Cedefop Executive Director Jürgen Siebel spoke of the Agency’ latest initiatives, particularly with regard to Europe’s green transition, at the meeting of Directors-General for vocational education and training (VET) under the Slovenian EU Presidency that took place on 4 and 5 October.
‘In the past months, the urgency of tackling the climate crisis has regained high attention, but greening our economy will inevitably lead to labour market mismatches, and, therefore, Europe needs more and better "green" skills intelligence,’ he said.
He added that green policies, jobs and skills and their links to VET have been on Cedefop’s agenda for over 10 years, and the Agency is reinforcing its work in the field at three levels:
- it anticipates the labour market impact of megatrends through its skills forecast;
- it examines how greening is shaping occupations in specific sectors and detects potential skills bottlenecks in the near future;
- it explores ways to map demand for skills in occupations that are crucial for the green transition, using its real-time labour market intelligence tool Skills OVATE as well as qualitative research.
Cedefop is also sharing data and insights with the European Commission to help underpin their proposal for a Council Recommendation on Education for Environmental Sustainability.
Mr Siebel pointed out that apprenticeships can be a cornerstone of the green-transition ecosystem, as they can play an important role in supporting workforce mobility for those adults who need to up- or reskill for ‘green’ jobs:
‘While cross-border apprenticeship mobility opportunities could help make apprenticeships more attractive, and despite all efforts to promote and support it, it is still not widespread. Therefore, Cedefop research has been taking a closer look at the roadblocks to apprenticeship mobility and how to overcome them.’
Furthermore, he noted, to focus research and policy planning on apprenticeships, Cedefop is organising along with the OECD an event on 21 and 22 October dedicated to ‘Apprenticeships for greener economies and societies’.
Turning to the issue of incentives for adult learning, Mr Siebel stressed that ‘financial and non-financial incentives to encourage citizens and enterprises to engage in adult learning are key if we want continuing vocational education and training to become the new normal for adults and if we want to reach the social pillar action plan targets.’
He added that, as part of its work in the area, Cedefop is updating its database on demand-side funding/cost-sharing instruments in the EU and the UK, and this new edition, with detailed descriptions of the instruments as well as country overviews, will go live next year.
Finally, Mr Siebel talked about microcredentials as a way to make shorter learning experiences visible and to recognise them, noting that ‘to support policy-making, we are putting microcredentials in and for labour-market related learning under the microscope.’