Eurocadres contributes to Commission’s Digital Education Action Plan
Two Commission public consultations, one on digital skills, one on digital education are central to the action plan.
The changes we have seen over the past number of years has shown the ever-changing landscape of our working world. Amongst the various changes, digitalisation has had a profound impact on the workplace, leading to significant changes for Europe’s professionals and managers. While these changes present questions about our work-life balance, workers protection, surveillance at work, increased automation and many other fundamental issues, the skillset that workers need to thrive have been challenged and changed over the past few years.
This need for adaptation in the field of skills and education has not gone unnoticed by the European Commission, who have proposed a wide-ranging Digital Education Action Plan for the years 2021-2027. While the Commission has instigated updating the policy field, Eurocadres have already been examining and exploring trade union involvement in the updating of workers’ skills and education policy through our past project on re- and upskilling of professionals and managers. From our outreach with workers and their representatives over the course of this project, some of the barriers to re/up-skilling became clear, namely in access to training, the involvement of union’s in planning/delivery and the availability of training during working hours.
Eurocadres is also contributing to new policy developments in the Digital Education Action Plan through two public consultations the European Commission launched, one entitled Digital Skills: Improving their provision, and the other Digital Education: Enabling factors of success. We are advocating for an approach that strengthens the skills and education agenda for professionals and managers while safeguarding workers’ rights, with our role as social partners affording us the opportunity to contribute to the Commission’s policy creation. The public consultation responses feed to the policy process, aiming to ensure a coordinated EU approach on digital education and training.
Our responses emphasised several areas within skills and education where professionals and managers need to respond to the needs of the evolving digital workplace. For skills, this means developing an approach of lifelong learning, integrating in-work training regimes to the skills necessary to thrive, and providing these in a fair and accessible manner, involving worker’s representatives in every stage of the conception, development and implementation of training regimes. On education policy, professional needs must be linked to education policy from an early stage, including fair and effective internship policies. Repeatedly interns in Europe have been subjected to sub-standard working conditions, with the terms of employment and tasked provided often not realised throughout the experience in the workplace. Nonetheless, these actions are not effective unless educational staff receive the necessary resources to function. As with skills, the involvement of trade unions must be included during the education of future professionals.
Eurocadres will keep on advocating a strong skills and education policy, including the future EU actions on digital education and skills, promoting both the capacities and rights of professionals and managers. As the world of work continues to change for professionals and managers, the significance of better European regulation, funding for lifelong learning, the involvement of worker’s representatives and resourcing labour inspectorates to guarantee fair enforcement will continue to be crucial issues for European workers.