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Caring for careers

As globalisation makes the process of change a way of life, EU workers need to become more adaptable and open to change, so that they can improve their employability. Employers are also helping, with ESF support, to anticipate future skills requirements and offer workers the development opportunities needed to adapt to new technologies and markets.

Workers as well as enterprises are facing new challenges and changes in working patterns. To benefit from these changes, workers and companies must become more flexible and learn to live with change – to anticipate and manage it.

  • To help the EU workforce to embrace change and flexibility, ESF projects are taking a variety of measures. Workers are offered training opportunities that give them the skills the evolving jobs market needs. Where unemployment threatens, training also helps reorient those threatened into growing industries where skills are in demand.
  • More active career management is also encouraged, in particular helping people to recognise their future career needs and plan for these, often through lifelong learning programmes. The ESF also supports worker-mobility schemes that encourage individuals to move to regions where jobs are available.
  • The responsibility for learning to adapt does not fall on individuals alone. Governments, regional and local authorities, trade unions, employment services and companies of all sizes are getting involved in implementing active employment measures. This means modernising the institutions that deal with employment and changing their focus away from reacting to company closures and job losses and moving towards longer-term planning and the anticipation of change.

In addition, ESF projects are promoting ‘active ageing’ among older workers and job-seekers. These projects encourage them to upgrade their existing skills, which may be out of date – to train in new skills where needed, embrace new technologies and IT know-how, and discuss changes in working practices with their employers. Tailored approaches are being used to encourage older people to stay in work longer and continue to make valuable contributions – a vital factor in combating the consequences of an ageing workforce. Likewise, there are specific initiatives that encourage businesses to take on older job seekers.