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Can higher education systems keep up with changes in labor market?

The journal “Technological Forecasting and Social Change” has published a scientific paper of our partners from the University of Pisa, where they show how natural language processing can help in finding an answer.

We still know little about the role of higher education in the digital transformation. If on one side the labour market is constantly evolving and is asking for an upskilling process of the workforce, higher education institutions struggle to be agile enough. Therefore, it is necessary to measure and to better understand this gap.

In the scientific paper “Are universities ready to deliver digital skills and competences?“, our partners from the University of Pisa: Irene Spada, Filippo Chiarello, Simone Barandoni, Gianluca Ruggi, Antonella Martini and Gualtiero Fantoni, describe a quantitative approach to deal with this problem, focusing on the marketing sector. Through text mining, they develop a model of automatic job competencies extraction from Italian texts, using it to retrieve the skills expressed both in the exam’s descriptions of universities and the job vacancies.

The results allow to compare the skills offered by higher education with the labor market’s needs in Italy, exploring and highlighting the digital gaps existing between the two.

ASSETs+ applied a similar approach in the automatic skills analysis realized during the first year of the project: we extracted skills from job vacancies using the automated algorithm presented in the paper. The automatic reading of the description allows us to detect patterns of terms similar to the ESCO skills and formalize the proposal for ESCO.

The ASSETs+ project aims to build a sustainable human resources supply chain for the European Defence Industry, that boosts innovation by both attracting highly-skilled young workers and upskilling its employees. The ASSETs+ main goal is to design and develop education and training programmes, from their prototyping to replication in other contexts,  to provide trainees with new skills and knowledge related to key technologies that will be expected in the Defence sector in the coming years.

Source: sciencedirect.com

ASSETs+ has contributed to the new version of the European classification of Skills, Competences, Occupations and Qualifications (ESCO)

The European Commission has published the new version of the European classification of Skills, Competences, Occupations and Qualifications (ESCO). ASSETs+ is one of the organisations who supported the update of ESCO and the release of ESCO 1.1

ESCO v1.1 is the result of a two-year process of quality review of existing concepts, as well as development of new occupational and competence profiles.

It responds to two main needs. For ESCO to remain useful in the labour market and in education and training, it needs to be updated regularly in line with trends of new and changing occupations and skills. Additionally, the quality of ESCO continuously needs to be improved, based on stakeholder needs.

What has changed?

The key changes following the release of ESCO v1.1 are summarised in the infographics below.

These include:

  • New content. 68 new occupations, 354 new skills and 158 new knowledge concepts have been created and translated in all the ESCO languages.
  • A new transversal skills hierarchy. ESCO v1.1 includes a revised structure and terminology on transversal skills and competences.
  • Labels for Green, DigComp, and Research skills. ESCO v1.1 offers the possibility to access to new sub-sets of skill and knowledge concepts. It includes in particular a taxonomy of skills for the green transition and for researchers, as well as digital skills and skills corresponding to the competences and competence areas of the European Digital Competence Framework for Citizens (DigComp).
  • Quality improvements. Over 500 terms have been updated. Improvements range from removing duplicate concepts to addressing relations between concepts.

To support citizens and implementer in navigating the new version of ESCO, the Commission provides a changelog file listing all changes between versions.

ASSETs+ is one of the organisations who supported the update of ESCO and the release of ESCO 1.1

We proposed:

  • 1 new professional profile, the security architect
  • 14 new skills
  • 8 skills’updates
  • 4 job profiles’updates

Discover our approach in Chiarello, F., Fantoni, G., Hogarth, T., Giordano, V., Baltina, L., & Spada, I. (2021). ‘Towards ESCO 4.0–Is the European classification of skills in line with Industry 4.0? A text mining approach. Technological Forecasting and Social Change’.

How to access ESCO v1.1 and where to find more support material?

The occupations, skills and competences in the updated classification are available in the ESCO portal, in the Download Section, and via API. The report Green Skills and Knowledge Concepts: Labelling the ESCO classification and the document which stores the delta between ESCO v1.1 and the previous minor version (ESCOv1.09), named Delta_ESCO_v1.1.0 are available in the Documents Section.The filters for Green, DigComp, and Research skills are not yet released in the portal but are included in the ConceptScheme of each skill.

Source: https://ec.europa.eu/esco/portal/news/e9e0f876-3f04-4a23-8524-2a5391a586f9

ARTICLE: Towards ESCO 4.0 – Is the European classification of skills in line with Industry 4.0? A text mining approach

We share with you this interesting article in which our partners from the University of Pisa and Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini have participated as co-authors.

ESCO is a multilingual classification of Skills, Competences, Qualifications, and Occupations created by the European Commission to improve the supply of information on skills demand in the labour market. It is designed to assist individuals, employers, universities and training providers by giving them up to date and standardized information on skills.

Rapid technological change means that ESCO needs to be updated in a timely manner. Evidence is presented here of how text-mining techniques can be applied to the analysis of data on emerging skill needs arising from Industry 4.0 to ensure that ESCO provides information which is current.

The alignment between ESCO and Industry 4.0 technological trends is analysed. Using text mining techniques, information is extracted on Industry 4.0 technologies from: two versions of ESCO (v1.0 – v1.1.); and from the 4.0 related scientific literature. These are then compared to identify potential data gaps in ESCO .

The findings demonstrate that text mining applied on scientific literature to extract technology trends, can help policy makers to provide more up-to-date labour market intelligence.

Authors: Filippo Chiarello, Gualtiero Fantoni, Terence Hogarth, Vito Giordano, Liga Baltina, Irene Spada
Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162521006107