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European Year of Skills

Jorge's Journey to IT Success through "UPskill - Digital Skills and Jobs"

Meet Jorge Miguel, a 45-year-old from Porto, who transitioned from sports management to systems engineering, thanks to the "UPskill - Digital Skills and Jobs" project, a collaboration between the Portuguese Public Employments Service (PES) and partners. Interested? Apply for the 3rd edition!

PES Network Portugal

The primary goal of the "UPskill - Digital Skills and Jobs" project is to provide requalification training in digital technologies. The project targets those who are unemployed or underemployed, supporting them to take advantage of the growing digital job market. Jorge's background was in sports management, where he worked for 15 years. Seeking a change, he decided to look for a job closer to his childhood interests - science and engineering. In his search, he came across the Upskill Programme.

The programme aims to train 3000 individuals as digital technology professionals through three editions.

In its first edition, the project opened 430 vacancies across 26 different courses, tailored to the needs of 38 different companies. 349 of the 430 people who enrolled completed the training programme successfully, with 275 of them finding a job. The following edition expanded the offerings to include 802 positions distributed across 50 courses, addressing the needs of 64 companies. While the employability results for this edition are still pending, the project's dedication remains unwavering. Looking ahead to the third edition, the goal is to create 800 more job opportunities through collaborations with prestigious partner companies.

Recognising the programme’s potential, Jorge applied and was accepted. He participated in the COBOL course, held in Porto (COBOL is a programming language used in business, finance, and administrative systems). After successfully completing the training, he moved on to an internship with a partner company.

As he prepares for the next stage of his career, Jorge recognises the project’s importance in his professional development: “It is a programme that brings together all the ingredients for a quick and effective career change". The supportive learning environment and industry partnerships facilitated a smooth entry into the IT job market, demonstrating effective reskilling and increased employability.

Watch the European Network of Public Employment Services (PES Network) video to get inspired by the Portuguese practice


UPskill - Digital Skills and Jobs is a collaborative effort between different organisations, including the Portuguese Public Employment Service (IEFP), the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training, Higher Education Institutions like the Coordinating Council of Higher Polytechnic Institutes, ISCTE, and FCUL, along with APDC, a nonprofit organization that connects companies in the Digital Sector, particularly those focused on ICT (Information and Communications Technologies). This initiative is a key component of the Portuguese Action Plan for the Digital Transition.

The Portuguese PES is part of the European Network of Public Employment Services (PES Network). The Network is focused on digital jobs and addressing skills shortages in its current activities. Find out more in the PES Network Work Programme 2023-2024.  See also a new PES Network Opinion Paper which contributes to the European Year of Skills debate. It encourages PES to work more closely with those at risk of becoming unemployed or in need of re-skilling.

Looking ahead to the third edition, the goal is to create 800 more job opportunities through collaborations with prestigious partner companies.

In the third edition, 17 courses have already started and 13 new courses are set to begin from September 2023. You can learn more about the programme details and application process here. Applications for the third edition are open until 29 September 2023.