CIONET Portugal, in collaboration with key national partners on IT sector, held last Friday the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs Summit where more than one hundred organizations got involved in the debate and development of specific measures and action plans for revolutionizing the employment and investment in ICT in Portugal.
CIONET Portugal held on October 3rd the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs Summit, an initiative to aware the community of the challenges that companies and professionals on information and communication technology sector are facing today and of the opportunities of value creation that today are not yet fully harnessed.
The Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs is a European wide initiative launched by the European Commission in March 2013. The Commission is leading a partnership with multiple stakeholders to address the lack of skills in Europe and hundreds of thousands of unfilled vacancies in ICT. Throughout the European Union several business leaders have joined the Grand Coalition and defended the Davos Declaration for the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs.
CIONET Portugal, in collaboration with APDC, APDSI, FCT, FPC, ISACA, PBS, TICE.PT and UCP, gave a step forward towards the creation of a National Coalition on a summit with three main guidelines: retaining talent in the technology sector, re-skilling and updating skills among the Portuguese talent, and attracting digital job “generators” for Portugal. For the first time in the country this topics joined together over 100 organizations and gained consistency in the voices of 40 professionals and business leaders from some of the most reputable companies and institutions in the country.
The opening of the summit was in charge of Frits Bussemaker, Liaison European Relations at CIONET, preceding the President of the European Commission Durão Barroso. Durão Barroso in his intervention made reference to the fact that the European Commission already received more than 57 projects since the beginning of this initiative. It has the support of worldwide leader companies and policymakers in all Europe. The EC President emphasized that “Between 2014 and 2020 Portugal has at its disposal structural funds in a global value of 26 thousand million Euros. (…) Part of this money may and should be invested in the digital area”. Durão Barroso still leaves the challenge to the entities operating in the ICT sector to “make the push” that the Portuguese economy and society need.
The afternoon interventions were lead by Leonor Parreira, Secretary of State of Science, António Murta, Digital Champion Portugal in 2013, and António Pires de Lima, Minister of Economic Affairs.
António Murta referred to the multiplying effect of Intellectual Property as an excellent opportunity for Portugal but mentions that at training level the knowledge obsolescence in the sector should be accounted for. At the same time he affirms that education should present itself with an offer more flexible and adapted to business and professionals’ needs. Concluding, António Murta introduces the need to challenge big corporations (with big needs) to set foot in Portugal with the expression “”Importing” some business men or corporations is cheaper than “exporting” many engineers”.
The work sessions had the presence of companies such as Microsoft, HP Portugal, Nestlé, Ynvisible, CRITICAL Software, FixeAds/OLX, ES Tech Ventures, Banco BIC, Deloitte, NOS, Ericsson, Chamartín, Crowdfunding Portugal, WyGroup or Innowave Technologies, side by side with agencies as IEFP, ANJE, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, IAPMEI, Anacom, Instituto de Telecomunicações, INESC Porto, IPBPM and ESPAP or even education representatives such as IST, Universidade de Coimbra or FEUP.
Carlos Salema, President of Instituto de Telecomunicações, defends that the domain of technology in Portugal depends on education and R&D of academic base. Pedro Janela, CEO of WyGroup, also points out education as a solution for market mismatches, supporting the focus of high school education on STEM fields. Tiago Gonçalves, CEO of Innowave Technologies, alerts to the possibility of upgrading the necessary resources for ICT tasks that do not require high level of technical or functional knowledge; for example, convert teachers into testers, analysts or project managers.
The debate went around topics like foreign investment and entrepreneurship. João Silva, HR Director, sets FixeAds as an example of a company that looked for an unexplored market segment with high potential and attracted foreign capital into the country. Pedro Domingos, Managing Director & Co-Founder of Crowdfunding Portugal, emphasizes the complexity of supporting programs for entrepreneurs as an improvement point. Inês Henriques, CEO of Ynvisible, refers that “there is not yet critical mass in Portugal for the creation of an entrepreneurship supporting network directed to non-financial needs: IP protection, international business development, marketing & public relations, etc.”
Digital Agenda and economic growth were analysed, among others, by Miguel Eiras Antunes, Partner at Deloitte, that pointed out the constraints in on-line public services usage. Miguel Eiras Antunes criticizes the lack of usability in public service systems and refers that these are built from an offer perspective and not from a user perspective.
This is one step forward to the National Coalition for Digital Jobs. CIONET Portugal is proud to be part of this vital project for the national economy. However, the hard work is still to come and we call all business entities to support this initiative.