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The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is planning to launch a procurement procedure for a study on Europe's Circular Economy and its Pact for Skills: working together for an inclusive and job-rich transition?
This announcement is made pursuant to Annex I.14 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, to award a low value contract as a result of a negotiated procedure. It is published ahead of the procurement procedure with basic information on the subject matter of the contract to give interested economic operators the possibility to express their interest in participating as tenderers in the subsequent procurement procedure.
All economic operators established in the European Union, European Economic Area and countries with a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, with proven experience in conducting studies on related topics, may express their interest in participating.
The Circular Economy Action Plan 2.0 (CEAP), launched by the European Commission in March 2020 pointed out the potential of circularity to ensure a positive net effect on job creation provided that workers acquire the skills required by the green transition.
In its Communication announcing the CEAP, the Commission pledged to "ensure that its instruments in support of skills and job creation contribute to accelerating the transition to a circular economy, including in the context of updating its Skills Agenda and launching a Pact for Skills with large-scale multi-stakeholder partnerships".
The Pact for Skills launched in November 2020 aims to support a fair and resilient recovery and deliver on the ambitions of the green and digital transitions and of the EU Industrial and SME Strategies, by inviting public and private organisations to join forces and take concrete action to upskill and reskill people in Europe.
The Pact for Skills builds on the Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills initiative launched by the European Commission and carried out by sectoral partners to address sector skills mismatches and shortages by gathering skills intelligence, developing a sector skills strategy, designing concrete education and training solutions for quick take-up at regional and local level, and for emerging occupations.
Another important EU initiative strictly linked to skills development is the New European Bauhaus. Launched in September 2021 by the European Commission, it also aims to translate the European Green Deal into a tangible movement able to facilitate and steer the transformation of our society along three values: sustainability, aesthetics and inclusion.
The EESC recognised in its opinion on the New Circular Economy Action Plan (INT/895) that proposals should be put forward to incorporate circular economy principles into school curricula and higher education programmes, as well as the financing of high-capacity technical education and support for creative skills.
The EESC also highlighted in its opinion on the Updated skills agenda (SOC/637) that data and information on Vocational Education and Training (VET), skills and labour market needs must be improved in relation to the EU goals on education and training and that the new indicators should enforce the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the European Semester.
Furthermore, the EESC called in its own initiative opinion SOC/636 for a comprehensive EU level strategy, such as a Council recommendation, on improving education and training on green skills and competences, developing green school strategies, and providing upskilling and reskilling to adults at and beyond the workplace in the skills needed for protecting the environment, for society and for greening the economy.
The circular economy is a cross-cutting priority for the EESC. Its importance for a fair and just transition, particularly in view of the digital and green transition, its strong links to the social economy and its far-reaching impact on jobs highlight the need for a study on the skills to support these transitions.
As a first step, the study will provide a general overview of the required skills to embrace circularity in EU industry, taking into account the different professional profiles along the stages of the value chain (e.g., design, management, production, provision of services) and including an analysis of the available data and data gaps.
As a second step, the study shall provide an analysis of the state of play of the different EU initiatives on skilling and upskilling (e.g., The Pact for Skills, Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills, New European Bauhaus) with a specific focus on the green transition to understand their expected impacts.
Specifically, tenderers will be asked to propose at least three case studies of Sectoral Alliances under the 'Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills' initiative which have reached a mature stage. The successful tenderer will then develop the case studies to identify and assess their specific challenges, barriers and achievements as regards proper skilling and upskilling of the workforce on required expertise for circularity.
As a third step, the study shall provide recommendations on activities and areas to be developed in future initiatives at EU level (e.g., 2023: the European Year of Skills), including possible actions for future EESC work and activities. Proposals should consider, inter alia, how to advance on occupational profiles, training programmes, and long-term planning for green skills; how to improve potential data gaps, what focus future Erasmus+ funded EU projects should have, and how to strengthen the activities carried out under the Pact for Skills.
The study should be carried out in English, cover the region of the European Union and propose a limited number of case studies (at least three Blueprint sectoral alliances).
Launch of the invitation to tender: 4th quarter 2022.
Contract award: 4th quarter 2022.
The final study report is expected within 7 months following the signature of the contract.
Deadline for submission of tenders: approximately 3 weeks following the launch of the invitation to tender 2022.
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Please note that this announcement does not create any obligation for the EESC to launch a procurement procedure. The EESC will take the submitted information into account only to identify potential candidates. Expressing interest to participate in a negotiated procedure of this type does not create any legal right or legitimate expectation on the part of any economic operator, and the EESC has the right to cancel the procedure at any time. The procurement documents will only be provided to the identified candidates, and any tender received from a legal or natural person not invited to tender will be rejected.