Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Skills for jobs

The first principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights states that everybody in the EU has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and lifelong learning. 

The updated Skills Agenda delivers on this principle by helping people to develop and widen their skills throughout their life.

A skilled workforce is crucial to ensure a prompt recovery after COVID-19 and reap the benefits of the green and digital transitions, achieving the objectives of

Understanding skills

The Commission supports several initiatives to improve understanding of skills across the EU in order to

  • harmonise the classification of skills
  • provide information on skills needs across countries and sectors
  • provide guidance to employers and jobseekers

View the Commission’s initiatives for understanding skills

EU support for national skills strategies and public employment services

National skills strategies, designed and delivered in a whole-of-government approach, align efforts across employment, education, research, industry and regional development policies. They should involve social partners, civil society, education, training and labour market stakeholders and build on existing national skills strategies.

  • The Commission will support all Member States to prepare national skills strategies under the updated Skills Agenda. This will build on the work already done with the OECD in 11 Member States and other skills strategies at Member State level.
  • The EU skills profile tool for third country nationals helps refugees, citizens of non-EU countries and migrants profile their skills.

Modernising vocational education and training

The Commission is working to modernise vocational education and training, in order to equip the workforce with the skills to support a fair transition to a green and digital economy as well as the post-COVID economic recovery.

Based on a Commission proposal, the Council has adopted a Council recommendation on Vocational Education and Training for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience, which defines key principles for ensuring that vocational education and training is agile, adapts swiftly to labour market needs and provides quality learning opportunities for all age groups.

To promote these reforms, the Commission supports Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) that bring together local partners to develop “skills ecosystems”. Skills ecosystems will contribute to regional, economic and social development, innovation, and smart specialisation strategies.

Osnabrück Declaration

The Osnabrück Declaration on vocational education and training for transition to digital and green economies has four objectives:

  • resilience and excellence through quality, inclusive and flexible vocational education and training
  • establishing a culture of lifelong learning
  • promoting sustainability through vocational educational and training
  • a European education and training area and an international dimension of vocational education and training

The declaration was endorsed on 30 November by the ministers in charge of vocational education and training of the Member States, the EU candidate countries and the EEA-EFTA countries, the European social partners and the European Commission. It is supported by European level VET providers’ associations (VET4EU2) and learners representatives.

Skills for green and digital transitions

To support the green transition, the Commission will develop:

To support skills development alongside the digital transition, the Commission will:

  • Update the Digital Education Action Plan, to ensure that digital skills are preperly addressed at all levels of education and training;
  • Implement the Digital Europe programme, with a focus on high level digital skills;
  • Support EU ICT-Jump-Start intensive courses to help the current workforce acquire relevant digital skills.

Skills for life

The Commission, together with Member States, will work on new priorities for the European Agenda for Adult Learning. These priorities will complement the renewed European cooperation framework in education and training, and to support the achievement of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Additionally, it will work to develop comprehensive, quality and inclusive adult learning systems.

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