The new Skills Agenda for Europe
The new Skills Agenda for Europe, adopted by the Commission on 10 June 2016, launched 10 actions to make the right training, skills and support available to people in the European Union. The goals and actions on the Agenda are set out in Communication: A New Skills Agenda for Europe – Working together to strengthen human capital, employability and competitiveness.
The 10 actions are designed to:
- improve the quality and relevance of training and other ways of acquiring skills
- make skills more visible and comparable
- improve information and understanding of trends and patterns in demands for skills and jobs (skills intelligence) to enable people make better career choices, find quality jobs and improve their life chances.
The Commission is continuing to take forward each of the 10 actions. It calls on EU countries, employers’ associations, trade unions, industry and other interested parties to continue to work together to ensure that these initiatives produce the best possible outcomes.
- The Council adopted the ‘Upskilling Pathways: New Opportunities for Adults‘ Recommendation in December 2016. The Commission is now working with EU countries and other interested parties to implement the Recommendation, helping low-skilled adults acquire a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and digital skills and/or acquire a broader set of skills by progressing towards an upper secondary qualification or equivalent.
- The Council adopted the revised European Qualifications Framework and the related annexes in May 2017. The Commission is now working with EU countries and other interested parties to implement the new Recommendation so as to support better understanding of qualifications and make better use of all available skills in the European labour market.
- The ‘Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition‘ to support cooperation among education, employment and industry stakeholders was launched in December 2016 with the goal of improving the digital skills of the wider population, not just IT professionals. EU countries are now working on developing national digital skills strategies by mid-2017. 17 national Digital Skills and Jobs Coalitions are already in place and 70 organisations have pledged action towards providing digital skills.
- A first call under the ‘Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills‘ to improve skills intelligence and address skills shortages in specific economic sectors – automotive; defence; maritime technology; space/geo information; textile, leather clothing & footwear; and tourism – was launched in January 2017. Projects start in December 2017 and the next call will be launched before the end of 2017.
- A ‘Skills Profile Tool Kit for Third-Country Nationals‘ to support early identification of skills of asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants was launched at a stakeholders’ conference in June 2017. Further development and testing is under way in close consultation with EU countries and users. Full public release of the tool is expected in November 2017.
- The Commission is continuing to work on a set of measures to support the modernisation of vocational education and training (VET), in line with the policy priorities defined in the 2015 Riga Conclusions. A series of activities aim to make VET a first choice:
Further actions to come
- The Commission adopted a proposal to revise the Europass Decision in October 2016. The proposal is designed to ensure that the Europass Framework can offer people better and easier-to-use tools to present their skills and obtain useful real-time information on skills needs and trends which can help with career and learning choices. Discussions of the Decision proposal are under way with EU countries and with the European Parliament with a firm commitment by all to ensure Europass is fit for purpose and meets citizens’ future needs.
- A proposal for a Recommendation on Graduate Tracking is under discussion with EU countries. The goal is to improve understanding of graduates’ performance after their education and training experiences.
- A review of the Recommendation on Key Competences is under way to help more people acquire the core set of skills necessary to work and live in the 21st century. The review focuses on promoting entrepreneurial and innovation-oriented mind-sets and skills. The Commission expects to adopt a proposal for revision of the Recommendation in late 2017.
- Work on analysing and sharing of best practice to manage the movement of highly skilled or qualified people between countries (“brain flow”) is in progress to identify policies and measures to better manage this phenomenon.