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European Vocational Skills Week
News article25 September 2019Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Adapting to the digital age


With digital technology constantly developing at an unprecedented rate, the world of work is having to adapt its methods and skills to stay relevant and make the most of emerging digital opportunities.

A news item written by the European Commission has suggested that technological change is one of many factors that are altering the fundamental nature of education and work.

The effects

Rapid advances in digital technology have led to an increase in productivity from workers and businesses. Machines and technology are able to perform tasks efficiently and regularly. This has prompted changes in the job market and a revision of the skills required to stay competitive in today’s work industries.

Technology is making some jobs obsolete – Machines are being used to replace some manual labour positions such as factory and construction workers.

Computers are being integrated into working life – Technology is now playing a huge part in supporting employees in the workplace e.g. research communication and operating machinery.

New forms of employment are being created – Many new job opportunities have become available and self-employment without employees is on the rise.

Digital skills are increasingly more necessary – There’s a shortage of these skills in the EU, as well as skills in entrepreneurship and creativity.

What is being done

To help Europe adapt to a changing work environment, the European Commission has set about implementing a range of initiatives:

Skills Agenda for Europe – An agenda has been set (originally in 2016) that aims to provide the people of Europe with better digital skills.

EU rules on transparent and predictable working conditions – A new set of rules has been created to increase protection for the most at-risk workers.

Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers – Help for working parents and carers will allow them to combine their family lives and professional careers.

How to adapt

For those looking to adapt to the digital age, Vocational Education and Training (VET) could be the perfect way to improve their digital skills and succeed in the modern working environment.

On the job training –Workplace learning allows students to gain access to the latest industry technology, providing an opportunity to obtain relevant industry experience.

Upskilling – Regularly upskilling is an excellent way of keeping up to date with the changes in technology. Both experienced and young professionals need to be skilled in these next-gen technologies and upskilling provides the perfect opportunity to develop existing skills and add new ones.

Reskilling – Anyone looking to retrain in a completely new career path can use VET to do exactly that. It’s a great way to break into a new career path and gain practical experience.

Improving digital skills may not be enough – Due to the changing nature of digital technology, a grasp of digital literacy may not always be enough. Learning in a working environment will also provide strong complementary skills, such as communication, leadership and organisational skills. It’s a combination of these that will drive success in the digital age.

European Vocational Skills Week 2019 is a great opportunity to get yourself involved in VET. A huge number of events are being held throughout Europe, making it an excellent chance to start your VET career path.

Find relevant events near you here.