Digital Opportunity Scheme Launch

Digital Opportunity Scheme Launch

Article by eSkills Malta Foundation published in The Malta Independent 17.05.2018

European Commission figures show that two fifths of the EU workforce have little or no digital skills. In addition, despite continued high levels of unemployment, there could be 756 000 unfilled jobs in the European ICT sector by 2020’.

Digital skills in the EU labour market – In-depth Analysis

On Tuesday 17th April 2018 the ESkills Malta Foundation in association with European Union Programmes Agency (EUPA) hosted the ‘Launch of the Digital Opportunity Scheme for Traineeships’. The Foundation’s Executive Coordinator Carm Cachia together with EUPA Programme Coordination and Communications Manager, Therese Pace and Pia Groenewolt, Project Officer at ALL DIGITAL, introduced the Scheme and answered the audience’s questions.

What is the Digital Opportunity traineeships initiative?

The Digital Opportunity Traineeships – is an EU-funded training initiative which aims to help companies fill vacancies with digitally competent candidates.
The initiative will raise awareness on the importance of on-the-job training for digital skills and help to attract more students to careers in ICT-related professions. Digital skills are not only required in the ICT sector, but increasingly across all sectors.
For students and recent graduates, temporary work placements are a unique chance to develop digital skills and improve their job prospects. The Digital Opportunity Traineeships initiative is designed to bring sustainable benefits to both businesses and job seekers.

The Digital Opportunity Traineeships initiative is a project, which is open to all Erasmus+ Programme Countries and to the Horizon 2020 Associated Countries, and will start in spring 2018 and hopes to take up to 6,000 participants in 2018-20. Participants will receive an allowance of around €500 per month for a maximum of 5 months.

Digital Opportunity Scheme Launch
Given the high degree of importance of ICT in all sectors of the economy and society, digital skills should be acquired not only from students who choose an ICT career but also from students in other domains. The placements are aimed to strengthen ICT specialist skills in fields such as cyber security, big data, quantum technology and software development or boost digital marketing skills. One of the purposes of the initiative is indeed to encourage students and recent graduates from disciplines other than ICT to also undertake traineeships to strengthen digital skills. Women are particularly encouraged to apply as they are currently underrepresented in STEM careers.

The implementation of this project through the existing Erasmus+ funding instrument is not by chance. Studies have shown that almost 1 in 10 Erasmus trainees who did work placements have started their own company and 3 out of 4 plan to or can envisage to do so. At the same time, traineeships are considered as the best way to select new employees that could join the company afterwards. The Erasmus+ programme on its part has undeniably created more job chances for young people as more than 1 in 3 Erasmus students were offered a position at their host company. This on its turn has contributed to creating more international workplaces throughout Europe’s companies with employers demonstrating both hard and soft skills acquired or further developed in their Erasmus experiences.

Digital Opportunity Scheme Launch

What is the application process?

The application process is the same as for the Erasmus+ programme with students and recent graduates applying through their university according to the deadline and procedures established by the higher institution for Erasmus+ traineeships. Offers can be posted from companies and found by potential interns on the platforms Drop’pin@EURES and ErasmusIntern, or they can be advertised through direct contacts with universities’ career offices.

The project is aimed to students of all disciplines and levels as well as recent graduates. On the enterprise side, companies of all sizes and types can provide traineeships, selecting the applicants with the most relevant student profile and signing a traineeship agreement.

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