The introduction of digitalisation in business is having a momentous impact on the production systems, labour conditions and organisational models of the labour market and the society in general. Quality basic education, high-standard and effective training, lifelong learning, up- and re-skilling for all will be the necessary tools for grasping the job opportunities of the future and fostering enterprise competitiveness. In this context, it is important to keep a human-centred approach and to find ways to accompany vulnerable people who will not be able to respond to the growing demands of the new technological era.
- The New Industrial Revolution has the potential to improve productivity and life and job quality if duly accompanied with a sound mix of policies for inclusive and sustainable innovation-driven growth. Quality basic education, as well as high-standard and effective training, lifelong learning, up- and re-skilling will be the necessary tools for grasping the job opportunities of the future and fostering enterprise competitiveness.
- In order to prepare and respond to the rapid technological and digital changes, the EESC, taking into account the subsidiarity principle, asks the European Commission (EC) and the Member States to design targeted policies and take tangible measures in order to improve and appropriately adapt their education and training systems, co-design national competency strategies and recognise the right to appropriate training for all age groups of people and workers and across sectors by:
- first ensuring that all EU citizens have equal access to quality early education;
- setting new common education and training benchmarks in order to narrow the gaps among EU countries and strengthen cohesion;
- reorienting education and training and strengthening VET systems in order to ensure the rapid acquisition of the necessary skills;
- supporting collective bargaining and social dialogue, in line with national industrial relations systems, in order to be able to anticipate and adapt the skills to technological and digital developments and develop on-the-job training;
- encouraging interaction between education institutions and companies;
- launching a qualification offensive to underpin the growing digitalisation of our labour markets;
- developing new measures in order to include everybody in training programmes, both those looking for a job and workers, with particular attention to low-skilled and adult workers;
- securing for all the provisions of, and participation in, training in a way that simultaneously improves enterprise performance and workers' personal and professional growth and extends coverage to non-standard jobs – ideally, it should be further examined whether such an individual training right should be portable, i.e. if people should be able to transfer it between employers and across countries;
- taking steps to check if and what measures are needed to establish the right to paid educational leave and considering EU measures with a view to making good practice in the area of minimum standards regarding entitlements to educational leave standard practice in some Member States;
- setting up a European homogeneous system of evaluation and validation of non-formal and informal learning;
- investing at EU level with specific and targeted funds to accompany the transition and setting new result-based criteria for their allocation;
- encouraging job exchanges among enterprises in order to support "brain exchange" opportunities and create platforms for information and best-practice sharing.
- In the "new forms of work" it is important to keep a human-centred approach.
- Last but not least, the EESC asks the EC and the Member States to find ways not to leave behind but to accompany vulnerable people who will not be able to respond to the changes and the growing demands of the new technological era.