The aim of the conference was to stimulate discussion and identify key policy priorities, challenges, and applicable solutions to the problem of skill mismatch, with particular emphasis on the role of public-private partnerships and of supportive public policies. Experts in skills and skill mismatch, along with representatives of governments, social partners, education and training, and the labour market engaged in a series of discussions structured around two key thematic pillars:
- Future challenges for VET: Impact of technology and workplace change on skill needs
- Fostering partnerships in the workplace: rising up to the challenge of skill mismatch
Relevant to these pillars, the major issues considered and discussed during the conference regarded:
- strengthening the effectiveness of public policies (e.g. work-based learning, ALMPs) to facilitate transitions from school to work and unemployment back to work;
- improving the efficiency and responsiveness of public training programmes to labour market needs;
- ensuring that the benefits of new technologies are transformed into more and better jobs and lower wage inequality;
- improving the responsiveness of VET systems and institutions to innovations and changing skill needs, so as to better anticipate and tackle skill shortages;
- allowing VET providers to act as catalysts of enhanced social cooperation in tackling skill mismatch;
- developing and using the skills of the workforce by redesigning jobs, adopting better human resource management practices and raising job quality.
The objective of the conference was to inform policies that could stimulate skills demand through innovation and better jobs and be effectively matched to the skills of young and adult workers, as stated in the revised priorities for VET agreed by the European Commission, Member States and social partners at Riga in June 2015 (‘Riga Conclusions’).