Vocational training: the effectiveness of systems to anticipate and match skills and labour market needs and the role of social partners and different stakeholders

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Avizul CESE: Vocational training: the effectiveness of systems to anticipate and match skills and labour market needs and the role of social partners and different stakeholders

Key points

The EESC:

  • reiterates the importance of matching skills with labour market needs and stresses the crucial importance of having effective training systems and the ability to anticipate skills needs at a time of profound upheavals due to the COVID-19 crisis, which is speeding up the process of change in our economy, especially in the digital and environmental fields;
  • in view of the recruitment difficulties faced by European businesses, stresses the benefits of using dual learning schemes, which can take very different forms, for skills acquisition. The vast majority of employers perform their role honestly as dual-learning trainers, with a view to passing on their expertise. However, particular attention should be paid to anticipating and preventing any abuse linked to zero-cost productive jobs being carried out by students enrolled in these schemes;
  • highlights the specific nature of SMEs. Given the technical nature of the work carried out in a large number of SMEs, which requires unique expertise, particularly in niche markets, dual learning could offer a suitable solution to their skills needs. In many rural areas, the expertise of small businesses provides a unique opportunity for young people and a favourable business environment could improve their employment prospects;
  • considers the social partners to be effective players in designing and managing training systems; they are particularly well placed to measure the skills needs of the labour market. They are able to detect skills shortages by sector and by area, thus ensuring that skills are developed efficiently and on the basis of practical work experience. They may rely on stakeholders such as the state, the region or the public employment service (PES) to reconcile quantitative and qualitative data with regard to skills needs.
  • points out that the social partners must systematically play a major role in the development of qualifications and their content. It is essential to involve the social partners from the outset to prevent a situation where resources do not meet the real needs of employers and employees in Europe. Similarly, the social partners are qualified to support career guidance for all target groups;
  • points out that training is an essential tool for integrating people with disabilities. Appropriate measures must be taken to tackle the challenge of equal opportunities for people with disabilities, especially women, under conditions of equal access to inclusive vocational training schemes;
  • recommends drawing up national strategic agreements on vocational training and guidance, on the basis of negotiations between the authorities and the social partners, involving vocational education and training (VET) stakeholders.