Questions and answers: European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience
Why are skills so important?
Skills are key for sustainable competitiveness, resilience and ensuring social fairness for all. Businesses need workers with the skills required to master the green and digital transitions, and people need to be able to get the right education and training to thrive in life. Skills are an answer to the need for companies to remain competitive while ensuring social fairness for all.
The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the importance of having the right skills for strategic sectors to perform and for individuals to navigate through life and professional transitions. In particular, it has accentuated the need of digital skills in many aspects of people's daily lives and for business continuity. While telework and distance learning have become a reality for millions of people in the EU, the limitations of our current digital preparedness were often revealed.Currently, at least 85% of jobs require some level of digital ability, while only 56% of adults had at least basic digital skills in 2019. Between 2005 and 2016, 40% of new jobs were in digitally-intensive sectors. As Europe sets off on its path to recovery, the need to improve and adapt skills becomes an imperative.
Having the right skills means being able to more easily stay employed and master job transitions. This requires providing equal access to additional up-skilling opportunities for people across the EU, regardless of gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, and including low-qualified/skilled adults and people with a migrant background. Similarly, all territories should be covered, from big cities to rural, coastal or remote areas across the whole EU.
What is new in the Skills Agenda?
The Skills Agenda introduces a totally new momentum, focused on skilling for a job. It combines a European Pact for Skills which brings together all stakeholders with a heavily increased EU budget, as proposed by the Commission in May, and ambitious quantitative objectives by 2025. The new Skills Agenda:
- calls for collective action, mobilising business, social partners and stakeholders, to commit to working together, in particular within the EU's industrial eco-systems and across value chains;
- defines a clear strategy to ensure that skills lead to jobs;
- helps people build their skills throughout life in an environment where lifelong learning is the norm;
- identifies the significant financial means to invest in skills;
- sets ambitious objectives for up- and reskilling to be achieved within the next 5 years.
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