The European Commission presented on the 1st of July its renewed Skills Agenda which replaces the 2016 version. The Agenda was originally scheduled for March but needed to be adjusted to consider the new challenges generated by the Covid-19 crisis. One worrying example is the case of apprentices who struggle more than ever to find appointments for September and were described by Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis as “big victims of Covid-19”.
The main actions/schemes presented are:
- Reinforcement of the “Youth Guarantee”, a scheme which must bring an offer of employment, education, apprenticeship or training within four months to all applicants aged 15-29.
- Reinforcement of Vocational education and training, with an emphasis on building a green, digital and resilient job market.
- Reinforcement of the European alliance for apprenticeship (which has made available more than 900,000 opportunities since 2013), with a focus on incentivising SMEs to hire apprentices.
- The New EU Skills Agenda in itself, with 12 actions.
Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said that “Europe needs a skills revolution” and observed structural skills gaps. Commissioner Nicolas Schmit insisted on the tremendous potential in digital skills, saying that there are hundreds of thousands of vacancies across the EU for digital jobs.
The Skils4Climate campaign, launched by EuropeOn last fall, is in line with the aforementioned statements. A few weeks before the Commission presented its Recovery Strategy, we wrote to the Commission and the Parliament, with the support of fellow associations, to cast light on the importance to invest is climate-related skills to foster a successful green recovery. So far, we received positive feedback from Commissioners Schmit and Breton, as well as of several MEPs.
With the presentation of the EU Skills Agenda, we believe that the next step for our campaign is to take an active part in the reflection on the Pact for Skills, which is one of the flagship actions of the new EU Skills Agenda. The Pact for Skills will be a co-created pact gathering the industry, public and private employers, social partners, chambers of commerce, education and training providers and employment agencies to bring forward a shared vision and action plan with concrete objectives and commitments.
The first areas which will be covered will be: construction / automotive and transport / health / tourism. As electrical contractors, we have meaningful insights to bring on -at least- construction and renovation, e-mobility (in particular charging points) and the future of e-health.
The Pact for Skills will be launched in November 2020, probably in Berlin during the European Vocation Skills Week.