European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience

European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience

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On 1 July 2020, the European Commission presented a new Skills Agenda setting ambitious objectives for upskilling and reskilling for the next five years.

The Agenda has 12 actions that focus on skills for jobs by partnering up with Member States, companies and social partners to work together for change, by empowering people to embark on lifelong learning, and by using the EU budget as a catalyst to unlock public and private investment in people’s skills.

The aim is to ensure that the right to training and lifelong learning, enshrined in the European Pillar of Social Rights, becomes a reality all across Europe, from cities to remote and rural areas, to the benefit of everyone.

A major deliverable will be a new Pact for Skills to be launched in November 2020 during the Skills Week. It sets ambitious quantitative objectives at EU level and outlines how the EU will support investments for skills.

Two actions are especially important in relation to the SmartDevOps project:

  • Action 4 – Skills to support the green and digital transitions
  • Action 6 – Future-proof vocational education and training.

In relation to Action 4, the Communication states that 40% of new jobs were created in digitally intensive sectors between 2005 and 2016. However, the rapidly growing demand for digital experts cannot be met. For example, there is a gap of 291,000 professionals in cybersecurity. In addition, deployment of digital technologies across all economic sectors, including in non-tech sectors, will require a more digitally skilled workforce at all skills levels and at all ages.

The Commission will support digital skills for all, in particular by:

  • Updating the Digital Education Action Plan and presenting a vision for improving digital literacy, skills and capacity at all levels of education and training and for all levels of digital skills (from low to advanced).
  • Implementing the Digital Europe programme, which aims to build the strategic digital capacities of the EU, strengthening investments in supercomputing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and the development of advanced digital skills.
  • Supporting Digital Crash Courses for SMEs and “digital volunteers” programme to upskill the current workforce in digital areas, as already announced in the EU SME strategy. The Commission will also support and interlink SME intermediaries such as clusters, the Enterprise Europe Network and Digital Innovation Hubs to help upskill staff of SMEs, including in the area of sustainability.
  • Supporting EU ICT-Jump-Start trainings to provide short-term intensive training to tackle ICT skills shortages, with a focus on gender-balanced participation.

In relation to Action 6, the Commission adopted a Proposal for a Council Recommendation on vocational education and training (VET) for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience. This proposal provides solutions to ensure that VET equips the workforce with skills to support both the recovery and the green and digital transitions, while ensuring inclusiveness. It also puts forward EU level actions to support VET reform and clear quantitative objectives. The proposal is accompanied by a Commission Staff Working Document.

The proposal suggests that member states should deploy actions in accordance with 23 principles under the following groups:

  • Vocational education and training is agile in adapting to dynamic labour market changes
  • Flexibility and progression opportunities are at the core of vocational education and training
  • Vocational education and training is a driver for innovation and growth and prepares for the digital and green transitions and occupations in high demand
  • Vocational education and training is an attractive choice based on modern and digitalised provision of training/skills
  • Vocational education and training promotes equality of opportunities
  • Vocational education and training is underpinned by a culture of quality assurance

You can see all the principles following the link to the Proposal above.

The proposal is accompanied by

Images and information from EU Commission
communication and factsheets referenced above