The territory is characterised by a high concentration of technological and industrial enterprises and thus, a concentration of ICT related employment within the companies and within enterprises providing high value services to the latter (more than 20% of the existing employments in the service sector concentrate in the sector “high value services provided to companies”, INE –national institute for statistics, 2010). However, there is a gap between the demanded digital skills and the existing ones among the workforce that urge an updating of relevant e-skills.
Thus, there is a demand for ICT practitioner skills among the workforce. This situation is confirmed by the national e-skills gap index provided by the Evaluation report of the implementation of the EC communication on e-skills for the 21st century: the e-skills gap in Spain reported by the interviewed enterprises constitutes an index of 3 (on a scale from 1-7). RED LOCAL is characterised by a relatively low number of graduates from ICT and science related curricula in relation to the potential of employment opportunities that the sector can offer. This situation is also reflected on national level by the EU e-skills monitor that foresees an excess demand of 500.000 e-skills jobs in a “back to normal (after the crisis)” scenario for 2015 in Spain. This future shortage of workers with digital skills can also be anticipated for RED LOCAL.
Being in a DIGITAL ECONOMY, the high demand for workers with digital skills and the constant need to update these are also reflected by the regional situation that RED LOCAL is embedded in.
As many urban territories in Europe, the Consortium Red Local is suffering from the economic and financial crisis. The unemployment rate has reached very high levels especially among the young population. Red Local is characterised by a relatively low number of graduates from ICT and science related curricula in relation to the potential of employment opportunities that the sector can offer. Being in a digital economy, the still insufficient digital literacy levels among the workforce are acting as a barrier to economic growth, competitiveness and employment.
The Consortium Red Local disposes of a network of centre for public internet access in which specific e-skills training is imparted. In 2010 more than 200 training courses have been organised. In addition, e-skills upgrading activities are also endorsed by strategies and VET training plans such as: “Arganda formación 2.0”. However, digital skills are still insufficient and the effort has to be intensified.
Since 2011, the Consortium Red Local is leading the transnational PROGRESS VP/2010/005 project “E-SKILLS: Mutual learning for the improvement of employment opportunities for young people in the ICT sector. A transnational approach”. In the context of the economic crisis, the project aims to improve the access of young people to the e-employments through the exchange of experiences and mutual learning at European level. Both public authorities and private non-profit institutions are working to present a set of concrete measures be able to improve ICT employment opportunities for young people by transmitting the relevant skills matching labour market demands and, thus, meeting the objectives of the European Employment Strategy. In the framework of the project, first events to sensitize youth on the employment opportunities that the ICT offers have been organised.
The E4C URBACT II project proposal aims to go further, dealing with DIGITAL ENCONOMY and the corresponding e-skills, working precisely on integrated and sustainable local policies.