In 2010, 2016 and most recently July 2020,
the European Commission published a new European Skills Agenda. This shows a
clear process of change and development of skills that require considerable
effort when it comes to policy-making. This is the conclusion of an analysis published in October 2020 by the European
Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL).
European Pillar of Social Rights, Green Deal and Digital Agenda
The EU faces a number of challenges in the
green and digital transformation. While some of these transitions will create
new jobs, others will change or disappear altogether. In order to open up new
fields of employment, investment in skills development is needed.
"The best investment in our future is the investment in our people. Skills and education drive Europe’s competitiveness and innovation." stated Ursula von der
Leyen, European Commission President, when publishing the current Skills Agenda
in July 2020.
The EMPL Committee also sees this change in
its analysis: at the time, the agenda 2010 focused on employment and education
aspects. However, the two agendas from 2016 and 2020 focused on the development
of competencies with a view to the labour market.
The Skills Agenda 2020 reflected the major
EU policy initiatives, such as the European Pillar of Social Rights, the
Digital Agenda and the Green Deal. These strategies also see skills as an
important aspect of citizens' competitiveness and well-being.
The analysis of the EMPL Committee
identifies as existing difficulties in particular a relatively low
participation of (low-skilled) adults in education and training, a high number
of early school leavers, a lack of quality and attractiveness of education and
training, and a mismatch between acquired and demanded qualifications. The
COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted this issue even further.
To counter this, corresponding strategies
now exist at European and international level with similar key elements, as
shown by the analysis: Increasing investment, building national partnerships
and promoting middle-level qualifications that will allow for upward mobility.
The analysis of the EMPL Committee places
particular emphasis on coordinated investment plans in order to implement the
qualification policy. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) propose
comprehensive policies, partnerships and sufficient investment.
In the current situation, the analysis sees
the urgent need to adapt skills in the face of aggravated economic conditions
as a dilemma. The analysis calls for appropriate political efforts and for incorporation of results of systematic analysis of past agendas into
Social security needs appropriate qualifications
The provision of precisely tailored skills
for the labour market of the future is also of considerable importance with
regard to the social security systems: to ensure the sustainable financing of
the systems, people who can be employed in this very labour market are needed,
especially in our ageing society.
The European Skills Agenda is a five-year plan. It is designed
to help individuals and companies develop additional and higher-level skills
and use them accordingly.