Europe needs to perform better in building, keeping and maybe even regaining its talents, if this continent wants to take part in the competition with giants like China and the United States. EIT Digital CEO Willem Jonker raised a couple of sharp questions in his introduction to the graduation ceremony of the EIT Digital Master School. Last week, over 220 received their double master’s degree and a certificate from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
“This new cohort of graduates will offer Europe fresh talents to help drive the digital transformation” EIT Digital claims. “These talents are highly needed in Europe because according to the European Commission, forty per cent of companies have difficulties finding skilled ICT specialists and there will be 500,000 unfilled vacancies for ICT professionals by 2020.”
Willem Jonker asked the students who of them was using a European smartphone. No one could raise their hand. “So what is the problem that no one here has a European smartphone? What is the economic problem of this”, Jonker wanted to know. The problem is, he immediately answered his own question, that Apple has a bank account worth 250 billion euros, much of which was earned in Europe but will be invested in the U.S. “Yes, we have a serious problem in Europe. And that’s why I am so happy you are here, you are the talents that can help Europe to correct this unbalance in the world of digital platforms – and that is why EIT Digital is here.”
It’s all about people, Jonker continued. “In Europe, we can only create an innovative environment if we have the talents that are committed and are shaped, that do excellence research but are also transferring these results into European success stories.”
EIT Digital Master School is a two-year master programme where students study a technical master programme at two of the top technical universities in Europe. On top of the technical Master’s, students are trained in innovation and entrepreneurship.
According to Anders Flodström, Chief Education Officer at EIT Digital, this kind of graduates is in high demand highly by all types of business from startups to large corporates. Research among the EIT Digital Master School alumni shows that almost all of them find a job within six months of graduation or are recruited even before graduation. More than half of the alumni start or have the ambition to start their own business.
EIT Digital has offices around Europe; one of them is at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven.