is predicted that nowadays around 90% of occupations require digital literacy. However, many European companies and citizens still struggle with technological developments - only 6 out of 10 Europeans have sufficient digital competencies. This skills gap is especially prominent among individuals who do not have access to formal training (e.g. through schools or universities). Divides also exist across the EU member states and different social groups. 

Considering current trends, it is not a surprise that the understanding of emerging technologies is still lacking in our society. The research findings suggest that efforts should be made to explain these technologies in a simple and accessible way, providing practical and real-life use case examples, also considering that most of the current online training tend to be too complex and not tailored to citizens and SMEs. Furthermore, experts have highlighted the importance of obtaining certification and having comprehensive information on course quality. These two aspects would allow individuals to access learning that best suits their needs, as well as to follow modular individual learning paths.  

The analysis outlines that among different types of emerging technologies, a particular emphasis should be brought on AI, cybersecurity, and data-related technologies. 

Are you interested in learning more about the research carried out? Read our ‘Report on European Educational and Training Landscape and Training Needs for Citizens and SMEs’ where the main insights and findings are summarised.