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Exploring new synergies for Digital Skills: Introducing OpenAIRE/EOSC to the Greek National Digital Skills & Jobs Coalition

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Background: Digital and Open Science skills are key into EOSC's operations and future, and the upskilling of researchers and research support staff is therefore essential for its success. A culture change for sharing research outcomes, policy awareness, and compliance and knowledge of ICT is needed to empower individuals and institutions to develop and maintain EOSC competences science and capabilities.

Why are synergies important: Digital skills are needed everywhere, not just in EOSC. In particular, data science skills are relevant for industry, the public sector (e.g., big data for policy making), but also for civic organizations and the public sector itself. Digital Skills agendas and infrastructures are emerging throughout Europe in different contexts, targeting different groups. But if someone looked carefully, they would see that the goals are very similar (creating a digital workforce), training means overlap, and organizations involved have similar stakes. Forming partnerships between such players would only bring economies of scale and allow for a cross-sectoral sustainable digital workforce.

About the Coalition: In 2016 the European Commission set up the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition. Formed in the context of the Digital Europe programme, its mission is to improve digital skills in Member States so as to facilitate the shift towards a digital society. Hence, it targets groups and individuals such as citizens, students and the labour force who have limited or no experience with proper use of new technologies and services for increasing their digital literacy and employability and ultimately easing their everyday activities and interactions. Moreover, the Coalition focuses on more mature in the digital area groups, such as teachers and ICT professionals for developing competences with a direct impact in the digital economy.

The Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition forms a pan-European partnership of public and private digital skills actors such as, but not limited to, Ministries, educational and training institutions or Information Technology companies, who contribute to one or more of the four working groups of Education, Training, Citizens and ICT professionals. In order to provide better coordination at national and regional levels, National Coalitions are built.

Intersection with EOSC: It is evident that there are two big flows of policy recommendations and implementations about digital and data skills and training in Europe. In that sense, EOSC can be perceived as a cluster of the Coalition contributing to building competences and capacities on Open and FAIR aspects of Responsible Research and Innovation tailored to academic and research stakeholders, from students to service providers.

From the EOSC WG on Skills - the EOSC actors and their skillset

Below, the challenges that the Coalition is working on are described next to those concerning the EOSC: 

The Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition Members Charter emphasizes on:
  • Educating and training more young people for digital professions
  • Up-skilling and re-skilling the European labour force
  • Modernising education and training systems for the digital age
  • Improving the digital skills of all citizens
The EOSC Skills and Training Working Group focuses on:
  • Skills development framework (competences) for organizational culture change and service development
  • EOSC training framework/infrastructure (capabilities), targeting trainers and professional groups that support researchers in the stewardship of research outputs and service providers in providing their services via EOSC

A first step to identify the intersection between them and explore ways of cooperation between their stakeholders was recently issued by the EOSC Secretariat in the Open Call EOSC within National Strategies for Digital Skills.

It is interesting to see how EOSC will be perceived and/ or utilised by the Coalition in the future. Moreover, because a synergy between the Coalition and the EOSC could strengthen the knowledge triangle and accelate developments leading to data economy, jobs growth and new products, all being part of the shared vision they hold.

The Greek partnership: The National Coalition for Digital Skills and Jobs in Greece is coordinated by the Ministry of Digital Governance and is populated by founding members, who are responsible for producing national action plans, and by other organisations or initiatives participating either as pledgers or as members who drive the thematic approaches and implementation of action plans through independent or collaborative activities that they undertake. 

Founding members in Greece are the following:

  1. Ministry of Administrative Reconstruction
  2. Ministry of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media
  3. Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Welfare
  4. Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs
  5. Ministry for Economy and Development
  6. General Secretariat for Gender Equality
  7. Foundation of Hellenic ICT Enterprises


Athena Research Center's contribution: Athena Research Center (Αthena RC) participates in the National Coalition for Digital Skills and Jobs in Greece as pledger in the Education and Training Working Groups, represented by the OpenAIRE Greek NOAD. With a strong legacy in Open and Data Science, Athena RC enhances the Coalition's dynamic with skills pertaining data management, particularly focusing on digital/ data curation and stewardship. Furthermore, it communicates demands from the perspectives of academia and the research sector and raises awareness to priorities about skills and training of the European Research Area (ERA) and the EOSC, some of which could be of common interest and fit in the groups activities.

Towards the next action plan: In an attempt to redefine its action plan for 2020, the Greek Coalition held virtual kick off meetings for each working group last month. The meetings introduced group leaders, welcomed new members - Athena RC being one of them - and provided the opportunity for all members to get to know each other and identify potential areas of collaborations between them. Simultaneously, this worked as an exercise to understand members' strengths and possibilities in capacity building on top of which the action plans will be designed. Representatives from the Ministry of Digital Governance shared the objectives of the national coalition for the upcoming months and gave working groups the liberty to propose short-term and long-term actions based on those directions. More specific, these fall under the broader objectives of the European Coalition for Digital Skills and Jobs and are the following:

  • Digital skills for students and teachers
  • Up-skilling and re-skilling the labour force
  • Youth unemployment and vocational training
  • Youth, businesses and citizens awareness about ICT professions.

Horizontal topics were also stressed for driving designation of core activities. Higher in the agenda are ensuring national participation at the EU Code Week in October and populating the coalition with new members from different sectors across Greece, such as the research sector which currently lacks representation.

Athena RC was present at the kick off meetings of both the Education Working Group led by Onassis Stegi and the Training Working Group led by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Athena RC informed about its mission, explained how it is fulfilled and highlighted informative, educational and training activities that are performed by its institutes and units, including the OpenAIRE NOAD contribution. In addition, the skills and training policy environment in EOSC was briefly introduced.

The Training Working Group: Following the successful kick-offs, the Training Working Group had another meeting this week to discuss the leader's suggestions for long-term and short-term actions of the group. The suggested actions concern a variety of target audiences (public sector workforce, enterprises, women, health sector), technologies (fintech, blockchain, AI, deep learning, coding) and approaches. The members of the Training Working Group expressed their first impressions on the suggested actions stating where they could contribute. The General Secretariat for Research and Technology and Athena RC proposed ways of involving researchers in those activities, especially for issues related to health and life sciences which seems to be of priority. The working group leader welcomed new ideas and the meeting ended with members confirming that they will thoroughly review the suggested actions and provide input before the next meeting in mid-July where the group's final action plan will be determined.



Check out the Open Call issued by the EOSCSecretariat: EOSC within National Strategies for Digital Skills

 

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04 Dec 2020

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