Today, professionals need digital skills to work with new technologies, while businesses need digital solutions to keep up to date with rapid changes in society. The demand from the public and private sector for people with digital skills is high but the supply is low, with businesses often struggling to find talent for digital roles. The impact of all this is a dampener on economic growth, slower transformation of everyday services, and many people unable to access rewarding careers in technology.

In EU countries 57% of enterprises find it difficult to fill ICT specialist roles. In fact, Europe needs 20 million ICT specialists by 2030, but at current trends this target will be missed. If things don’t change the EU will achieve less than half of the potential economic value of its Digital Decade, the equivalent of 1.5 trillion Euros, according to research earlier this year.

Looking more widely at the international picture, according to new research more than two-thirds of companies (70%) report hiring challenges when it comes to roles requiring digital skills.

So, AWS is helping the EU change this situation and bridge the skills gap. AWS leaders are already deeply invested in helping to solve the digital skills challenge – and committed to providing free cloud skills training 29 million people worldwide by 2025. Now in our second year, we’ve trained more than 13 million people globally.

AWS has a wide range of training courses and collaborates with hundreds of training providers to offer a wide range of free cloud skills training opportunities every year – delivered both virtually and locally, in the region.

One of those programs is called AWS re/Start.

AWS helps the EU bridge the digital skills gap

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AWS re/Start provides net new cloud talent to AWS customers and partners. It provides free training that prepares people with day-one ready skills such as Python, Linux, BASH Scripting and AWS Core Services. The program is focused on unemployed or underemployed individuals, and attracts a wide range of communities, including those returning to work, those seeking to reskill, and disadvantaged young people. The program is deliberate in its intentions to increase diversity in the technology industry. That is why the learner population includes a high percentage of females, people from under-served communities and people from low-economic backgrounds. The program is currently offered in 42 countries across EMEA.

Businesses across EMEA highly value AWS re/Start because it helps them find high quality candidates for technical jobs. Every year thousands of people across EMEA complete this programme and boost the supply of cloud talent. Companies that have hired AWS re/Start graduates, such as NTT Data and Capgemini, have returned to this pool of high quality talent because of the skills they bring to the positions from day one. It’s a win-win for business and for the people who can launch rewarding cloud careers.

By working with AWS Partner Network members, AWS is directly helping the EU to meet its ambitions of upskilling and re-skilling millions of people to help drive the modern economy, transform businesses and improve the services we use every day. From ordering groceries to hiring a bike, we all rely on the people who power cloud technology.

Ignasi Aranda Casals, Head of AWS Technology at NTT DATA, said, “AWS re/Start has given businesses like ours access to very high-quality people who are ready to hit the ground running on our transformational work in the cloud. It’s hard to find diverse talent with cloud skills in Spain, and in our other countries in Europe and Latam, and so this program is a huge help for us. I would encourage other technology business leaders to take a good look at AWS re/Start to help them find talented people.”

Claire Spiller, the head of AWS re/Start for EMEA said, “I’m so proud of the work that our collaborating organizations and partners are doing to re-skill these individuals, and thrilled that firms are gaining highly-motivated and skilled candidates to drive their businesses forward. There are countless lives being changed in EMEA as a result of this program, and it is just one part of Amazon’s global commitment to train 29 million people in cloud skills by 2025.”

AWS re/Start now operates in more than 180 cities across more than 60 countries.

Read more about AWS re/Start, here.