European Commissioners Nicolas Schmit (Jobs and Social Rights) and Thierry Breton (Internal Market) launched the pact for skills, a key initiative of the European skills agenda, during the European vocational skills week 2020 on 10 November.

At a virtual event, the two Commissioners announced the first European skills partnerships in key industrial ecosystems – automotive, microelectronics, and aerospace and defence industries.

The pact’s main objective is to mobilise resources and give incentives to all relevant stakeholders to take real action to upskill and reskill the workforce.

Commissioner Schmit stressed: ‘Today, most employers know that investing in skills needs to be a key issue in their strategy. They realise that they cannot rely on governments alone to take the responsibility for education and training. The pact for skills will gather and inspire different commitments from companies large and small, employment agencies, social partners, VET providers and other partners to create large-scale industrial partnerships. We do not have time for half measures. We need to act now.’  

Commissioner Breton said: ‘European talent is at the heart of our industrial resilience and will be the engine for the recovery from the pandemic. As the twin green and digital transitions are gathering speed, we want to equip all Europeans with the right skills. The launch of the pact for skills is just the beginning of our European skills offensive.’

European Commission’s Director for Skills Manuela Geleng highlighted the benefits for organisations joining the pact including 'networking, knowledge and resource hubs, seminars, webinars, peer learning experience, guidance and funding sources at EU level'.

The two Commissioners have already started to engage stakeholders by kicking off a series of high-level roundtables with representatives of industrial ecosystems, regional and national authorities, education and social partners and education and training providers.