On 8 February, in the context of the EU Industry Days 2022, the EU sectoral social partners of the construction industry, FIEC and EFBWW, in cooperation with EBC, published the Pact for Skills in Construction, an initiative promoted by the European Commission in the framework of the “EU Skills Agenda”. Calling for concrete commitments by construction and education stakeholders at all levels, this Pact aims at mobilising a concerted effort among private and public partners for quality investment in vocational education and training, as well as in knowledge, skills and competences to benefit the European construction sector workforce.
The EU construction industry represents 9.5% of EU GDP (€ 1,324 billion) and 6.1% of EU total employment (12.7 million workers active in about 3.2 million enterprises). Its importance for the European economy and society is well known, even more so given its key role in making the environmental, digital and health ambitions of the European Green Deal a reality.
To better promote current and upcoming career options in construction, FIEC, EBC and EFBWW have jointly developed this Pact for Skills in Construction, which identifies 5 key principles to improve the quality and quantity of skills in construction:
- Building strong partnerships, including with VET institutions;
- Monitoring occupational supply and demand, while anticipating knowledge, skills & competences needs;
- Working against discrimination;
- Attracting more young people and women in the sector;
- Promoting a culture of lifelong learning for all, supported by adapted incentives.
Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights stated: “The construction ecosystem relies on well-trained people. New technologies and climate goals mean that workers have to learn and acquire new skills or update them. I commend the important skills partnership launched today by the construction ecosystem, which will see three million workers benefit.”
Thomas Bauer, FIEC President said: “In the framework of the ongoing green and digital transition, our workers’ skills needs are evolving very rapidly. With this Pact, we therefore call all relevant stakeholders, both public and private, and at all levels, to join us and commit to putting in place the right conditions which will enable the upskilling and reskilling of the workforce. This is a prerequisite to achieve the goals of the EU Green Deal.”
Rinaldo Incerpi, EBC President added: “Environmental and social sustainability, as well as digital construction, are major challenges for the construction sector. To make this a reality, our entrepreneurs, workers and trainers, but also the talents to be convinced to join our sector, need training and education in line with current societal challenges and market demands. This Pact is of crucial importance as it marks a new round of concrete commitments to improve construction skills in Europe.”
Johan Lindholm, EFBWW President concluded: “The construction sector is facing a labour shortage for many years. There is an urgent need to attract more young workers, more female workers, and skilled workers to the sector. The Pact for Skills is an opportunity to achieve it. Social dialogue has an important role to play: trade unions, employers and Governments need to work together to provide more and updated training to achieve better working conditions, and decent and direct jobs.”