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22 June 2016

Europe: New EC Skills Agenda is key for integration

European Commission

Launched during an event in Brussels on 20 June 2016, the New Skills Agenda for Europe, adopted 10 days earlier, contains 10 concrete actions for Member States, social partners, the industry and other stakeholders to work together to ensure that the right training, skills and support are available to people in the EU:

  1. Skills Guarantee to help low-skilled adults acquire a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and digital skills and progress towards an upper secondary qualification (see the EU & national skills factsheet infographics)
  2. Review of European Qualifications Framework to make better use of all available skills in the EU labour market
  3. 'Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition' to support cooperation among education, employment and stakeholders
  4. 'Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills’ to improve skills intelligence and address shortages in specific sectors
  5. '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
  6. Revision of Europass Framework to offer better tools to present their skills and get information on needs and trends 
  7. Making Vocational Education and Training (VET) a first choice by enhancing work-based learning opportunities and greater visibility of good labour market outcomes of VET
  8. Review of Recommendation on Key Competences to help more people acquire core skills with a special focus on promoting entrepreneurial and innovation-oriented mind-sets and skills
  9. Initiative on graduate tracking to improve information on how graduates progress in the labour market
  10. Proposal to further analyse and exchange best practices on effective ways to address brain drain

Among these 10 initiatives, the New Skills Agenda for Europe will specifically improve the use of third country nationals’ skills through the Skills Profile Tool for third country nationals, Guide on best practices to support labour market integration in Member States, Online language learning and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).

An estimated 70 million Europeans lack adequate reading and writing skills, and even more have poor numeracy and digital skills, which puts them at risk of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion. At the same time, 40% of European employers report that they cannot find people with the right skills to grow and innovate. While non-EU residents have a lower than average level of skills and qualifications, two thirds of highly educated non-EU residents work in low or medium
skilled occupations or simply fail to find employment (see infographic).

The accompanying document analyses the impact of the New Skills Agenda for integration. Chapter 1 looks at how intra-EU mobility and third country migration can have a positive impact on resource allocation, productivity and growth, if managed through effective policies that make the most out of the available human capital. Chapter 2 looks at education and skills levels as well as mismatches, including for migrants.

A stakeholder consultation showed that there is no consensus on the extension of the EQF to third countries. Social partners and EQF national authorities state that the EQF is not mature enough and that Commission's efforts should first focus on making EQF a functioning tool for comparability and transparency of EU qualifications. Civil society and cities defend an opposite view and call for enhanced cooperation in this area.

Download the New Skills Agenda

Download the analytical accompanying document


Publication dates
Geographic area
EU Wide
Posted by
Paola Mikaba

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