Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

06/02/2019 Brussels

Workshop: Building agile partnerships for skills of today and tomorrow

The workshop focused on new types of partnerships that can help address the changing skills needs and increasing demand for highly skilled workers resulting from technological change.

Workshop: Building agile partnerships for skills of today and tomorrow

The workshop was organised as part of the EU Industry Days 2019.

Partnerships for skills typically mean cooperation between training provision and the labour market. However, partnerships can encompass a much wider variety of stakeholders (public authorities, guidance bodies, research institutes etc.) to make the partnerships ‘agile’, i.e. more responsive to the changes in society and labour market. These partnerships can:

  • reduce skills mismatch
  • make learning more attractive
  • open employment prospects
  • promote labour-market relevant skills and work-based learning.

Mr Nico Binsfeld, from the Ministry of Labour and Public Employment Service, shared experiences from the Luxembourg Skills Bridge pilot programme, which supports both employees and companies in their response to the digital transformation. The programme is founded on tripartite governance and works to anticipate change, providing people with the skills they need to either remain in their current job or make a smooth transition to a new role. The experience has demonstrated the crucial role of unions for workforce skills development. 

Ms Katarzyna Gierczak Grupińska, CEO of the Family Business Foundation and co-owner of a family enterprise, recalled the reality of small businesses, and the care needed to select partners. An agile partnership for a small business is often about finding the right people – and that can take time.

Mr Iarla Flynn from Google shared how Grow with Google helps people to get access to training and products to grow their skills, career, or business. Google partners with governments, city councils, universities, private-sector businesses and non-profits to achieve this. Google’s experience shows that new learning environments such as platforms and digital workshops can help people to get the training they need.

The panelists agreed that for up-to-date skills intelligence, engaging with industry to define the skills needed is an absolute necessity. Ms Olivia Chapman, Policy and Programme Manager from NESTA, presented the Digital Front Runners, a programme for senior policymakers and other stakeholders in the Benelux and Nordic regions that enhances government capacity to improve the environment for future skills. NESTA has a long experience in skills needs assessment: one of their innovative approaches makes use of job advertisement data and machine learning algorithms to examine the digital skills required across occupations.

A comprehensive report of the Industry Days will be available in the coming months.


  • Mr Nico Binsfeld - Coordinator of the Luxemburg Skills Bridge, Ministry of Labour and Public Employment Service
  • Ms Katarzyna Gierczak Grupińska -  CEO of the Family Business Foundation and Co-owner of a family enterprise GELG
  • Ms Olivia Chapman - Policy and Programme Manager, NESTA Innovation Foundation
  • Mr Iarla Flynn, Director of Public Policy, Google 

Ms Alison Crabb, Head of Unit for Skills and Qualifications at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, moderated the workshop. 

Follow other events of the EU Industry Days 2019 via the hashtag #EUIndustryDay


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