Cedefop Executive Director Jürgen Siebel shared insights from the agency’s work regarding digital upskilling and reskilling in the European Union at a roundtable discussion organised by the Greek Ministry of Digital Governance on 11 September, in the context of the 85th Thessaloniki International Fair.

Mr Siebel spoke alongside Greek Minister for Digital Governance Kyriakos Pierrakakis and data scientist Christoforos Anagnostopoulos.

‘The pandemic has shown us that low digital skills are not compatible with virtual learning and work environments. Low digital skills make people unemployable for almost all jobs. It is more important than ever to ensure every adult has lifelong opportunities to update and expand their digital and other skills to help them navigate uncertain times and thrive in their career,’ noted Mr Siebel.

He referred to Cedefop research pre-Covid which showed that almost half (46%) of European adults have low or outdated skills. ‘This requires up- and reskilling at an unprecedented scale. We must double the speed of training,’ he added.

Greece is one of the countries with the highest up- and reskilling potential as more than half of its adult population have low or outdated skills.

According to the Cedefop Executive Director, ‘money alone is not the issue in upgrading skills; we also need to build up- and reskilling systems in ways that they cater to the needs of different people while considering business needs.’

It is important to address inequality in training participation with the low-skilled and older adults being the most disadvantaged, argued Mr Siebel. For the low-educated, participation is 50% lower EU-wide (in Greece, over 80% lower), and for older adults, 30% lower (in Greece, over 60% lower).

Mr Pierrakakis stressed that improving digital skills in Greece is a priority, and referred to a ‘citizen digital academy’ as one of the first electronic services established during his term in office.