Europe has more than 18 million unemployed, and yet the continent’s IT industry reportedly needs some 200,000 people. Why not take those unemployed and help them to get jobs in IT?

That’s the theory behind the Academy Cube scheme to train up the Europe’s unemployed in the digital skills businesses will need in the near future.

Software giant SAP is partnering with organisations including Microsoft Deutschland, Software AG and the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) to create the scheme.

SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe said: “We find ourselves in a very peculiar situation where in Europe there’s huge unemployment among young, well-motivated people and yet the IT industry estimates we are missing 100 – 200,000 people.”

The Academy Cube will use an e-learning platform, currently used by SAP to teach skills relating to its in-memory platform Hana, to instruct participants in the scheme.

He said the e-learning platform had the potential to “educate 30,000 people in one class instead of 20 and get very good results”, saying it had already paid dividends when used to teach about Hana.

“We are taking this platform and enabling it with content from not just SAP, but a variety of companies like Microsoft and Software AG.”

Part of what the initiative will focus on teaching are skills needed for businesses to become “Industry 4.0”, where the likes of embedded software and M2M communication is used to digitise the business value chain.

The initiative will initially target people living in Spain, where the unemployment rate has hit 25 per cent.

The Academy Cube will presented to the public at CeBit 2013.