Pick up a new skill in 2023, Source: Unsplash

2023 is the European Year of Skills

2023 is the European Year of Skills

The transition to a better future cannot happen without know-how and a capable human workforce

Every year the European Commission sets a theme for the next 12 months which will serve as a guide in policies and initiatives and as a way to bring attention to some area, aspect or issue of European life and society. In that light, 2023 will be the European Year of Skills, a theme that aims to recall the need for better and more comprehensive education and training that is available to all residents.

This will ensure that nobody is left behind and the economic recovery as well as the green and digital transitions are socially fair and just.

A workforce with the skills that are in demand also contributes to sustainable growth leads to more innovation and improves companies' competitiveness.

The present state of skills in the EU workforce

However, currently, more than three-quarters of companies in the EU report difficulties in finding workers with the necessary skills, and the latest figures from Eurostat suggest that only 37% of adults undertake training on a regular basis.

The Digital Economy and Society Index shows that 4 out of 10 adults and every third person who works in Europe lacks basic digital skills. In addition, already in 2021, 28 occupations ranging from construction and healthcare to engineering and IT had shortages, showing a growing demand for both high and low-skilled workers.

There is also a low representation of women in tech-related professions and studies, with only 1 in 6 IT specialists and 1 in 3 STEM graduates being women.

The stated objectives for the EU workforce

To encourage lifelong learning, Member States have endorsed the EU 2030 social target that at least 60% of adults should participate in training every year, already presenting their national contribution to meeting this target.

This is also important to reach the employment rate target of at least 78% by 2030. The 2030 Digital Compass sets the EU target that by 2030, at least 80% of all adults should have at least basic digital skills, and there should be 20 million employed ICT specialists in the EU, while more women should be encouraged to take up such jobs.

To meet these objectives, the Commission will promote upskilling and reskilling opportunities, for instance by highlighting relevant EU initiatives, including EU funding possibilities, to support their take-up, implementation and delivery on the ground. Events and awareness-raising campaigns will also be organised across the EU to support the mutual learning of partners in up- and reskilling.

The proposed Year also aims to help to further develop skills intelligence tools and promote tools and instruments for increased transparency and easier recognition of qualifications, including qualifications awarded outside the EU.

To ensure the coordination of relevant activities at the national level, the Commission calls on Member States to appoint a national coordinator for the European Year of Skills.



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