In two separate meetings, on 20 March in Athens and on 27 March in Sofia, Cedefop officially launched its EU country support programme to strengthen the governance of skills anticipation and matching.

In the next two years, the agency will work closely with national authorities in four EU Member States – Greece, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Estonia. At the request of the countries, and in coordination with appointed national stakeholder bodies, Cedefop will provide methodological guidance on their skills intelligence and anticipation tools; it will also assist them in reflecting on specific challenges, bottlenecks and policy solutions that can further strengthen their skills governance processes.

Cedefop’s European skills and jobs (ESJ) survey has revealed that more than four in ten adult employees in Europe believe their skills can either be further developed or better used at work. European policy that mitigates skill mismatch can therefore lead to higher productivity and improved worker wellbeing.

But matching a country’s investment in education and training better to dynamic and rapidly changing skill needs, shaped by ongoing digitalisation and automation, requires a well-developed skills anticipation and matching infrastructure. Cedefop’s long-standing research on skills anticipation and skill mismatch in EU countries has revealed that an integrative approach to skills governance is key for strengthening feedback loops between vocational education and training (VET) and the labour market.

A game changer

‘Producing sound labour market intelligence is simply not enough: the real “game changer” is to deepen institutional and operational processes that better coordinate stakeholder involvement and widen the reach of labour market signals to the design of education and training programmes,’ said Cedefop’s Head of Department for Skills and Labour Market Pascaline Descy in her opening statements at the Greek and Bulgarian kick-off meetings.

Her assertion that ‘EU policy has steadily shifted over time towards hands-on interaction with Member States open to such support’ was welcomed by the Greek Deputy Minister of Labour Rania Antonopoulou and the Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Education and Sciences Maria Gaydarova. Both ministers highlighted that integrating and better using skills intelligence in the design of their national VET and employment policies is an important concern for their countries, which are affected by high levels of skill mismatches.

During the meetings, Cedefop experts Konstantinos Pouliakas and Stelina Chatzichristou presented to a wide audience of Greek and Bulgarian stakeholders the comprehensive analytical framework that Cedefop has developed for assessing skills anticipation and matching governance in different countries.

The reviews will also draw on a wealth of Cedefop’s existing databases and instruments, such as the first compendium of guides on skills anticipation methods, the European skills and jobs survey, the Making Skills Work indexCedefop’s skills forecasts and the country reports monitoring the progress of VET policies and systems in EU countries.

Find more information about Cedefop’s new country support programme or contact the project coordinators: Jasper van Loo and Konstantinos Pouliakas