At a meeting of the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL), in Brussels on 24 March, Cedefop was invited to exchange views on the Commission’s green employment initiative based on a Committee draft report.
Cedefop expert Steve Bainbridge gave a presentation summarising the agency’s results in the field. He said that Cedefop’s study Skills for a low-carbon Europe did not find any inherent conflict between high rates of employment and lower greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.
For example, wind energy is forecast to create around 330 000 jobs by 2020. Solar thermal and energy-efficient buildings are two domains with projected employment growth of over 20% per year between now and 2020.
However, Mr Bainbridge added that, ‘although green economy and high employment can be compatible, policy-makers continue to treat them as separate issues.’
The Cedefop expert argued that ‘to realise its employment potential, strategies for the green economy at all levels, local, regional, national sectoral and European, need to integrate education and training policies to deliver the skills the green economy needs.’
And, although the green economy will create new jobs, existing jobs need to be adapted, which means that many employees and jobseekers will need to be reskilled or upskilled.
A green economy and high employment are complementary. But to have both, policy-makers, at all levels, must ensure that support for skills and training are integral to and match the ambition of green policies, Mr Bainbridge concluded.
There was an exchange of views between MEPs, the Commission, Cedefop, ILO, Eurofound, ETUC (employees) and BusinessEurope (employers). Discussion coordinator Jean Lamberts MEP (Greens) argued that the report will help refocus the green EU 2020 goals.
Speaking to the Cedefop delegation after the meeting, Ms Lambert expressed interest in the outcomes of the agency’s skills mismatch survey, especially promotion of quality jobs.