The lack of adequate training will increase the polarisation of the labour market in terms of skills and qualifications

One of the buzzwords in the European Commission’s recovery strategy from the COVID-19 crisis is “skills”. Training, upskilling or reskilling are presented as key solutions to avoid massive unemployment due to the current crisis and the accelerated twin green and digital transformations. IndustriAll Europe agrees that skills are part of the solution, but highlights that training is not the silver bullet to solving these challenges. Training only makes sense in a job-rich environment. We also need a good industrial policy that leads to the creation of quality jobs, as well as adequate employment policies and fair social policies.

Training and life-long learning, including reskilling and upskilling, have been long-term priorities for industriAll Europe. Our national members have always been actively engaged in training efforts at all levels. However, the training challenge that we are facing now is unprecedented, because we need to train more people than ever at a much higher speed. Professions, jobs and the entire world of work are changing much faster than expected, due to the acceleration of the twin transformations caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

We are facing an urgency for education and training that ensures reskilling and upskilling to equip workers for jobs in a transforming industry. Every worker must have the right to quality training and life-long learning. This right must be combined with future-proof occupational pathways to support the transitions between jobs and respond to the skills needs resulting from a rapidly transforming industry. Both are a must at the level of employment and labour market policies in order to fight unemployment, and to support virtuous competitiveness and social cohesion. Skills development is a shared responsibility between governments, employers, workers and their trade unions. Our demands towards each are listed in our position paper(i). Together with our members, we fight for the right to individual training for workers and for future-proof occupational pathways.

Isabelle Barthes, industriAll Europe’s Deputy General Secretary said:

“For industry and companies to be competitive in a globalised world, education and training are critical to ensure the necessary skilled workforce. This is one of the main assets of the European social and economic models. The lack of adequate training will increase the polarisation of the labour market in terms of skills and qualifications.

Social dialogue, collective bargaining and trade union involvement at all levels, as well as good framework policies, are critical to ensure quality education and training. Sectoral social partners are best placed to identify skills requirements. They need to be closely involved in the design and the implementation of training, upskilling, reskilling and life-long learning policies, as well as employability policies to ensure future-proof occupational pathways.”

Access the industriAll Europe position paper
i. Ensuring lifelong employability through training for future-proof occupational pathways DE EN FR

Contact: Andrea Husen-Bradley (press and communication), Patricia Velicu (policy adviser)