Stay in the loop! Subscribe to our mailing list

The European Parliament adopts a resolution on the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs

On 26 October 2011, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs. This is one of seven EU flagship initiatives, including Youth on the Move (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, September 2010) and Innovation Union, which were initiated by the European Commission last year as part of its Europe 2020 plan. The Agenda for New Skills and Jobs sets an ambitious employment rate target of 75% (compared to the current 69%) to be achieved by 2020 among women and men in the age group 20-64. It also aims to create conditions “to modernise labour markets and empower people by developing their skills throughout the lifecycle with a view to increase labour participation and better match labour supply and demand”. As a way to facilitate this empowerment through the acquisition of new skills, the Agenda contains several education-related provisions, including 

  • enhancing the strategic framework for cooperation in education and training involving all stakeholders based on life-long learning principles including through flexible learning pathways between different education and training sectors and levels and by promoting vocational education; 
  • ensuring that competences required to engage in further learning and the labour market are acquired and recognised throughout general, vocational, higher and adult education and to develop a common language and operational tool for education/training and work: a European Skills, Competences and Occupations framework (ESCO);  
  • enhancing the implementation of the European Qualifications Framework, through the establishment of national qualification frameworks; 
  • developing partnerships between the worlds of education/training and work, in particular, by involving social partners in the planning of education and training.

Parliament has also asked the Commission to strengthen the employment policies in several areas, and education and training is one of them. The Parliament admitted the importance of boosting investment in education, research and innovation, and some of its recommendations in this vein include 

  • boosting the attractiveness of jobs and careers to young workers with a 'knowledge alliance' that brings together businesses, social partners and education institutions to address innovation and skills gaps; 
  • invest more in research and development;
  • involve employers in the management of education institutions and in the development of courses, teaching methods, apprenticeships, assessment and qualification; and
  • promote European centres of excellence within new academic specialisations for tomorrow's jobs and the growth of clusters of innovative enterprises.

A substantial budget increase (by 1.9% up to EUR 9.5 billion) is foreseen for the implementation of this Agenda in the draft EU budget 2012, which is expected to be endorsed by national governments, the Council and the European Parliament early next month.

European Parliament