Digital Gap & Accessibility
A very important point to raise and constantly remember which affects all adult learners transversally is accessibility to these digital skills. Even though devices are becoming increasingly more common in daily life, there is an economical factor which plays a big role in broadening the gap between those who can easily access and acquire digital platforms, therefore practice and develop their digital skills, and those who simply can’t. Dealing with a wide variety of learner profiles will be challenging for the trainers but taking innovative approaches and giving learners solutions as to how they can practice and acquire these digital skills is key.
Digital competences for employability
The European Commission – DG CONNECT published the results of the study “ICT for Work: Digital skills in the workplace”(2017) which explored how jobs have evolved in the EU digital economy and how these digital technologies have penetrated into the workplace. One of the biggest impacts was that the digitization of the economy is creating a polarization of the labour market, the latter requiring high-skilled individuals agile in new technologies to carry our professions which before didn’t require that level of ICT skills.
Eurostat also published(2017) really interesting figures on digital skills and labour market which supported the mismatch between the digital skills jobs now demanded and the existing supply. According to Eurostat’s 2017 data, 85% of jobs in the EU need a basic level of digital skills, yet 43% of the EU population lacks even this level. In addition to this, 29% of the workers have to learn how to use new equipment for their jobs and admit to requiring further training. This data may explain some of the frustration that adult learners feel when searching for employment. Many job-seekers for existing occupations such as administrative workers, practitioners and even other generic business functions decide to find jobs in other fields that require less ICT knowledge, even though these may be lower status jobs they are overqualified for in other ways, because they feel overwhelmed by these digital skills required.