Thuiswinkel.org, the Dutch association of 2,200 physical and online shops in the Netherlands and member of Ecommerce Europe, launched the cross-sector action program e-Academy this week. The e-sector is an important driver for the Dutch economy, but businesses experience great difficulty finding qualified employees. Higher education is insufficiently geared to the new digital requirements from the online business. ‘The e-sector lacks an infrastructure for the continues development of working professionals’, says Wijnand Jongen, CEO of Thuiswinkel.org. Therefore, Thuiswinkel.org made a pact with businesses and education to assure the essential skills for our knowledge economy.
Bridge between education and e-sector
Rising concerns about the influx of sufficiently educated staff in the sector was the main reason for starting the e-Academy. Daniel Ropers, Managing Director of bol.com, one of the largest online shops in the Netherlands: ‘What strikes me most is the mismatch between education and what the digital market needs. The use of IT is the only way companies can add value for their customers. Current graduates find it difficult to understand the fundamental powers and possibilities of the digital market. We must avoid putting a brake on the innovation of the Dutch e-commerce market. Therefore I welcome this initiative.’ e-Academy aims to make e-business an integrated part of education curricula of higher education by certifying courses based on requirements from businesses.
Life long learning for working e-business professionals
Because of the enormous speed of development and the knowledge-intensive nature of the e-commerce domain, it is also important for experienced business professionals to keep learning. Therefore, the e-Academy opened a Register. By attending training courses and conferences of certified suppliers, registered professionals collect personal education points. With these (PE) points they give substance to Lifelong Learning.
‘Lifelong Learning is accessible to everyone in the e-sector, from online marketers to online buyers, from data analysts to shop managers,’ says Jongen. ‘We expect that many companies in every imaginable sector will qualify themselves as Lifelong Learning Company in the next few years. Thousands of their employees will keep developing themselves permanently by collection points. I call on business and higher education to keep on developing in the area of digital commerce.’