Development of skills

The EU has many initiatives to aid Member States in equipping students with changing skills, competences and qualifications.

What is it about?

The labour market is constantly evolving. Skills, competences and qualifications that people need will change over time. To deal with these changes, people need to be equipped with a variety of skills – including literacy, numeracy and digital skills.  They also need a broader set of competences – including critical thinking, creativity and teamwork – in order to build sustainable careers and become independent, engaged citizens who contribute to society. Education and training play a crucial role in enabling young people to develop these skills and competences – as well as allowing them the best possible start in life.

In order to better identify and manage the availability of required skills, competences and qualifications – and therefore prevent skills gaps and mismatches – effective communication between the labour market and the education and training sector is vital.

What has been done so far?

European initiatives for developing skills

  • The 2016 New Skills Agenda for Europe,  highlights 10 actions to make the right training, skills and support available to people in the EU;
  • In May 2018, the European Council outlined  a set of key competences which all individuals need for personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment;
  • The European Commission’s Digital Education Action Plan includes 11 actions to make better use of digital technology for teaching,  learning and developing digital competences;
  • The Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs is a multi-stakeholder partnership that has been tasked to tackle the lack of ICT skills and the thousands of unfilled ICT-related vacancies.
  • The Entrepreneurship 2020 Action plan is a blueprint for realising Europe's entrepreneurial potential by removing existing obstacles and thereby revolutionising the culture of entrepreneurship in Europe.
  • The European Council’s 2017 recommendations on tracking graduates have encouraged Member States to develop comprehensive tracking systems for tertiary graduates at national level in order to improve the availability of comparable data and allow more in-depth comparative analyses of graduate outcomes.

European initiatives for managing the availability of required skills

  • ESCO is the multilingual classification of European Skills, Competences, Qualifications, and Occupations. It introduces a standard terminology in 25 European languages and categorises skills, competences, qualifications and occupations relevant to both the EU labour market and education and training.
  • The European Skills Panorama regularly monitors skills anticipation and skills assessment at the national and European level. It provides data, information and intelligence on skill trends at the national and EU level.

What are the next steps?

  • Continued updating of ESCO to reflect changes between labour markets and education and training
  • Implementation of ESCO in Europass CV, EU Skills Panorama and EURES
  • Continuous monitoring of skill trends and demand – EU Skills Panorama.