Brussels, BELGIUM | 26 FEBRUARY 2013


Today, youth unemployment in the EU27 is higher than 20%. While demand for employees with ICT skills is growing by around 3% a year, pessimistic projections warn that if nothing is done to resolve the mismatch between current skills and needs of the labour market, up to 800.000 (1) ICT practitioners’ vacancies will remain unfilled by 2015.

Accenture, Liberty Global and Microsoft decided to take action. Together with Telecentre-Europe, an umbrella organisation that represents ICT learning centres & library networks from all over Europe, they created the Get Online Week Alliance that will support this year’s Get Online Week campaign – happening between 18-24 March 2013.

The annual Get Online Week campaign empowers people to use technology and the internet, to benefit from today’s online world of opportunities. The campaign connects ICT learning centres, public libraries, NGOs, schools, ICT companies & public authorities from all over Europe, through a large series of exciting events, training sessions & competitions that highlight the essential role ICT skills play in today’s society.

Since its take-off in 2010, Get Online Week has reached more than 500.000 Europeans in more than 20.000 learning centres across Europe. Thanks to the campaign, more than 100.000 people have used the internet for the very first time.

This year, the campaign will have a strong focus on youth. As they are already online but are lacking proper knowledge to use the internet & technology to further develop their personal & professional lives, the European centres, supported by the Get Online Week Alliance, will boost their abilities to work, learn, entertain & communicate online, to build a strong digital identity, and to raise their awareness over the importance of online safety.

Mara Jakobsone, Chair of Telecentre-Europe, emphasized the importance of partnerships between the ICT industry, NGOs and the public sector to achieve the common goals of youth skills and employability: “Telecentre-Europe and its member organisations from 27 countries work closely with the ICT industry, governments and NGOs to contribute to the goals of the Digital Agenda for Europe in their countries. With the Get Online Week Alliance, we are happy to bring this cooperation to a Pan-European level.”

Sylvie Laffarge, Director Citizenship Europe at Microsoft added: “Connecting in particular young people to greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship in Europe today is a key concern for all of us. By equipping young Europeans with eSkills, we can help set the course for youth to avail of such opportunities. The Get Online Week campaign is a great example of how industry and the voluntary sector can work together to help close the gap between youth skills and labour market needs in Europe.”

The Get Online Week campaign will bring together young and older people in exciting intergenerational learning activities. In many European countries, digital inclusion and online safety is still extremely important, therefore the campaign will keep aiming at engaging new internet users online and will encourage young users to stay safe online.

Manuel Kohnstamm, Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer of Liberty Global, said: “We are proud to be part of the Get Online Week Alliance. We believe that everyone should be included and be safe in the digital world. We support Get Online Week to promote our digital society initiatives. For example our ‘Internet Buttons’ tool that helps internet beginners and seniors to get online, by bringing generations together through the use of technology. We also believe it is extremely important for young people to manage and be aware of the impact of their online reputations. Therefore, we have created ‘The Web We Want‘, a new educational handbook for 13-16 year olds, which encourages teenagers to reflect on issues such as digital footprints, online reputation, rights and responsibilities.”

During the campaign, the ICT learning networks will use various tools to support the three main themes of Get Online Week 2013: My Digital Identity – Empowering youth already online, My eSkills Portfolio – Towards a job full of ICT and My Online Journey – Engaging new onliners. Participants of the Get Online Week will be captured by a mini-survey that will provide live online data on how Europeans are engaged online through the campaign activities.

Ericka Cogne, Corporate Citizenship Manager of Accenture, continued: “Through its ‘Skills to Succeed‘ program, Accenture is supporting through pro bono and cash giving the Get Online Week based on its conviction that IT skills development is key to get a job or build a business. Accenture is committed to equipping 500.000 people around the world by 2015 with the skills to get a job or build a business.”

Laurentiu Bunescu, Get Online Week Campaign Manager concluded: “Get Online Week has spread in just a few years across the entire European region, but it’s not going to stop here. This year, Telecentre-Europe is working with its partner, the Foundation, to pilot campaign activities in Africa and Asia , so we are heading towards a global campaign in the following years.”

Notes for the Editor

Get Online Week is a European wide campaign run by Telecentre-Europe and the Get Online Week Alliance, engaging and empowering people to use technology and the internet with confidence and skills that allow them to benefit from the online world of opportunities.

The Get Online Week Alliance is a group formed by Accenture, Liberty Global and Microsoft, supporting and contributing to the Get Online Week 2013 campaign.

Telecentre-Europe AISBL is a not for profit international Association based in Belgium. It provides inclusive support to the vibrant network of ICT learning centres (also known as “telecentres”) in NGOs, libraries, municipalities & education venues all across Europe, to increase their impact and effectiveness and by fostering knowledge sharing & learning amongst its members. There are an estimated 20.000 centres within the network, all publicly accessible places where people can get help to access computers, the internet and other digital technologies that enable them to gather information, create, learn, and communicate with others.

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(1) A set of recent data and forecasting scenarios were presented at a recent conference in Brussels: Towards a European Quality label for ICT industry training and certifications.

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