Article by Raffaele Vitulli, Project Manager at Materahub
The EU’s transition to a green and digital economy and the wide deployment of artificial intelligence and robotics require an unparalleled shift in skill sets due to new jobs being created and other jobs changing or even disappearing.
A skills revolution is fundamental to helping in the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The current health crisis has clearly shown that digital skills are not just an asset for career progress, but also essential for work, study, access goods and services, keep in touch with others and the latest information, and have a say and support each other.
The European Commission wishes to ensure the right to quality and inclusive education, training and lifelong learning, enshrined in the European Pillar of Social Rights, for everybody and everywhere in the EU, from cities to remote and rural areas.
The new Skills Agenda in 12 actions
The European Skills Agenda builds on 12 actions to improve the importance of skills in the EU to strengthen sustainable competitiveness, ensure social fairness and build resilience:
1. Pact for Skills – mobilising all partners for more and better opportunities for people to train, and to unlock public and private investments across industrial and skills ecosystems;
2. Strengthening skills intelligence – using big data analysis of job vacancies and making it widely available so it will be possible to acquire online information “in real time” on the demand for skills;
3. EU support for strategic national upskilling action – working with Member States on modern and comprehensive national skills strategies and joining forces with national public employment agencies to achieve this;
4. Future-proof vocational education and training (VET) – taking a fresh approach to make vocational education and training more modern, attractive for all learners, and flexible and fit for the digital age and green transition;
5. Rolling out the European Universities Initiative and up-skilling scientists – building long-term transnational alliances between higher education institutions throughout Europe and developing a core set of skills for researchers;
6. Skills to support the green and digital transitions – developing a set of core green skills, statistical monitoring of the greening of our workplaces, boosting digital skills through a Digital Education Action Plan and ICT jump-start training courses;
7. Increasing STEM graduates, fostering entrepreneurial and transversal skills – encouraging young people, especially women, into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The EU’s Skills Agenda also aims to strengthen support for entrepreneurs and the acquisition of transversal skills such as cooperation and critical thinking;
8. Skills for life – supporting young people and adult learning on issues such as media literacy, civic competences, and financial, environmental and health literacy;
9. Initiative on individual learning accounts – it will explore if and how portable and quality-checked training entitlements could help stimulate lifelong learning for all;
10. A European approach to micro-credentials – training courses are becoming shorter and more targeted and are often online. European standards that should help recognise the results of such training will be created;
11. New Europass platform – the Europass platform was completely revamped. As of today, it offers online tools and guidance on CV-writing, suggests tailored jobs and learning opportunities, provides information for job seekers, and is available in 29 languages;
12. Improving the enabling framework to unlock investment – a key element of the Skills Agenda is the much-boosted EU budget to catalyse Member States and private actors to invest in skills.
The EU will work on improving transparency around skills investment and explore novel financing mechanisms, placing a particular emphasis on the need to invest in skills as a key priority to foster the EU’s recovery and prepare European workers and citizens for the green transition and the digital transformation.