The new European project for Software Skills
On 2 December, ESSA partners organised a virtual kick-off meeting to officially start our joint work on the development of a highly innovative, effective, and sustainable Software Skills Strategy and corresponding Vocational Education and Training (VET) programmes for Europe. Funded by the European Commission under Erasmus+ programme – Sector Skills Alliances –, the four-year project ensures the software skills needs of the fast-paced software sector can be met in the short, medium, and long term; enabling continuous development, innovation and competitiveness within the industry.
A data-driven Software Skills Strategy based on market needs
The shift from hardware to software is enabling a broader range of new services, accompanied by emerging technologies such as Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of things (IoT), Blockchain and Cybersecurity. These are driving the high demand for software in Europe and globally, and consequently the growing demand for more professionals in software services.
Led by DIGITALEUROPE, the ESSA unites leading Information and communications technology (ICT) representative bodies, software services employers, education and training providers from VET and higher education, qualifications regulatory bodies including national accreditation agencies, and a broad selection of stakeholders and social partners from across the industry.
All partners will work together to ensure that the new Software Skills Strategy is driven by employers’ demand for software skills and combines VET education provision and work-based learning initiatives to implement fast-track upskilling and reskilling. The new strategy and VET solution are linked with recognised European instruments, tools and standards enabling skills and career development in general. In addition, new mechanisms will be included to ensure the continuous implementation across programme countries throughout four years of the project and beyond its completion.
New EU-wide VET solution to tackle software skill shortages
The growing demand for skilled specialists in software services cannot be fulfilled by the current education and training programmes. With a focus on advanced digital and ICT professional skills in software services, ESSA aims to develop an innovative and comprehensive VET curriculum customised for various roles and job profiles and underlying competences, knowledge, and skills needed in the sector. To this end, a market-driven analysis is being conducted to build solid, data-driven foundations for the development and implementation of both the Software Skills Strategy and the VET programme. In addition, recognised certifications that are transferable across the EU will be provided.
For sustainable development beyond the end of the ESSA project, a long-term strategy will be developed for the ongoing expansion of the Alliance as well as the continuous improvements of the Software Skills Strategy and VET programme. Additionally, a European Software Skills Community space will be created to provide an online platform for expert reviews, exchanges of ideas and best practices among the wider software sector and VET community, ensuring the EU-wide adoption and exploitation of the project’s outcomes.
Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash