Transition 4.0 and PNRR: the challenge of digital skills

The data emerging from the Digitization Index of the Italian Economy and Society (DESI) push the need to act to increase the level of digital skills.

Transition 4.0 and PNRR: the challenge of digital skills

The data emerging from the Digitization Index of the Italian Economy and Society (DESI) push the need to act to increase the level of digital skills.

The National Plan for Recovery and Resilience (PNRR), wants to seize the many opportunities related to the digital revolution.

In fact, among the causes of economic performance and distance from other European countries is identified a digital backwardness due to lack of adequate infrastructure, a lack of familiarity with digital technologies, a low level of digital skills. We are not digital enough to call ourselves full-fledged digital citizens.

Developing digital skills at all levels is a prerequisite to ensure that everyone can participate in society and the world of work and benefit from the digital transition. Avoiding the digital divide requires not only supporting equal access to infrastructure and equipment, but also the possession of digital skills.

Digitization in the NRP is seen as a cross-cutting need that affects production processes, infrastructure as a whole, schools (curriculum, teacher and student skills, administrative functions, quality of buildings), and healthcare (infrastructure, medical devices, staff skills). 

To fill this wide-ranging gap, a total of 235.6 billion euros has been allocated (191.5 from the Recovery and Resilience Facility - 31 from the Complementary Fund - 13.5 from the React-Eu program). 

The objective to be pursued (by means of an agenda outlining the path of planned activities and activation of calls for proposals) is to bridge the digital skills gap, reaching at least 70% of the digitally able population by 2026. 
For the definition of an operating model and support systems, the reference period for the activation of the first call is the first half of 2022.
In the first semester of 2023 is expected the second call on Digital Civil Service (for which it is expected the recruitment of several thousand young people with the task of supporting those most at risk of digital divide to acquire basic digital skills) and agreements with the regions for digital facilitation services ("territorial network of digital support").
The second half of 2023 will see regional calls for proposals for active facilitation services and for the activation/enhancement of digital facilitation nodes. 
The first semester of 2024 will see the third call for the finalization of the calls for Digital Civil Service, reaching the goal of 3 million citizens trained through the various initiatives put in place (in the first semester of 2026).

The person at the center of PNRR

The first Mission aims at a modern Public Administration (PA) allied to citizens and the production system, in which technology is "at the service of people". The aim is to push for the migration of administrations to the cloud and the broadening of the range of services offered, focusing on efficiency (for example, not requiring citizens and businesses to provide the same information more than once from different public bodies) and the effective response to the needs of users (for example, offering support to citizens and businesses in a digital environment), and reducing the time needed for bureaucracy. 

The NRP focuses on national digital service platforms (PagoPA, the IO app), new services are introduced (single platform of digital notifications, with legal value) and the digital identity system is strengthened, starting with SPID and CIE. The customer experience is kept in mind: for example, there is a tendency towards common standards of quality (functionality and navigability of websites and apps) and to guarantee accessibility for all citizens.

But technology is always the child of the head of the people, separating them is not possible. From this point of view, it is crucial to accustom citizens to the use of this new model of PA. In fact, alongside the digital transformation of infrastructures and services, the National Reform Programme envisages interventions to support citizens' skills, a path of digital literacy for the country at various levels.

Digital training

In the PNRR, specific interventions are foreseen for companies, aimed at encouraging training activities for digitalization and development of skills: there is a move towards the experimentation of training programs on digital upskilling as a tool for continuous training (Transition 4.0).

Digital skills training is also a hot topic in Education and Research. In the RNR, the development of digital competencies of school staff, teachers, and students is promoted to "foster an accessible, inclusive, and intelligent approach to digital education." Clearly, there is provision, in addition to training, for the upgrading and innovation of learning environments, so that school spaces become connected learning environments that are adaptable, flexible and digital.

E-skills are also seen as an element of inclusion: vulnerable or disabled individuals will be provided with ICT devices and support to develop e-skills, in order to facilitate their economic independence and reduce barriers to accessing the labor market through smart working solutions.

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