WORKSHOP on Human Capital and Continuing Education in ICT

Organiser: Vassilios Laopodis (European Commission, seconded to the Greek General Secretariat for Research and Technology, email:

Since a number of years the ICT skills gap issue has been considered as one of the most critical for the development of the economy worldwide. Identified first by major vendors in both USA and Europe, it is since then in the agenda of all important policy meetings. The problem is particularly important for Europe and the region that has to cope also with differ-ent cultures and education systems.
Despite the sharp decline of the ICT sector in all major countries and the disappearance of the numerous dot.coms and the recent inevitable restructuring of large and small compa-nies (about 150.000 jobs lost in the ebusiness and ICT sector in 2000-2001) there is the para-dox: on the one hand observing massive losses of jobs in the ICT sector and on the other hand having immediate openings for ICT professional and no enough supply! Apparently there is a miss-match between supply and demand concerning ICT skills which results in shortages.
The shortage (difference between equivalent jobs required and available ones) from 1.23 million IT skills and 0.66 million eBusiness skills in 2000 is expected to become 1.74 million IT skills and 2.16 million eBusiness skills, i.e. a total shortage on demand: 13% in 2000; 18% in 2003.
There is growing demand of both high-level IT Skills for conceiving, developing, plan-ning, implementing, operating or maintaining information technology as their primary work; and also other IT Skills which do not require technical skills but an understanding of the use of IT within and by the enterprise and regardless of the amount of their work that requires these skills. The workplace demanding for IT skills involves: IT technology/resource devel-opers, IT service/resource providers, Internal IT service providers, Business unit users, and the new breeds in Europe refer to people for eBusiness strategic planning, use of the Internet and Internet initiatives execution and people for Call Centres and Online Support.
The impact of the European economy for instance can be drawn as following:
• Skills shortage could lead to some 3% loss of potential GDP in 2003
• IT and eBusiness skills shortage will hit business productivity and the pace of Web econ-omy development and hit differently countries and industry sectors
• Companies need a new breed of eBusiness executives to enter new markets faster and succeed in the Net scenario
All countries are concerned and demand for eBusiness skills as well as shortage will in-crease in every Western European country. Some education systems (Nordic countries, UK) will prepare competent skills faster but all counties will face particular problems in pushing SMEs go digital.
This workshop will discuss exactly this phenomenon, the measures proposed or under implementation in various countries and open a debate on how to cope in particular in SouthEastern Europe.
The workshop “Human Capital and Continuing Education in ICT” was designed to bring together academics with policy makers, the private sector and knowledge societies and em-ployment specialists, to discuss all the important facets of this burning issue. Dr Vassilios Laopodis, from the European Commission (presently on secondment to the Greek Ministry of Development/General Secretariat for Research and Technology) will chair the meeting.

Outline of the Program

Part I
In the first part entitled “ICT Skills Shortage : Problem Definition and Panorama of Ap-proaches” there will be an effort to present the issue, analyse the causes and look for best practices.
· Dr V. Laopodis, will open the part I with a presentation of the different “Policies and Initiatives for Reducing the ICT Skills Shortage in Europe” with a particular emphasis to best practices in European countries and the Commission.
· Mr Stig Arff, Project manager of EPICS at CEPIS-Council of European Informatics Pro-fessional Societies, will then discuss the question “ICT Professional: is our Profession an Attractive one?” and present the recent developments and initiatives of CEPIS, the or-ganisation behind the certification scheme ECDL/ICDL and the coming EPICS for ICT professionals.
· Mr Nikos Sabanis, General Manager, SUN Greece & Cyprus, will present the industry’s views and expectations for skilled scientists and workers focusing on “ICT Skills Education: Prerequisite for Economic Development”.
· Mr Nikitas Kastis, Manager of Lambrakis Research Foundation will present the results of a major study conducted on behalf of the Greek Ministry of Labour on “Information So-ciety and Impact on Employment”.
The first part will close with a discussion that will allow for some first conclusions to be drawn and prepare the agenda for the plenary.

Part II
The second part will focus on “E-learning and New Forms of Long Life Education and Trai-ning for ICT Professionals”.
· Ass. Professor Alexandros Kyrtsis, from the Athens University will discuss the role of society in this process in his lecture “ICT Literacy for all: a Societal Perspective”.
· Prof. Dr. Yannis Halaris, Professor of Informatics at TEI Athens, Member of Board of the Information Society S.A and Chairman of the TEI Staff Association, in his presenta-tion “e-Learning: Approaches for Vocational Training” will discus how e-learning meth-ods and tools can improve vocational training and contribute to ICT professionals prepa-ration.
· Dr Charalambos Vrasidas, from the Center for the Application of Information Technolo-gies at Western Illinois University will present his paper “STAR-Online: Building On-line Learning Communities for Professional Development and Continuing Education”.
· Dr Spyros Bakogiannis, President of the Greek computer Society, Director of TEE scheme at the Greek Ministry of Education will present the “ICT Skills Certification: from ECDL to EPICS” and the certification issue will then be discussed with a particular view on recent developments in Greece regarding certification of new professionals.

Part III
The third part will focus directly on the ICT and e-business Skills Shortage in the SouthEast Europe. The discussion will be organised around an expert’s panel composed of representa-tives from industry, academia, government, learned & professional societies and unions:

Views from Industry:
        Mr. Kyriakos Kokkinos, General Manager of IBM Cyprus
        Representative of SEPE (Association of Hellenic ICT companies)
Views from Academia:
        Professor Christos Nicolaou, Rector of the University of Crete
Views from Government:
        Representative of the Cyprus Government
Views from Learned & professional Societies:
        Mr Dimitris Eftaxias, Member of the Vocational Training Committee, Greek Computer Society
        Mr Panicos Massouras, Secretary of the Cyprus Computer Society
Views from Workers:
        Representative of the Cyprus Workers Union