The importance of digital skills for youth – Cesar Beltran

Please, present yourself  

My name is Cesar Beltran and for a long time, I have been broadening my international experience, with a special focus on Latin America and the digital environment. I am founder and president of the first Latin American student society in my university based in Brussels. I am also South Europe Specialist at Grafos Design a company of digital innovation and marketing, among other projects and activities less relevant for the purposes of this interview.

Thanks to these experiences, I had the opportunity to develop international projects mostly with diplomatic missions, boost my soft-skills and meet wonderful people. This gave me the opportunity to collaborate with European and Belgium deputies and authorities, coordinating teams mainly in Spain and Italy. Is during this experience that I acquired a wide experience in the digital world I could explore new innovative ways of achieving results and discover new areas of opportunities.

During these years, my interest in the digital field never stopped growing and I always strengthened my passion with dedicated readings or conferences.

Why digital skills are important for youth?

There are many reasons that shows us the utility and necessity to have great digital skills in the world we live today. The world is shaping faster and faster to a new era where technology and the digital environment will be all around us, some will argue that we are already in this period.

To answer this question, we can start by saying that young people will be pushed more and more to interact with new technologies, so have bases to deal with the world that we are going into is a key aspect. Moreover, with digital skills they can find new ways of working in their daily life as well as increase their possibility to increase their revenue. A lot of enterprises are going towards digitalization and this can mean employment cuts, like in the case of Proximus in Belgium, with more than 1900 employees that could be fired, but that means also a lot of opportunities for the people that prepare themselves to the future.

I think also that one of the main assets of having digital skills is that if you understand technology you will certainly understand the world of tomorrow, and start acting now to shape your future.

What are the main challenges for youth in the digital environment?

Many believe that young people are experts in technology because they are always on their smartphones, tablets, Personal Computers, etc. and that they do not need any further explanation on technology. This is a big illusion.

One of the main challenges consist in understand that being the final consumer does not mean that you comprehend what you are using. When young are using a software or application, they just follow a path created by the developer. Young people need to be at the centre of this technology revolution and build their own paths, find new solutions, discover new ways of thinking.

Do you use digital and social media technologies in your daily organisation work?

With the Latin American student society in my university (ASUL) we love technology and digital innovation. We are active on as many fronts that we can, we teach people how to use technology and be a responsible consumer. We prepare and organize conference on innovation and digital policies between countries and we cooperate with different organizations on the topic as we believe that together we can do more, and we can do better every day.

In your opinion, how are non-profit organisation facing the digital transformation? What can be done more or better?

New emerging organizations I think are working well with the capacities that they have at their disposal, they have to work harder with young generations and propose new and better ways to inform and interest young people about the topic. To do so, we need to give them the tools to do better, potentiate training courses, create awareness about the strategic importance of being a well-educated technology consumer and not one more follower. Moreover, there must be a work with institutions, organisations need more tools and means to do better their job and the policies have to accompany that view in order to be effective and successful. Youth is the future, they have to be prepared.