Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Economy, Johan Vande Lanotte, has appointed Saskia Van Uffelen, CEO of Bull Belgium as the country’s ‘Digital Champion’. The appointment is the culmination of an initiative taken by Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner responsible for the Digital Agenda, who invited every Member State to nominate a ‘Digital Champion’, reflecting the Commission’s desire to tackle the digital challenge.
The role of the Digital Champion is to build greater awareness about ICT amongst citizens, communities and businesses, so as to stimulate growth in the local economy. Europe’s Digital Champions meet regularly and advise the European Commission on the strategy it should adopt towards digital technology.
Saskia Van Uffelen is planning to take a number of initiatives, brought together under the umbrella heading of ‘Live online!’. These actions are designed to encourage the growth of digital skills in education, the economy and among the most vulnerable groups of people in society. “I am very honoured to be taking on the responsibilities that have been given to me. This will enable me to carry on contributing to the implementation of a more effective and powerful digital society,” said Saskia Van Uffelen, who was also voted as ‘ICT Woman of the Year’ by Belgian magazine Data News.
“Initially, through the Live Online! campaign, I want to contribute to stimulating digital skills in education even more. It’s the only way to train young people about ITC so they can develop the necessary competencies and compete effectively in today’s market for jobs.”
As well as education, Saskia Van Uffelen also wants to further the development of e-commerce in the country: “As our society goes digital, this can also promote economic prosperity. Learning the right kinds of skills in this area will have positive knock-on effects, because people understand the importance of buying and selling on-line.”
Finally, through Live Online!, Saskia Van Uffelen is keen to encourage the development of ICT skills among certain minorities in society: “Because poorer families often find it hard to overcome certain barriers including the cost of training, a lack of digital skills or a lack of confidence in their ability to learn them, the gap between those with the money and understanding and those without is constantly widening. These most vulnerable groups must not be excluded from our information society.”
For more information about the Digital Champions, visit: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/digital-champions