Towards a European Quality label for ICT industry training and certification

Despite high levels of unemployment, shortages of skills continue to increase. The mismatch between the skills available and the needs of the labour market concern all Member States, even if it affects them to varying degrees. Remarkably, the demand for ICT practitioners is growing by around 3% a year, outstripping the supply. Forecast vacancies by 2015 vary from 372,000 to 864,000, and many of these will remain unfilled unless more is done to attract young people into computing degrees and to retrain unemployed people.

In this context, ICT industry training and certification is clearly an element in the possible solution. But there are barriers to overcome. An ICT practitioner faces an often bewildering range of thousands of certificates, whether starting a career or advancing towards areas of the highest demand. There is a lack of transparency, with a wide diversity of certificates covering the technical training offered by nearly every ICT vendor, foundations in information management, or high-end certificates. Moreover, many of these certificates exist in parallel to - but unrelated with - formal vocational and higher education.

This is the background to the study on “European Quality Labels for ICT Industry Training and Certifications” on behalf of the European Commission DG ENTR.

Download the project brochure

"We deeply appreciate the enthusiasm and the very positive feedback by all key stakeholders on our proposals for the development of a European e-skills quality label. It will really help in closing the ICT skills gap in Europe".

Werner B. Korte,
Director empirica GmbH

The European e-Competence Framework (e-CF) as a common competence framework and language was taken as the foundation for the development of the European e-skills quality label and associated services which can bring orientation and transparency in the un-transparent ICT training and certification landscape since industry-based ICT training and certification can play a role to fill the identified e-skills gaps likely to even further grow over the coming years. It could also build the foundation for the definition of the ICT Profession. The above services are needed to provide guidance to those getting interested and motivated in starting and pursuing a career in an ICT profession. This could be achieved through a European e-Skills Quality Label for industry-based training and certifications – demanding a mapping of certifications on to the European e-Competence Framework (e-CF) as one key criterion to be fulfilled for an awarding of the quality label discriminating quality certifications from those of doubtful quality.

This could be further enhanced by an e-skills self-assessment tool like the one developed in the project (www.eskillslandscape.eu) building on the e-CF which would help:

  • ICT practitioners trying to advance their career using the above tools to identify the next steps to go and certifications to take,
  • students thinking about an career in ICT and using the tools for profiling own skills and competences and comparing these to those required for specific ICT job profiles which are demanded in the market,
  • HR managers and CIOs in the process of staff recruitment, skills upgrading and promotion,
  • employment agencies and staffing industry in job placement processes,

individuals profiling themselves and their skills, competences, experiences etc. and mapping these to those demanded by companies offering jobs, with both parties using a common competence framework.