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The Pact for Skills

Proofing the Future of Europe

European Training Foundation - 12/03/2022

Launched as it was in November 2020, during the Covid pandemic, the Pact for Skills is the driving component of the European Union’s ambitious strategy to achieve a green and digital transition while ensuring that no person is left aside. It’s also a way to "future proof" the EU from similar disruptions caused by rapid changes in climate, digital technologies, and geopolitics.

Designed to act as a platform for exchanging views and better engagement with public and private organisations, in addition to stakeholders from various social, economic and civic backgrounds, the Pact for Skills has the ambitious 2030 target of annually upskilling or reskilling 60% of the workforce — currently running at 34%-35% levels — to deal with what Joost Korte, the European Commission’s Director-General of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, describes as the "strange paradox" of demand for skills growing at the same time that many are finding themselves at risk of unemployment. Large-scale partnerships involving the private and public sectors, social partners, employment services and training providers, are being set up across the EU’s range of industrial ecosystems. Six are already in place and three —tourism, construction, and agri-food — are being currently launched. It is indicative of the momentum achieved that all 14 will be established by the summer.

As part of this process, the European Commission recently announced two further proposals — individual learning accounts for every working adult allowing for upskilling and reskilling, as well as a Europe-wide approach to the recognition of micro-credentials.

To support the transition to a green, digital, and fairer Europe, the EU, transnational institutions, and national governments are working at strengthening their culture of preparedness and evidence-based anticipatory policymaking. Part of the work to help achieve said transition is the EU Industry Days 2022 event held earlier in February, where highlighting industrial frontrunners and ongoing industrial policy discussions whilst improving the knowledge base of European industry take place every year. This year a dazzling array of experts outlined the challenges ahead, as well as the impressive progress that’s already been made, a promising sign of serious action being officially taken in the right direction.

But future-proofing Europe, as contemplated in the EU Industry Days 2022 platform, is not a matter of managing present risk but also better spotting future opportunities.

"It’s not about a crystal ball," said the European Commission Team Leader for Strategic Foresight, Grzegorz Drozd. "It’s a discipline and it includes using tools to shape the future."

For a thorough look on the EU Industry Days activities ever since 2017, see more here.

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