AWS Public Sector Blog

AWS to Bridge the European Skills Gap

A post by Teresa Carlson, Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services

Today, I had the pleasure of taking the stage in Brussels and giving the keynote presentation at our first-ever European Public Sector Summit. I was inspired by the hundreds of organizations in attendance and by the number of whom have embraced the cloud to support their digital transformation initiatives. I also was awed by how much our customers have been able to achieve using AWS technology, notably the European Commission and Santillana. These leaders shared stories of saving money and delivering innovative digital solutions through AWS that are helping to build a better future.

As I discussed with Summit attendees, technology is just one half of the digital transformation formula. It is equally important that technologists gain the digital skills that are needed to realize the full potential of cloud and other digital technologies.

Right now, however, the gap between the number of skilled professionals in information and communication technologies (ICT) and the demand for such professionals is perceived to be a major roadblock to wider digital transformation for organizations across Europe. We’ve increasingly heard from our customers and partners about this skills gap, and the numbers confirm what they’ve told us. In fact, the European Commission’s report ‘The Digital Skills Gap in Europe,’ published in October 2017, found that almost 40% of companies trying to recruit ICT professionals reported difficulties in employing sufficiently skilled workers [1]. As a result, there are more than 350,000 open vacancies for ICT specialists in Europe.

We feel AWS has a role to play to help bridge this skills gap and to give European citizens the opportunities to learn these vitally important digital skills. This is why AWS became a member of the European Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition which brings together Member States, companies, social partners, nonprofit organizations, and education providers to take action to tackle this lack of digital skills. It is also with this in mind that AWS developed training programs that can create new opportunities and new jobs.

We also will continue to give access to AWS training programs, at no charge, and are committed to reaching more than 100,000 people in Europe this year. With this commitment, we want to continue empowering Europeans with highly sought-after cloud computing and digital transformation skills. Today, I want to encourage people to join our training sessions and access our available AWS training resources and programs such as AWS Academy, AWS Educate, AWSome days, AWS Tech Talks, and the digital platform. This educational content is delivered by AWS experts via online and in-person events. Our sessions are built to answer to the participant’s questions and bring value by sharing key learnings, tips, and best practices so those attending can immediately benefit from the cloud. The programs also accommodate differing levels of experience – even those with beginner’s level of knowledge can sign up. Europeans from all walks of life can learn about how to architect, design, and develop cloud-based applications using AWS and develop tangible skills to use the latest cloud computing technology in order to start their own business or find the job of their dreams.

Of course, all of these trainings are offered with the ultimate goal of connecting skilled workers with jobs. AWS programs and tools such as AWS re:Start and the AWS Educate Job Board are designed to do just that. AWS re:Start is a training, and job placement program designed to educate young adults, military veterans, members of the military reserve, those leaving the Armed Forces, and service spouses on the latest software development and cloud computing technologies. Working closely with the Ministry of Defence, QA Consulting, Experis, and Sage, the training and job placement programme offers work placements to graduates with AWS Partner Network (APN) partners and customers such as KPMG, Centrica, Rackspace Splunk, Virgin Money and Zopa. The AWS Educate Job Board is another way AWS is connecting Europeans with jobs. Through the Educate Jobs Board, AWS Educate trainees can apply for a Cloud Architect, Software Developer, Operations-Support Engineer, Analytics and Big Data Specialist job, or an internship in some of the most in-demand technology employers in the world, including Amazon, Blackboard, Cloudnexa, D2SI, GEKKO, Instructure, Nexity, Salesforce, Splunk, Udacity, WeScale, and more.

Last but not least, building the Europe of the future also requires a dialogue between policymakers, educational institutes, and technology companies to ensure that blockers like the ICT skills gap are addressed. This is why this morning we announced the AWS Institute program in Europe. The AWS Institute is a forum for European and global leaders to share and shape innovative ways to address some of the world’s most pressing public challenges, through technology. The program started with a roundtable to discuss ‘How New Technologies Can Shape The Future of Work’ and has been welcomed by many influential leaders. As we continue to build the AWS Institute in Europe, and roll out our training programs over the course of 2018, we look forward to meeting with more European leaders to keep building the European digital story, together.