DELSA is the concrete answer to specific needs in the field of upskilling adults, with focus on Digital Skills for Digitally Upskilling Adults. The choice for the topic (Digital Skills) is due to the relevance of digital skills in modern social and economic environment. Digital Skills for Digitally Upskilling Adults is a priority for Erasmus+
The Mapping of Digital Skills & Competences for Digitally Upskilling Adults will outline real and perceived learning needs, through a series of qualitative and quantitative data and information.
DELSA Mapping is highly innovative as it involves the benchmarking against occupational competences and qualification frameworks of the Digital Skills to ensure that the training developed in IO3 is relevant, timely and concrete.
The EC Europe 2020 plan includes a digital single market strategy as one of its top 10 political priorities. The strategy seeks to promote better online access to goods and services across Europe, create an optimal environment for digital networks and services, and to take full advantage of the digital economy as a potential driver for growth. Europe is experiencing a digital job shortage, increasing at 4% per year, and there is a gap between the demand for digital skills and the actual skills among European citizens. This gap is primarily due to low digital competence levels, since connectivity and access to basic ICT infrastructure is widely available Europe-wide. Over 219 million EU households (99.9%) had access to at least one of the main fixed or mobile broadband access technologies according to the Broadband Coverage in Europe 2017 Report. In contrast 17% of the EU population have no digital skills (2017), and the share of EU citizens without basic digital skills is 43% according to the Digital Skills Indicator, a composite indicator based on the Digital Competence Framework for Citizens. These figures imply level of digital exclusion risk for 43% of the EU population in a context of rapid community and economy digitisation. Further, 35% of the EU labour force did not have at least basic digital skills (in 2017) which are now required in most jobs, predominantly because they did not use the internet.
The DELSA Project is a two-year EASMUS+ project with five country representatives and one pan-European partner working collectively to develop free open source digital skill training materials for upskilling adults with minimal digital capability. The rational of the project is that better digital skills help improve productivity, increase the opportunities of finding a job and help balance personal and professional lives. However, citizens without digital awareness or digital skills cannot access digital government services and employment opportunities that almost universally require digital skills. Further there is a correlation between lack of digital capability human capital and willingness to become digitally connected which will limit the goal of a digitally connected inclusive Europe. The new EU skills agenda for Europe recognises the need to support cooperation among education, employment and industry stakeholders to improve the digital skills of the wider population.