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European Vocational Skills Week
News article19 May 2022Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Day 2 of the 2022 Week offers up interactive and inspiring VET events

Day 2 of the 2022 Week offers up interactive and inspiring VET events

The second day of the 2022 Week continued with an exciting line-up of regional, national, and local online events – with some held in person. Covering the many aspects of Vocational Education and Training (VET), they primarily focused on VET’s ability to drive the green transition on the way to a zero-emissions Europe.

Highlights of the day included:

Skill needs of the software industry: can education and training keep up?

To answer this critical issue, the Erasmus+ funded European Software Skills Alliance (ESSA) brought together a group of panellists from various sectors (business, academia, and policy).

Keynote speaker Mary Cleary, Secretary General of the Irish Computer Society, described the urgency in dealing with the many challenges posed by the forecast that Europe will need to employ 20 million people in ICT by 2030, on the path toward Europe’s digital transformation.

Panellists tackling the issue included moderator Paul Aertsen, a subject matter expert from Global Knowledge Netherlands, as well as Bálint Gyres-Tóth, an associate professor from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

They were joined by Elmar Hussman from Amazon Web Services, Arthur Tréguier, policy assistant at the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, and Marie Montaldo, project communication manager at DIGITALEUROPE.

They emphasised the importance of micro-credentials – to be offered at universities – and other short-term ICT training and credentials, and agreed on the need to support SMEs to encourage training, while outlining the many opportunities to upskill and reskill people on the road to the twin green and digital transitions.

Warnborough College Webinars

Warnborough College, Ireland, which takes part in a number of ERASMUS+ co-funded projects, launched a multiday series of free webinars and workshops focused on the best of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) on topics such as ‘Implementing an education system for sustainable development’ and ‘Humanity 5.0’. The later focused on a holistic and sustainable future “with a green and inclusive core for the digital age”. The webinars continue with several presenters from Warnborough’s various learning centers and academic partners.

Taitaja2022 - towards vocational excellence and global competence #happypro – Seminar

On the side-lines of the Taitaja2022, the Finnish Championships of professional skills organised an international seminar in English held both online and on site in Pori. The focus was on the role that excellence in VET can play in boosting the skills ecosystem and in regional development. Inspiring personal accounts from industry figures, insightful presentations from policymakers and educators sparked the audience’s imagination in equal measure.

Entrepreneur Peter Vesterbacka, chairman of Finest Future, recounted his own personal success story ‘From Pori to the World!’ describing the success of the game Angry Birds and the gaming company Rovio Entertainment, as well as the steps that led there.

Several panellists presented other equally inspiring innovative products that focused on the common theme of gamification, playfulness, and other digital tools to create an engaging learning environment. Prototypes included a digital picture activity scheduler for adults with special needs or for children, as well as humanoid social robots, and other digital tools in prototype mode that can be used for social welfare and other uses.

How to bridge the skills gap to enable the green and digital transformation of the chemical industry

The chemical sector (including pharmaceuticals, rubber and plastics) is key to many European industries and economies and supports almost all value chains. It is also the second-largest sector in Europe, employing 3.4 million people directly, and contributes 11.9% of EU27 manufacturing employment, offering many well-paid jobs. The expert panel discussed the imperative need to increase investment in skills in order to make the sector even more competitive and bring it in line with the green and digital transitions, aiming towards Europe’s climate neutrality goal by 2050.

Speakers placed emphasis on creating partnerships and fostering cooperation between businesses and training institutions that will promote upskilling and reskilling. According to Miguel Fernandez, European Commission policy officer, Pact for Skills at the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL), collaboration should be the key theme in the quest to secure more skilled workers. He highlighted the importance of stakeholder partnerships involving workers, institutions, governments, and regional representatives. A key point of the discussion was the fact that the skills needed today are multiple and changing, and that education systems must adapt to the new challenges and come up with best practices on how to support this new need.

The road to green skills: upskilling and reskilling for a just transition

Multiple panellists at the Week have described the goal of a carbon neutral continent as the defining challenge of our generation. ‘The road to green skills’ panel discussion looked at all the complexities involved, concluding that youth is a driving force that will propel the green transition forward, but many other important stakeholders have to up their game.

Felix Rohn, policy officer at the European Commission’s DG EMPL, stressed the importance of the green skills agenda to Europe, and the goal of at least 60% of all adults taking part in VET every year in order to benefit from a just and green transition. Representatives from industry discussed their training initiatives, while all recognised the importance of partnerships between public, academic, and industry bodies as key to ensuring the success of the upskilling and reskilling of workers across Europe to meet the challenges.

Jim Brown, from the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP), Dundee, Scotland, Yoann Dhome, Hall32, Clermont-Ferrand, France and Fabienne Goyeneche, Michelin EU Office, Brussels joined moderator Laura Rayner, a policy analyst for the Social Europe and Wellbeing Programme at the European Policy Centre, in a fruitful discussion on how to equip people with the skills required for the jobs of today and tomorrow – so that all can benefit from the green and just transition.

Shaping the EO*GI skills of the future - EO4GEO

With the participation of a diverse range of stakeholders in the field of Earth Observation and Geographic Information (EO/GI), including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), the event highlighted the importance of fostering the development of an innovative and competitive EU space sector. Investing in green skills is key to this endeavour, panellists underscored. Natacha Callens, administrator at the ESA Academy – Training and Learning Programme, highlighted one goal the sector should strive for: to create jobs that have not yet been created and technologies that have not yet been invented.

Chiara Solimini, a research fellow at ESA, emphasised the fact that space data is at the heart of the technological revolution. A key goal is to boost space entrepreneurship by incentivising innovative ideas and technologies, and the way to do this is via capacity-building activities and training opportunities, she said. One key theme across the discussion was the need to support tools for Earth Observation (EO) data as improving land monitoring systems is crucial in order to reach our climate neutrality goals. To that end, investing in gathering diverse talent and utilising available technologies should be the EU space sector’s priority.

EO4GEO is an Erasmus+ Sector Skills Alliance gathering 25 partners from 13 EU countries, most of which are part of the Copernicus Academy Network.

EU Skills Week-VET and the Green Transition: what skills and education are needed for finance professionals to play their part?

Bringing together a panel of finance experts and professionals, this webinar looked at the crucial role of the finance and accounting sector in promoting sustainability in entrepreneurship and in society. Green skills have been placed at the forefront of the sector’s plan to contribute to the green transition. There are skills that can be gained through training and education programmes, and while these may be specifically for accountants, they are transversal.

Going further, Julie Fionda, the European Commission’s deputy head of Unit, Skills and Qualifications at DG EMPL, said that encouraging green investments will help us collectively get to net zero. Thomas Verheye, the European Investment Fund’s Principal Advisor for Green Finance and Investment, on his part emphasised that in fact the ultimate success of the green transition hinges on accounting as it can provide concrete information for decision-makers to put companies on the path to sustainability. In his closing remarks, Alan Johnson, president of the International Federation of Accountants, highlighted the fact that the sector must develop and adopt strategies that will make real and lasting change. In doing so, it will help businesses become more sustainable and become part of the inclusive economy the EU is striving towards.

Bridging non-formal and formal adult learning through PSL competences

Representatives from civil society, the European Commission, its Joint Research Centre, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the Walloon labour market training organisation examined what Personal, Social and Learning-to-Learn (PSL) competences are needed to help those adults at risk of marginalisation and unemployment gain access to formal education and the labour market. Participants showcased and examined the findings of the Measures for Adults to Support Transition to further Education and Re-skilling opportunities (MASTER) project consortium, which has worked for over two years to develop these PSL tools. The MASTER final event allowed participants an opportunity to contribute to the final outcomes as well as learn about the possibilities of using the MASTER tools in their own work.

The views of the panellists converged on the importance of the individual needs and characteristics of a vulnerable jobseeker today. Klara Engels-Perenyi, European Commission policy officer, Higher Education Unit, Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, emphasised the role of a learner-centred perspective in offering tailored provision. On his part, Guibert Debroux, director of Vocational Training & Business Services, Le Forem Belgium, stressed the need for a holistic approach to support jobseekers throughout their personalised route. Other panellists included Raffaela Kihrer, head of policy at the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), presented policy recommendations based on the fact that every learner comes with a personal history and a personal learning story. MASTER is an Erasmus+ KA2 project.


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