2023 Year of Skills
Eurocadres has been long advocating for strong European skills regime, to which the 2023 thematic Year of Skills is a welcome addition. However, the basic issues to address skills gap still remain. Principles such as right to training, strong in-work training capacities and focus on re- and upskilling need to be properly addressed to close the skills gap.
Eurocadres, the representative of the cross-sectoral interests of Professionals and Managers, is one of the three recognised European cross-sectoral social partners representing six million employees.
We recognise the skills gap the Commission describes, which impacts workers in different sectors despite the variety of their working conditions and roles. Eurocadres welcomes raising the profile of these skill needs, in the format of the Year of Skills 2023. Our key recommendations for the initiative are the following:
Inclusion of the Social Partners in the skills agenda
Outside of the proposed actions, measures and partnerships, social partners will need to be active participants on different initiatives, ranging from policy measures to individual projects. While the European Year of Skills agenda appears promising, this inclusion is necessary for it to be successful through the different initiatives, both horizontally and vertically.
All actions must follow best practice on fair and accessible training & education
The basic principles, such as the right to training, should be kept in the core of every action taken under the wider skills agenda. This means emphasising the first principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights, stating "Everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning in order to maintain and acquire skills that enable them to participate fully in society and manage successfully transitions in the labour market." Re-skilling actions should be accessible for all workers.
Integrating a strong in-work training regime
The skills policy must take into consideration the social and workplace protection currently available in all the initiatives under the Year of Skills. Skills gaps cannot be addressed only via educational methods and attracting new talent, but providing the existing workforce with adaptive basic and specialised skills to match the new needs of the labour market. Hence, a strong approach that further integrates the in-work training and life-long learning should be emphasised beyond the point of strengthening synergies.
Fair treatment of new and old talent
Attracting third-country nationals can provide one answer to existing labour shortages, but must not result in a race-to-the-bottom in terms of social protection. While EU trained professionals are often well aware of their rights as workers, integrating third-country talents to the European labour market must also take into consideration their awareness of the labour conditions and rights. While recognition of the qualifications of new talent remains a high priority, any action to attract new talent should not be done in a vacuum that disregards the existing workforce in the Single Market and their re- and upskilling potential.