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Ten actions to help equip people in Europe with better skills

07/06/2016 Worker with top hat sitting at a computer in an office

The Commission has adopted a new and comprehensive Skills Agenda for Europe today. The aim is to ensure that people develop a broad set of skills from early on in life and to make the most of Europe’s human capital, which will ultimately boost employability, competitiveness and growth in Europe.

Today's New Skills Agenda for Europe calls on Member States and stakeholders to improve the quality of skills and their relevance for the labour market. According to studies, 70 million Europeans lack adequate reading and writing skills, and even more have poor numeracy and digitals skills. This puts them at risk of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion.

On the other hand, a large number of Europeans, particularly high-qualified young people, work in jobs that do not match their talents and aspirations. At the same time, 40% of European employers report that they cannot find people with the right skills to grow and innovate. Finally, too few people have the entrepreneurial mindset and competences to start their own business and keep adapting to evolving requirements of the labour market.

Addressing the challenges

To help tackle skills challenges, the Commission will launch 10 actions which will address these issues and make skills more visible and improve their recognition at local, national and EU levels, from schools and universities to the labour market.

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: "We need to invest more in skills in Europe. The most competitive countries in the EU, and in the world, are those that invest most in skills and 70 million Europeans are at the risk of falling behind. Stronger investment in skills is vital for strengthening competitiveness and boosting growth. And most of all, it is crucial to help people to realise their professional dreams and goals and reach their potential. I invite Member States, social partners and businesses to work together with us and make this New Skills Agenda for Europe a success."

Ten action points

  • A Skills Guarantee to help low-skilled adults acquire a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and digital skills and progress towards an upper secondary qualification.
  • A review of the European Qualifications Framework for a better understanding of qualifications and to make better use of all available skills in the European labour market.
  • The "Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition" bringing together Member States and education, employment and industry stakeholders to develop a large digital talent pool and ensure that individuals and the labour force in Europe are equipped with adequate digital skills.
  • The ‘Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills’ to improve skills intelligence and address skills shortages in specific economic sectors.
  • A "Skills Profile Tool Kit for Third Country Nationals" to support early identification and profiling of skills and qualifications of asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants.
  • A revision of the Europass Framework, offering people better and easier-to-use tools to present their skills and get useful real-time information on skills needs and trends which can help with career and learning choices.
  • Making Vocational Education and Training (VET) a first choice by enhancing opportunities for VET learners to undertake a work based learning experience and promoting greater visibility of good labour market outcomes of VET.
  • A review of the Recommendation on Key Competences to help more people acquire the core set of skills necessary to work and live in the 21st century with a special focus on promoting entrepreneurial and innovation-oriented mind-sets and skills.
  • An initiative on graduate tracking to improve information on how graduates progress in the labour market.
  • A proposal to further analyse and exchange best practices on effective ways to address brain drain.