Roadmap summary: A new Skills Agenda for Europe

(FILES) A file photo taken on April 24, 2009 shows the European Union flag and national flags in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. The Nobel Peace Prize was on October 12, 2012 awarded to the European Union, an institution currently wracked by crisis but is credited with bringing more than a half century of peace to a continent ripped apart by World War II.  AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN

Earlier this month, the European Commission published the roadmap for the forthcoming communication on “A new Skills Agenda for Europe”. (For the full Roadmap, please click here). The Agenda forms part of the European Commission’s 2016 Work Programme.


The Roadmap aims to promote skills development, including the mutual recognition of qualifications, supporting vocational training and higher education and reaping the full potential of digital jobs.




The Roadmap identifies three key issues that the Agenda will address:


  1. Lack of skills
    1. Insufficient skills
    2. Lack of relevant skills
  2. Inefficient use of available skills
    1. Employee skills are not exploited o their full potential
    2. Insufficient transparency of skills and qualifications
    3. Insufficient understanding of how to integrate different skills and qualifications into the labour market
  3. Difficulty in forecasting and anticipating skills
    1. Lack of coherent and up-to-date overview of information on skills needs in Europe
    2. Access to and quality of career guidance services varies and is often lacking
    3. Education and training is insufficiently linked
    4. Clear information or guidance to support worker mobility is not easily available
    5. Existing EU initiatives and web-tools no longer correspond to the reality of modern life


The problems outlined above act as a drag on growth, competitiveness and employability. SMEs are particularly affected as they often lack the capacity to invest in further training.




The main objective of the initiative is to promote skills development in general and to address the problems listed above.


However, more specific objectives have been identified:


  1. Equipping more people with higher and more relevant skills
  2. Improving transparency and use of available skills, including of EU mobile workers and learners and those having non-EU qualifications
  3. Improving understanding of skills needs and trends in the labour market


By reaching these objectives, the initiative will contribute towards helping people develop the skills they need to access and progress in quality work and actively take part in society, as well as to boost employability, competitiveness and support fair and balanced growth, reaping the full potential of digital and technological advancements.


The initiative would offer an integrated framework for EU-level activities on skills and work towards a joint commitment of the EU and Member States in taking them forward.


The Roadmap also identifies a preferred action to address skills challenges, including the launching of:


  • A political initiative to generate shared commitment between relevant stakeholders for skills development and identify priorities for partnerships
  • A new digital skills initiative building on Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs to improve digital skills at all levels
  • A new initiative to boost entrepreneurial skills and transitions to entrepreneurship


The Roadmap also suggests exploring:


  • The set-up, complementarity and synergies of EU future funding instruments with a skills dimension
  • Possibilities to launch a new initiative to expand possibilities for SMEs to gain access to finance in order to invest in skills and talent of tomorrow in line with the Investment Plan for Europe
  • Possible ways of validating, within national and regional frameworks, digital competences acquired outside formal education and training
  • Common approaches to graduate tracking in Higher Education and measures higher education outcomes


Next steps

Specific Implementation Plans will be developed for single actions, where applicable, while Impact assessments will be prepared for any initiative with significant impacts to be brought forward as a follow-up to the agenda, in line with the Commission’s better regulation policy.


The Communication is due in late May 2016.



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