Masterclass overview from the Lisbon Web Summit: Empowering Europe’s talent in deep tech

On the last day of the Lisbon Web Summit, the EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative welcomed participants to a masterclass on “Empowering Europe’s Talents in Deep Tech”. During this 45-minute session, the experts Gonçalo Duque, CEO of Junior Achievement Portugal, Boris Kolev, Head of Digital Transformation, Junior Achievement Europe (JA Europe), Rasa Strumskyte, Co-Founder and VP of Business Development of Talent Garden, and Ville Valtonen, Co-Founder and CEO of MinnaLearn, discussed how they contribute as Pledgers to the initiative’s goal of training one million talents in deep tech by the end of 2025.


Moderator Natalie Cernecka, Manager of the EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative, emphasised the important role of Pledgers in closing the deep tech skills gap across Europe and highlighted the need to find more partners to ensure success in a rapidly changing work environment.

Working together: A look into our Pledgers’ deep tech training activities and vision

The diverse trainings of the Pledgers are designed to reach various age groups and span a wide spectrum of educational and professional backgrounds.

Boris explained JA Europe‘s Company Programme, which targets high schools in particular to inspire young people to pursue careers in cutting-edge technology, with a focus on promoting diversity in STEM subjects, especially among girls. Students participating in this programme create virtual companies, develop products, and design marketing strategies.

Our aim is to spark curiosity in technology and science, nurturing a passion for these fields and it is particularly important to develop interest and skill development at the level of high school (…) presenting challenges that simulate corporate experiences, thereby promoting a ‘learning while doing’ approach to foster inspiration.Boris Kolev, JA Europe

Rasa from Talent Garden detailed that their upskilling and reskilling training caters to individuals, corporate teams and those interested in future careers requiring diverse digital skills. Collaboration with companies ensures that newly skilled professionals gain access to career pathways in applied Artificial Intelligence (AI). She emphasized the importance of deep tech skills alongside creativity, entrepreneurship, and emotional intelligence, with emotional intelligence currently becoming the key to effectively use AI.

We also focus on sustainable leadership and emotional intelligence in deep tech. (…) that changes the perception of learning processes and ultimately changes the European educational landscape.Rasa Strumskyte, Talent Garden

Gonçalo from JA Portugal emphasised the importance of actively engaging teachers in understanding AI to prevent the AI skills gap from widening. JA Portugal offers a comprehensive 50-hour training programme for teachers to prepare schools and adapt curricula to technological changes, mitigating the risk of a growing knowledge gap.

Our objective is to urge schools to embrace and prioritise AI, internet principles and safety, underscoring their significance for the future. (…) To overlook schools, educators or younger children would mean losing focus on the global mission.Gonçalo Duque, JA Portugal

Ville from MinnaLearn highlighted the importance of the human factor in learning. He explained the challenges in online learning, especially maintaining the motivation and effectiveness of the training courses for adult learners. Why should people be motivated to continue a training after a long work day? People need to enjoy trainings, as if they were reading a great book. Despite already engaging a million learners, MinnaLearn joined the Pledge with a clear vision to close the skills gap in AI and train as many people as possible.

Technology is moving fast; AI will not take your good job, but a human who uses AI may.Ville Valtonen, MinnaLearn

Engaging with our Pledgers: Questions from the audience

The audience posed questions about the career prospects after completing deep tech training courses. Rasa explained that Talent Garden’s focus extends beyond upskilling individuals to ensuring the practical application of skills, including securing internships, traineeships, and entry-level positions for talents.

Another question addressed the effectiveness of transferring knowledge directly from industry professionals to students instead of training teachers. Gonçalo and Boris from JA underscored the importance of connecting young talents with professionals and companies, allowing them to develop solutions for real-world challenges. However, they reiterated that teachers and the education system remain pivotal in equipping young individuals with future skills and guiding talents in ways that benefit society.

Our answers to the FAQs of the Lisbon Web Summit, you can read here.

You can access the event video here.

More on the event