Technological progress and globalisation offer tremendous opportunities for innovation, growth and jobs. These developments require skilled and adaptable people who are able to drive and support change.
In order to address skills gaps that may prevent promising industries from growing, the Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills was launched as part of the New Skills Agenda. The Blueprint is a new framework for strategic cooperation in a given economic sector between key stakeholders such as:
- trade unions,
- education and training institutions,
- public authorities.
The Blueprint will stimulate investment and encourage a more strategic use of EU and national funding opportunities. The aim is to support an overall sectoral strategy and to develop concrete actions to address short and medium term skills needs.
The Blueprint builds on previous work by the European Commission and sectoral partners to address sector skills mismatches, in particular the Sector Skills Councils and the European Sector Skills Alliances. Going forward, it could also support smart specialisation strategies, which help regions focus on sectors where they have greatest potential for competitive advantage.
The leaflet Blueprint in a Nutshell gives a concise overview of the initiative.
Steps to match skills to sector's needs
Is the sector ready for an EU-wide partnership on skills?
Supported by data evidence from Cedefop, the first step involves assessing skills gaps in the sector and their potential impact on growth, innovation and competitiveness. The presence and maturity of the overall growth strategy for the sector is reviewed, as well as the link to EU policy priorities. An established representative European sectoral partnership is a pre-condition to apply for EU funding for the next phase.
Sectoral EU-partnerships for sustainable cooperation
Following a competitive call for proposals, the Commission supports the work of selected sectoral skills alliances at EU-level.
Each partnership will develop a sectoral skills strategy to support the objectives of the overall growth strategy for the sector and match the demand and supply of skills.
Partners will look into how major trends, such as global, societal, and technological developments, are likely to affect jobs and skills needs, as well as their potential impact on growth, competitiveness and employment in the sector (e.g. restructuring, hard-to-fill vacancies). They will then identify priorities and milestones for action and develop concrete solutions, such as creating and updating curricula and qualifications based on updated and new occupational profiles.
Roll-out at national and regional level
Building on the results achieved at EU level, the Blueprint will be progressively rolled out at national and regional level, in cooperation with national and regional authorities, and key stakeholders, and as relevant exploiting synergies with regional smart specialisation strategies.
Funding the Blueprint
The funding for Blueprint comes from a number of funding streams, including from Erasmus+. Calls for tenders are also being published regularly under the COSME programme.
The first five Blueprint Alliances started to work in January 2018:
- Maritime technology
- Space - geo information
- Textile, clothing, leather and footwear
Four additional Blueprint Alliances will start working early 2019:
- Additive manufacturing
- Maritime shipping
- Steel industry
The next six sectors eligible for funding under Erasmus+ are:
- Bioeconomy, new technologies and innovation in agriculture
- Batteries for electro-mobility
- Defence technologies
- Energy value chain – digitalisation
- Energy-intensive industries/industrial symbiosis
- Microelectronic manufacturing & design
More information about the call is available on the website of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.