Skills anticipation in Spain is a collaborative process between national government departments and agencies, namely the Ministry of Labour and Social economy (Ministerio de Trabajo y Economía Social), and the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (Ministerio de Educación y Formación Profesional), regional governments and the social partners (employers’ and workers’ representatives). In addition, the Chambers of Commerce, of which there are 86 at local level, are co-ordinated by the Cámara de Comercio de España and assess the skills needs of their associated companies. A major reform of the training system for both employed and unemployed people was approved in 2015,[i] stipulating the improved coordination between the multiple actors involved in the VET system. The Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security (via Public Employment Service (PES)(Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal – SEPE) and the State Foundation for Training for Employment) and the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (through INCUAL) use of a coordinated methodology to develop training needs assessments and skills forecasting. Important here is the development of a multi-annual scenario, developed by the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security, that acts as a framework for strategic planning to ensure that training provision is guided by skills anticipation. The multi-annual scenario will be developed by using the annual report of PES that outlines skills needs.
National and regional authorities along with the social partners are part of the General Council of the National Employment System (Consejo General del Sistema Nacional de Empleo),[ii] which is the main consultation forum related to the vocational training system for employment. The Council guarantees, among other tasks, the correct implementation of Law 30/2015, in close cooperation, with the Spanish General Council on VET (Consejo General de la Formación Profesional) where necessary.[iii]
The principal outputs of skills anticipation activities consist of (a) a multi-annual scenario (described above); and (b) the annual report of the PES (Informe Anual de Necesidades Formativas) which identifies the occupations with relatively strong employment prospects and their associated training needs [iv] and includes recommendations relating to training provision for both those in employment and those who are unemployed. Additionally, sectoral reference plans (planes de referencia sectoriales) are produced by the 87 Sectoral Joint Committees.[v]
The primary aim of skills anticipation is to match and adapt the skills developed in the education and training system with the skills in demand in the labour market. The skills anticipation approach in Spain attempts to achieve this through the inclusion of stakeholders in the assessment of skills needs. The latter is primarily the responsibility of the respective agencies of the Ministry of Labour, and the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. The governmental economic programme for fiscal discipline and social cohesion, known as the Agenda for Change (Agenda del Cambio), was published in February 2019. Action is focused on:
- enhancing training and human capital;
- promoting ecological transition;
- fostering scientific and technological progress;
- moving towards an efficient and fair labour market;
- reducing inequality and protecting the welfare state; and
- progressing towards a more efficient public administration at the service of citizenship.
Skills anticipation activities will provide evidence to measure progress towards these actions. The agenda also proposes an update to the classification of occupational standards to ensure they meet the needs of the labour market. This updating is to be undertaken in consultation with social partners, the private sector and educational institutions.
With the aim of matching the provision of training to skills demand, the skills anticipation process has undergone a major reform, though it has not yet been fully implemented.[vi] The provision of training for employment will now be matched more closely to labour market skills demand, based on multi-annual strategic planning in consultation with stakeholders such as regional governments and the social partners. As a result of the reform, a focus has also been placed on the evaluation of training provision. The Sectoral Joint Committees are also responsible for producing sectoral analyses of changes in their sectors and developing training reference plans.
In summary, the legislative changes in 2015 ensure the following:
- The establishment of a multi-annual strategic plan – and the production of an annual report – to link training needs with training provision;
- The implementation of an integrated information system, which collates information on developments in the labour market and the associated demand for skills, alongside information on training provision at national and regional levels. This information is intended to inform training provision at national and regional levels. The evaluation of training activities has gained weight as a result of the Law;
- The assigning of the existing 87 Sectoral Joint Committees according to the sectoral mapping developed by the General Council of the National Employment System, so as to prioritise where training needs analysis is to take place.
Skills anticipation in Spain is governed by both the Ministry of Labour, and the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training and their respective agencies, as detailed above.
The role of stakeholders
Several stakeholders play a key role in skills anticipation activities. Chief amongst them are government agencies such as PES, the State Foundation for Training and Employment, INCUAL, the Quality Evaluation and Accreditation National Agency (Agencia Nacional de Evaluación de la Calidad y Acreditación), regional employment and education authorities, and the social partners.
Coordination amongst stakeholders was strengthened with Law 30/2015. Generally, key stakeholders such as the social partners are brought together for Sectoral Joint Committees. These committees are organised on a sectoral basis involving roundtables at a national level to produce sectoral training reference plans which are considered by the PES. The General Council of the National Employment System is the main coordinating institution related to the provision of training in relation to employment, and is also an important forum through which the social partners play a role in skills anticipation (see section “Target groups’ uses of skills anticipation outputs”). It is comprised of representatives from the national and regional employment administrations and the social partners. The Council guarantees, amongst other things, the correct implementation of the recent reform of the VET system (c.f. Law 30/2015) with the Spanish General Council on VET. The Spanish General Council on VET, which is responsible for the development of the VET system, comprises representatives from the Ministries of Employment and Education, respectively, the regions, and the social partners.
The PES and the State Foundation for Training and Employment are both agencies of the Ministry of Labour. The PES, through its Occupation Observatory (a sub-agency), is the main agency responsible for the assessment of training needs. The State Foundation for Training and Employment is the managing institution for training both those in employment and those who are unemployed.
The social partners (employers’ and workers’ representatives) participate in the VET system through the Sectoral Joint Committees, which provide expert guidance on skills anticipation at the sectoral level, establish priorities for vocational training and monitor trends in supply and demand. The Chambers of Commerce help to assess their member firms’ training needs.
Regional employment and education authorities have responsibility for implementing skills policies and adapting them to local conditions. The reform of the VET system foresees their role in skills anticipation being strengthened, but this has yet to be implemented. They are also part of the General Council of the National Employment System and of the General Council on VET.
Among the intended target groups are both the information providers themselves and other end-users, including the PES (with its Occupation Observatory), the State Foundation for Training for Employment, the INCUAL (and its Observatory of Professions), social partners, training providers, education providers (via career guidance counsellors for young people), career counsellors (for jobseekers) and regional governments.
Funding and resources
According to Law 30/2015 on reforming the VET system, funding for skills anticipation will be borne by the State Foundation for Training for Employment, and the respective regional authorities. Additionally, the PES, through the Observatory of Occupations, funds in part the analysis of skills anticipation, while the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, through its various agencies, carries out and funds other activities. The regional authorities (both employment and education) carry out and fund skills anticipation activities. The Sectoral Joint Committees are funded by the State Foundation for Training for Employment.