Eurisy at the 1st Pact for Skills Forum

Between 21 and 22 March 2024, Eurisy participated online in the 1st edition of the Pact for Skills Forum “Unlocking the skills potential across Europe”, organised by the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) of the European Commission, under the umbrella of Pact for Skills, one of the flagship actions of the European Skills Agenda. Eurisy’s participation follows its increasing activities and engagement in the education and skills in the downstream space sector  

The opening featured Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, and Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, who jointly discussed the importance of skills development in Europe in light of the new technological revolution, the skills shortage and race for talents. The Commissioners highlighted the importance of the Pact for Skills in the context of the European Year of Skills and presented the key points of the Pact, aiming to address the challenges that Europe is facing, including the possibility of different sectors to bring different stakeholders such as providers, companies and regions together, to identify the skills required, and develop e-learning programmes which will assist with upskilling and reskilling of the European workforce. The Commissioners further emphasised the need for the promotion of STEM education and making Europe a place where people can bring their passion and talents, and where a culture of skilling, upskilling and reskilling is fostered.

From left to right: Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Paul Guest, Moderator-Expert-Consultant at Orientra.

During the Pact for Skills and its achievements so far session, the speakers highlighted that people are what makes companies successful, therefore investing in skills development is crucial. A striking emphasis was also placed on the importance of diversity and inclusion, and the future of education for the necessary reskilling and upskilling of the European workforce.

From left to right: Ali Abkar, Managing Director at the AgriWatch B.V., Emir Demircan, Public Policy Director at Infineon Technologies, Monika Bańka, Policy and Netowrk Coordinator at the European Chemical Regions Network, Klaus Ehrlich, General Secretary Ruraltour and Coordinator LSP Tourism at PacTS4ALL – Pact for Skills in Tourism LSP, Vicki Donlevy, Director of Ecorys.

The next topic revolved around Working together to tackle skills shortages in the digital transition, during which the speakers emphasised the importance of adult learning under the Pact for Skills. For example, Manuela Geleng from DG EMPL of the European Commission, highlighted that the European Commission has been investing heavily in skills development in order to ensure Europe’s competitiveness and digital and green transition. She also emphasised that all the stakeholders need to step and work together on the national and European level, all  of which can be achieved under the auspices of the Pact for Skills.

From left to right: Signe Brike, Head of RRF implementation unit at the Ministry of Education and Science Republic of Latvia, Mark Jordan, Chief Strategy Officer at Skillnet Ireland, Enrico Frumento, Research Lead at Cefriel Cybersecurity, Eric Feunteun, VP at Software République Operations, Renault Group, Jean-Marc Leclerc, Head of EU Affairs of IBM Corporation, Manuela Geleng, DG EMPL of the European Commission, Caterina Bortolaso, Project Manager at DigitalSME.

A thematic workshop entitled Attracting and retaining skills and talent presented the many challenges of attracting and retaining skills and talent. The participants presented some initiatives to address such challenges, for example, engaging and participating in conversations with new talents from very early on and present the many career opportunities in different sectors to the young people. As an innovative approach, making use of social media and awareness raising campaigns was suggested, as well as developing an understanding of employment needs of young people.

During the session entitled Maximising synergies between Pact for Skills and European Alliance for Apprenticeships, moderated by Anna Barbieri, DG EMPL of the European Commission, the panellists focused on the added value that their membership to these EU initiatives such as Pact for Skills brings to their work. Alessandra Frasetto, EU Policy & Project Officer at EVTA – European Vocational Training Association, explained that being a member of the Pact for Skills contributes significantly to efficient networking, as a Pact for Skills member gets many opportunities to network with various stakeholders and exchange good practices with them.

Andriana Sukova, (Acting) Director-General of the DG EMPL of the European Commission, noted that the skills shortage will likely persist, and that the EU is facing a challenge of needing to substitute retired workers and upskill new workers, with science and technology presenting a major challenge due to their need for highly specialised skills.

Andriana Sukova, (Acting) Director-General, DG EMPL, European Commission.

The Pact for Skills Forum was therefore a great opportunity for Eurisy to hear more about the challenges of skills and talent shortages that Europe has been increasingly facing, the need for upskilling and reskilling to ensure Europe’s competitiveness in the core sectors, as well as the opportunities for addressing such challenges under the Pact for Skills, exemplified by stepping and working together on the national and European level, which reinforced Eurisy’s commitment to continue its work on skills development in the downstream space sector.