The Pact for Skills: mobilising all partners to invest in skills

Commissioners Schmit and Breton have officially launched the Pact for Skills, a central element of the European Skills Agenda. They have also announced the first European skills partnerships in key industrial ecosystems – automotive, microelectronics, and aerospace and defence industries.

Skills are central to our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and for mastering the digital and green transitions. Businesses, large and small, need skilled people to innovate and grow. Yet, mismatches and shortages in skills are increasing, while a large number of people are at risk of unemployment. Only by joining the forces of all relevant partners can we make substantial progress in meeting Europe’s skills needs.

The Pact for Skills promotes joint action to maximise the impact of investing in improving existing skills (upskilling) and training in new skills (reskilling). It calls on industry, employers, social partners, chambers of commerce, public authorities, education and training providers and employment agencies to work together and make a clear commitment to invest in training for all working age people across the Union.

Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “European talent is at the heart of our industrial resilience and will be the engine for the recovery from the pandemic. As the twin green and digital transitions are gathering speed, we want to equip all Europeans with the right skills. Today, we are announcing first skills partnerships in three industrial ecosystems: automotive, microelectronics and aerospace and defence. More will follow. The launch of the Pact for Skills is just the beginning of our European skills offensive.”

Boosting joint action to maximise impact

The Pact for Skills is accompanied by a Charter outlining a shared vision from industry, social partners, vocational education and training (VET) providers, national, regional and local authorities as regards quality training. To ensure that the Pact is created together with the relevant stakeholders, Commissioner Breton and Commissioner Schmit already kicked-off a series of high-level roundtables with representatives of industrial ecosystems, regional and national authorities, education and social partners and education and training providers. More such roundtables will follow in the coming weeks.

Drawing on these fruitful discussions with a selection of industries, the Pact sets up large-scale partnerships in strategic industrial ecosystems heavily affected by the current crisis and the priority areas identified in the European Green Deal to achieve ambitious commitments. The first European skills partnerships in key industrial ecosystems have now been announced, with more to follow in the coming months:

  • Aerospace and defence: The ambition is to upskill around 6% of the workforce each year reaching 200,000 people, and to reskill 300,000 people to enter the ecosystem representing a public and private investment of €1bn over the next ten years.

2-day online workshop addressing the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on EU Aerospace and Defence Ecosystem.

Gualtiero Fantoni from Università di Pisa will outline the skills needs for Europe’s defence sector at a 2-day online workshop addressing the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on EU Aerospace and Defence Ecosystem.
The workshop will take place on 8-9 July and is organized by DG DEFIS.
In preparing the needs assessment to inform our Recovery Plan, the European Commission identified 14 industrial ‘ecosystems’, representing around 90% of the business value added in the EU.

The ecosystem encompassing aeronautics, space and defence employs around 870 000 highly skilled jobs (2,5 million direct and indirect jobs)– a large majority of high value. It generates a turnover of approximatively EUR 250 billion.

This high-tech industry has been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. There have been disruptions in the supply chain, falls in demand, launches getting postponed, to name a few. This, in combination with financial issues is threatening the survival of some of this ecosystem’s businesses.

Space, aeronautics and defence are an expression of Europe’s strategic autonomy and technological sovereignty. As these industrial sectors rely on complex and long-term development cyclehigh technological intensity, and depend on a substantial part on governmental programmes, this ecosystem has specific needs in the coming years.

Against this backdrop, the Commission’s reflection on how to make our industries more resilient and less dependent, in supply chains and technology, finds a particular resonance in this ecosystem. This reflection, as well as the preparation of the recovery package presented on 27 May, has built on our engagement in dialogue with the actors of the different industrial ecosystems.

It is now the right time to structure this engagement with industry. To this end, DG DEFIS is holding two virtual workshops to address the specific challenges and potential opportunities of this ecosystem.

By bringing together actors across this ecosystem, from large companies to SMEs and startups, from research institutes to academia and from associated service provider to technology suppliers, we intend to set up an open, inclusive and geographically balanced forum.

Other participants would include Commission representatives and the relevant EU external agencies: GSA, ESA.

Workshop on the Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on EU Aerospace and Defence ecosystem

This workshop will hinge around three sessions dedicated to the three arms of the ecosystem: space, defence and aeronautics. During the session, companies, SMEs, research institutes will be given the floor to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities in the changing geopolitical and post-COVID context. Discussions will also contribute to unleashing the potential synergies between the 3 sectors and to outlining some mitigating and remedial actions. Together, the participants will develop a common view on enhancing the resilience of the ecosystem as a whole.

Interested in joining the Space Ecosystem workshops ‘Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on EU Aerospace and Defence ecosystem’? The workshops will take place on 8 July (14:00 – 18:00) and 9 July (9:30- 13:15). 

Please express your interests online via this form by 30 June 12:00 (noon CET).

Work Package 1 presented at online conference

On 13 May the first ASSETs+ conference was held, online – due to the Covid-19 situation.
At the conference six of the wp-leaders presented the current status of their work packages and the way ahead as the project is taking shape. WP1 is the the foundation of the whole project, as it is here a thorough mapping and analysis is being done of the technologies and skills needed in the defence industry.
The Work Package is cooperating intensively with Work Package 2 and 3 who will design and implement the future educations.

WP1 is led by Università di Pisa with participation of Université de BordeauxAalborg UniversityPolitechnika Rzeszowska im. Ignacego ŁukasiewiczaUniversidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universidad de Sevilla

The first public results from WP1 are expected this summer and will be posted on the results page.

Work Package 2 presented at online conference

The ASSETs+ WP 2 is and focuses on education and training design. The objective is for each of the identified educational levels to create a framework that covers both pedagogical and technical aspects for how to conduct the skills development and education activities supporting the technologies identified in WP1. Futhermore the objective is to ensure that the educational programs comply with pedagogical requirements and match industrial needs.

WP2 is led by Aalborg University and includes the help of almost the whole consortium with CentraleSupelec, European Federation for Welding, Joining and Cutting (EWF), AEROCAMPUS Aquitaine, Université de Bordeaux and Airbus Defence and Space as the task leaders.

See the presentation of WP2 from the ASSETs+ web conference held 13 May below

Mapping of technological areas

The ASSETs+ project is well underway, and the first task is to map technologies and applications in the technological areas robotics, autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, C4ISTAR and cybersecurity, in order to figure out what the future education needs are in the defence industry. The mapping is intended to find the trends and evolutions in each area. University of Pisa and University of Bordeaux are currently mapping the technological area C4ISTAR (C4ISTAR stands for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance).

The data set is compiled by 166 documents from various sources, that have been subjected to text mining techniques in order to find key words within C4ISTAR, for instance navigation or encryption. Using this approach it is possible to filter the information that has relevance to the C4ISTAR domain.

ASSETS+ is now underway

ASSETs+ (Alliance for Strategic Skills Addressing Emerging Technologies in Defence) – has now been kicked-off at a workshop for the whole consortium 23-24 Jan 2020.

The next 4 years 30 consortium partners from all over Europe will work on the development of a comprehensive strategy to create, develop and upskill students and employees focusing on digital technologies (namely: robotics, autonomous systems, AI, C4ISTAR and cybersecurity) thereby reinforcing the human resource supply chain in the defence sector. The project is supported by The Erasmus+ programme.

You can see the consortium partners here

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