Telefónica Commits to EU Tech Job Pledge
Technology companies, including ARM, Cisco and Telefónica, have joined a 'Grand Coalition' announced by the EU commissioner for technology at Davos in order to boost digital skills, innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Neelie Kroes said that Europe would have 1m new tech jobs by 2016 and 2m by 2020, with up to a fifth of these in the UK. The initiative should equip Europeans with technological skills and knowledge to fill these roles.
Telefónica’s COO, José María Álvarez-Pallete, pledged to give support to 1,000 start-ups globally by 2015 through its Wayra Academy programmes, along with commissioning an attitudes survey of Millennial adults in the 27 member states and launching a new tech event in London, Campus Party Europe, to take place in September. Telefónica also aims to have built an online community of 300,000 young entrepreneurial Europeans, to teach digital literacy to 50,000 students in its Think Big School and get 5,000 young people and graduates into tech roles via its Talentum programme.
"The transition to a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy is accelerating, but skills shortages and gaps are negatively impacting growth, competitiveness, innovation and employment in Europe," said Álvarez-Pallete, speaking at the World Economic Forum. "We believe that commissioner Neelie Kroes' Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs is a very helpful catalyst to help European recovery. The private sector has a critical role to play and we will be working actively to build a real momentum across Europe".
Telefónica has already been working to address existing skills gaps and encourage entrepreneurship, launching five Wayra start-up academies in Europe in the last 12 months. The company, which owns the UK's O2 network and serves 100m customers in the EU, says it has invested in a new start-up every three days and created nearly three new jobs every day since Warya opened its doors. It has also trained 4,180 young people to start their own social projects and taught 1,000 young people about digital skills.