Skills: First edition of the Pact for Skills Forum

Last week, on 21 and 22 March, the European Commission (EC) organised the first edition of the Pact for Skills (PfS) Forum in Brussels, titled “Unlocking skills potential across Europe”, with the aim of providing an overview of the Pacts’ achievements and outline its vision for future development.

Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Right and Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market, opened the Forum taking stock of the current skills’ situation, the skills revolution that is needed and of what has been done in the context of the European Year of Skills.

During the two-day forum, panel discussions, interactive thematic workshops, a World Café, and informal open spaces to present good practices took place to address the skills situation and labour shortages from different perspectives. As a consensus emerged that skilling, reskilling and upskilling the current and future workforce is essential to delivering the digital and green transitions, with both the European Union and its Member States requested to make a joint effort to tackle skills shortages and implement effective strategies for attracting and retaining skills and talent.

Additionally, a need for more synergies between existing European and national instruments to increase their effectiveness was discussed, as for instance at the EU level between the Pact for Skills and the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EafA). This Forum functioned as a platform for both policymakers and practitioners to gather and to share their experiences of upskilling and reskilling, as well as their ideas and recommendations for future activities to further increase the impact of the PfS in the medium to long term.

According to an EC survey, more than 3.5 million workers received training from 2,500 organisations as part of the PfS in 2022 and 2023. The 745 Pact member organisations consulted said that being part of a large-scale skills partnership had improved the monitoring and anticipation of skills in their sector (80%), improved the quality (75%) and increased the volume (73%) of training activities; 92,000 players had been brought together in skills networks since 2022 and 48,000 training courses had been updated or developed. A full assessment is expected to be published later in April by the Commission.

EBC is one of the coordinators of the Pact for Skills in construction next to FIEC and EFBWW, and has recently renewed its EafA pledge. In line with the PfS and EAfA principles, EBC believes that it is crucial to break down the stereotypes of construction careers, raise the profile of vocational education and training, and develop training programmes more in line with the day-to-day skills needs in construction SMEs and crafts, with the ultimate objective to make this transitioning sector more attractive to younger generations and under-represented groups, such as women.

To read the Pact for Skills in construction click here.
To sign the Pact for Skills click here

The updated EBC pledge for the EafA is available here.