Cedefop’s policy learning forum on skills anticipation gathered over 60 national stakeholders from countries participating in the agency’s country support programme and other experts in Thessaloniki on 14 and 15 June.

The forum provided a platform for learning and discussing how to put appropriate skills anticipation methods into practice.

Since 2016, Cedefop has worked closely with national authorities and key national stakeholder networks of six European countries (Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Malta, Slovakia and Iceland) to review their governance of skills anticipation and matching systems.

It has provided support in setting up methodological instruments that collect labour market and skills intelligence, and in promoting effective dissemination and use of results in policy areas such as education and training, employment, active labour market policies.

Opening the forum, Cedefop’s Head of Department for Skills and Labour Market Pascaline Descy stressed the need to adapt well-known methods to disruptive labour market trends such as automation, adding that skills anticipation has become ‘quite important in EU-wide and national policy’.

Describing Cedefop’s involvement in the country reviews, Ms Descy said: ‘We work at national level with stakeholders to develop a policy roadmap; we give advice on skills anticipation methods and review how results are disseminated to stakeholders and, potentially, to the public.’

Cedefop experts Konstantinos Pouliakas and Jasper van Loo presented the agency’s programme on ‘assisting EU countries in skills matching’ and the approach Cedefop uses in its country reviews.

To meet participants’ learning needs, the event focused on three methods of skills intelligence and anticipation:

  • technological skills foresights;
  • sector-based skills anticipation;
  • graduate tracer studies.

Participants were divided into groups to identify a country policy need and the skills anticipation method that would best address it, and were asked to come up with an implementation plan. Apart from presenting state-of-the-art skills anticipation methods, experts and representatives from international organisations (ILO, ETF, Cedefop) also facilitated the group work. They helped shape ideas on customising the method to the country and how to best implement it in practice.