CESI statement on EU social partner consultation on an updated Skills Agenda for Europe

As part of its work programme for the year 2020, the European Commission is currently working on an updated Skills Agenda for Europe. In a social partner consultation statement in the context of this update, CESI made concrete suggestions on how the Skills Agenda for Europe can be adjusted to reflect skills requirements in tomorrow’s labour markets while at the same time not losing sight of the task of education systems to educate responsible and open-minded, engaged citizens.

The main considerations for an updated Skills Agenda for Europe raised by CESI in its consultation contribution include the following key aspects:

• Sufficient levels investments, especially public investments, in education and training are crucial in order to keep educational performing. Europe, as a continent relatively poor in natural resources, has no choice but to invest heavily in the capacity of its people and workforce in order to remain internationally competitive and well-equipped for the future.

• There is an important responsibility that lies with employers to embrace training for workers and invest in the further training and re-training of employees. The employers benefit greatly from the training of its workers; hence, next to monetary investments, they should also take a proactive role and ownership in terms of making training possible during working time.

• The Skills Agenda should avoid an excessive focus on a ‘utilitarian’ focus on education as a mere provider for technical skills needed in the labour markets. Instead, education must remain a stronghold for youngsters to be equipped with the ‘humanitarian’ background necessary to become open-minded, responsible and engaged citizens that appreciate the value of liberal democracy and pluralist societies.

CESI’s full statement is available here.