Updated skills agenda

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Opinjoni tal-KESE: Updated skills agenda

Key points

The EESC:

  • welcomes the fact that both the Skills Agenda and the Council recommendation on Vocational Education and Training were developed under the umbrella of the European Pillar of Social Rights;
  • considers that greater emphasis should be placed on guidance and counselling on the green and digital transition of the labour market, whilst a green skills and competences strategy should be developed at EU-level in line with the European Green Deal; emphasises that soft skills and key competences, including social and citizenship competences, are equally important as the ''right skills'' needed on the labour market;
  • calls for the involvement of social partners, civil society organisations and other relevant stakeholders in improving the vocational education and training system and in increasing its inclusivity and attractiveness for all; their involvement is also crucial in the design of the Pact for Skills on up- and reskilling of workers;
  • encourages the update and reconsideration of the indicators presented in the Skills Agenda and the recommendation on vocational education and training following research on the impact on education, training and the labour market as a result of the Covid-19 crisis;
  • considers that the European Semester and the Digital Education Action Plan should address the issue of support to schools, teachers, parents and students to improve digital skills and invest in the necessary equipment;
  • considers that access to high quality and inclusive vocational education and training and apprenticeships should be a right for all vocational education and training learners; policies should be developed to raise the attractiveness of the profession of vocational education and training teachers and trainers; calls for the development of European Core Profiles in vocational education and training which take into consideration sectors' needs and national requirements from vocational education and training professions, amongst other issues;
  • recommends the improvement of the Europass platform, with information accessible to people with disabilities and available in various languages, amongst them the major languages of migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees;
  • calls for a consistent and efficient use of instruments such as Next Generation EU and the European Social Fund + to support education and training policies;
  • considers that business-higher education partnerships should not lead to cuts in public higher education budgets, whilst the European Semester should foresee sustainable national public investment in higher education and research;
  • suggests that EU-level research on Individual Learning Accounts be carried out and that the Commission initiates social dialogue thereon;
  • draws attention to the need to develop national skills actions which support female students, workers and unemployed and actions aimed at supporting refugees and asylum-seekers to validate their skills and competences.