Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights:
Today, most employers know that investing in skills needs to be a key issue in their strategy. They realise that they cannot rely on governments alone to take the responsibility for education and training. The Pact for Skills will gather and inspire different commitments from companies large and small, employment agencies, social partners, VET providers and other partners to create large-scale industrial partnerships. We do not have time for half measures. We need to act now.
The Pact for Skills promotes joint action to maximise the impact of investing in improving existing skills (upskilling) and training in new skills (reskilling). It calls on industry, employers, social partners, chambers of commerce, public authorities, education and training providers and employment agencies to work together and make a clear commitment to invest in training for all working age people across the Union.
Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton:
European talent is at the heart of our industrial resilience and will be the engine for the recovery from the pandemic. As the twin green and digital transitions are gathering speed, we want to equip all Europeans with the right skills. Today, we are announcing first skills partnerships in three industrial ecosystems: automotive, microelectronics and aerospace and defence. More will follow. The launch of the Pact for Skills is just the beginning of our European skills offensive.
Skills are central to our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and for mastering the digital and green transitions. Businesses, large and small, need skilled people to innovate and grow. Yet, mismatches and shortages in skills are increasing, while a large number of people are at risk of unemployment. Only by joining the forces of all relevant partners can we make substantial progress in meeting Europe’s skills needs.
Boosting joint action to maximise impact
The Pact for Skills is accompanied by a Charter outlining a shared vision from industry, social partners, vocational education and training (VET) providers, national, regional and local authorities as regards quality training. To ensure that the Pact is created together with the relevant stakeholders, we already kicked-off a series of high-level roundtables with representatives of industrial ecosystems, regional and national authorities, education and social partners and education and training providers. More such roundtables will follow in the coming weeks.
Drawing on these fruitful discussions with a selection of industries, the Pact sets up large-scale partnerships in strategic industrial ecosystems heavily affected by the current crisis and the priority areas identified in the European Green Deal to achieve ambitious commitments. The first European skills partnerships in key industrial ecosystems have now been announced, with more to follow in the coming months:
Joining the Pact
By joining the Pact, stakeholders will gain access to networking, knowledge and resource hubs. The Commission will also offer information and guidance on EU funding and programmes for skills development by offering a single-entry point at EU level. In addition to the funding available under REACT-EU, the European Social Fund Plus and other relevant programmes of the new multiannual financial framework (2021-2027), up- and reskilling is one of the flagship investment priorities of the Recovery and Resilience Facility, worth €672.5 billion.
The Pact for Skills is one of the flagship initiatives under the European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience, presented on 1 July 2020. The main objective of the Pact is to mobilise resources and incentivise all relevant stakeholders to take real action to upskill and reskill the workforce, by pooling efforts and setting up partnerships supporting green and digital transitions as well as local and regional growth strategies.
The new European Industrial Strategy acknowledged the importance of skills for the twin green and digital transitions and the opportunities they can create for people. Retraining and reskilling have to be a major part of our social market economy. Similarly, the recently adopted Digital Education Plan stresses the importance of promoting digital skills and competences for offering everyone an opportunity to participate in the digital transformation.
The launch event of the Pact took place on 10 November 2020 during the European Vocational Skills Week 2020, organised by the European Commission in partnership with the German Presidency of the Council of the EU. The fifth edition of the European Vocational Skills Week encourages people of all ages to ‘Discover Your Talent’ through vocational education and training.