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European Education Area

Quality education and training for all

Digital Education Action Plan – Action 12

Digital Opportunity Traineeships

90% of jobs in all sectors require some level of digital skills, yet 42% of European citizens do not have basic digital skills (European Comission, 2021). People in the labour force – farmers, bank employees, and factory workers alike – also lack sufficient digital skills, despite the increasing need for such skills in all jobs.

Companies all over Europe struggle to find qualified workers who are able to carry the digital transition. In 2017, over half (53%) of all businesses that recruited or tried to recruit information communication technology (ICT) specialists experienced difficulties in filling these vacancies. 

In addition to the lack of digital skills required by the labour market, an additional challenge is that more than two thirds of all Europeans do not have a basic level of digital skills (Digital Economy and Society Index).


To address these challenges, in 2018 the European Commission set up a pilot project, the so-called ‘Digital Opportunity Traineeships’ (DOT), to give higher education students in all disciplines the opportunity to gain hands-on professional experience in digital fields demanded by the labour market. 

This scheme provides trainees with the opportunity to strengthen their information-communication-technology-specific skills in fields, such as cybersecurity, big data, quantum technology and machine learning, and to boost digital skills for businesses in areas including web design, digital marketing and software development. 

The DOT extension builds upon the success of this pilot project by extending it to 2021 and now includes higher education staff and vocational education and training (VET) learners, as well as recent graduates.

Key activities

  • the DOT extension was launched in April 2021 as part of the 2021 Erasmus+ general call (under the Mobility Action, Key Action 1)

Expected results

  • boosted digital skills for students, recent higher education and VET graduates in relation to their fields of study
  • enriched digital pedagogical skills of higher education staff 


  • the action started in 2021 and will continue until 2027 under an annual call 


This action is funded by the EU’s Erasmus+ programme.

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