Enterprises with thriving order books often desperately look for skilled staff and offer apprenticeship and training places that remain vacant. These shortages of vocational skills have become a serious problem in many economic sectors and an obstacle to growth of many European companies while at the same time unemployment is unacceptably high. If better matching demand for, and supply of, skills will not solve the economic crisis we nevertheless have to take all the measures we can to reduce unemployment and, in particular, youth unemployment. Therefore the European Union's Bruges Communiqué calls for vocational and educational training to respond better to labour market needs. We need efforts at all levels to modernise and adapt vocational education and training (VET) programmes so that people learn those skills that make them employable. Up-to-date and constantly evolving VET is therefore not only important for fighting unemployment but also a fundamental factor for economic competitiveness.
The Commission's proposal for a future programme Erasmus for All foresees a new category of transnational cooperation called Sector Skills Alliances to promote European cooperation within an economic sector. This new project type has been built on the lessons learnt from projects that were financed by the European Union's Leonardo da Vinci programme. Around half of Leonardo da Vinci projects are clearly sector-based and the most addressed theme is developing vocational skills considering labour market needs through cooperation between the world of work and education. In addition, when projects test or implement European transparency and recognition tools like the European Quality Assurance Framework for VET and the European Credit System for VET, the implementation is almost always based on cooperation between stakeholders from the same sector.
In order to gain experience of trans-national sectoral cooperation which addresses the above challenges and to prepare the successful implementation of the future programme Erasmus for all, a call for proposals for pilot projects that form Sector Skills Alliances has been launched in April 2012.
Sector Skills Alliances are expected to promote cooperation between three fields - VET provision & research, sector stakeholders, and VET authorities or authorised bodies - and should therefore consist of a wide range of partners, such as VET schools, higher education institutions, research centres, social partners, sector and professional associations, chambers of industry, commerce or craft, cultural & creative organisations, skills councils, development agencies, VET policy makers, VET authorities, qualification, accreditation or awarding bodies, professional guidance and counselling services etc..
From 75 applications addressing the five economic sectors chosen for this pilot call, 4 project proposals addressing the automotive industry, health and social work, tourism and catering and energy saving technologies (including sustainable construction) were selected.
DG EMPL has published a new 2013 PROGRESS Call for Proposals 'Delivering on skills for growth and jobs' with a budget of €5.7 million. The overall objective of the Call is to is to encourage new forms of collaboration through partnerships between public and private actors on the labour market (such as public and private employment services, companies including SME’s, chambers of commerce, training and education providers, social partners, labour market intelligence entities) to address persistent skills shortages and mismatches to help fill the gap between labour supply and demand in the EU. The Call will consist of four strands:
The deadline for submission of complete applications is 15 January 2014. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=629&langId=en&callId=398&furtherCalls=yes