Scientific papers


B. Baruque-Zanón1
J.E. Sierra-Garcia 1
H. Cogollos-Adrián1
L. Keane2
1 Universidad de Burgos (SPAIN)
2 University of Limerick (IRELAND)
About this paper:

Appears in: INTED2024 Proceedings
Publication year: 2024
Pages: 4008-4015
ISBN: 978-84-09-59215-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2024.1029

Conference name: 18th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-6 March, 2024
Location: Valencia, Spain


SMEs are increasingly aware that digitization is the key for being more competitive and for achieving higher business development. One of the principal barriers that European SMEs are facing is the lack of relevant qualifications and experience of potential candidates.

The need for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) skills is also highlighted in a report by the Learning and Knowledge Development Facility (LKDF) of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the European Training Foundation (ETF). As shown in the report, 76.2% of 105 companies surveyed felt that their need for improvement is mainly in ICT skills. Thus, digital or ICT skills are increasingly important for both work and life.

The objective of this contribution is to present the project “CovEring the trAining Gap in digital skills for European SMEs manpower” (EAGLE), included in the funding from the 2022 call of the Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL) developed by the European Commission. The main aim of the EAGLE project is to design and deliver high-quality specialised training courses with no cost for participants, reflecting the latest developments in the aforementioned key capacity areas, supporting the development of advanced digital skills of people in the labour force, with a focus on SMEs, both for managers and employees.

To this end, interviews and questionnaires will be conducted to identify the needs of the SMEs. Based on these needs, specific courses will be developed to provide training in the competencies, skills and content identified. These courses will be reviewed by experts from industry and academia external to the project. Following the review, the courses will be piloted to see if the format is well suited to the needs of the participants. After the review and implementation of the pilots, the courses will be delivered.

These courses will strengthen the relationship between private companies, especially SMEs; and Higher Education Institutions. The project will contribute to digital transformation of businesses, contributing to the EUʼs digital ambitions for 2030 through concrete terms in regard to innovators, Late adopters, and Tech-up take. Furthermore, the project will contribute to gender convergence, relative to digital skills of people in the labour force (framed in skills as one of the cardinal points of the Europe´s Digital Decade: Digital decade for 2030), contributing to the EUʼs digital ambitions for 2030 through concrete terms.


SMEs, Workplace Learning, Digitalization, ICT.