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Following their 2019 Symposium on Apprenticeships, Cedefop, the European Centre for Development of Vocational Training, and the OECD organised a Symposium having a closer look at the skills needs resulting from the green transition.

Ceemet’s Senior Policy Advisor, Isabel Sobrino Maté, participated in the panel discussing the role of apprenticeships in the transition to greener economies and societies. She provided the employers’ perspective as it will be up to companies, amongst others, to make this transition happen while they face a skills gap that hampers their competitiveness.

Ms Sobrino Maté’s input to the panel debate was based on several reports that Ceemet has published on apprenticeships and skills, e.g. “Digitalisation and the World of Skills & Education”, providing insights but equally proposing solutions.

Tackling skills needs

In her opening statement, Ms Sobrino Maté clarified that apprenticeships themselves are not the solution to solve the skills shortages but a solution that is part of a wider range of initiatives that address the skills gap.

Anticipating the required skills for the future is a tricky business as nobody can, even companies cannot, predict what skills they are going to need. This reality puts additional weight on the importance of work-based learning, and up- and re-skilling throughout the career of an apprentice.

Ceemet and its trade union counterpart industriAll Europe have therefore renewed their commitment to high quality apprenticeships and are part of various Pacts for Skills.

Green transition: appealing to Generation Z apprentices

Working conditions are a key driver to attract young people to opt for a certain career path. This is however not enough as apprentices are looking for purpose.

Those potential apprentices are more motivated to work for a company that is green or is transitioning to become greener. It contributes to the image of ‘workers of the future’ and counters the negative image that might exist. However, to provide visibility to the efforts made  so far, industry is relying on teachers’, parents’ and social partners’ support.

Bringing the world of work and education together

Cooperation between companies, VET providers, social partners and public authorities needs to intensify and broaden. These synergies regarding skills needs have a twofold effect:

  • VET providers will be able to deliver an up-to-date training adapted to the skills needs of companies
  • Companies can support VET providers when it comes  to the latest technologies

A particular role is left for social partners and social dialogue. As social partners are close to companies and workers, they can provide guidance regarding the existing training offers and share best practices. Social partners are equally best placed to reach out to governments asking for funding schemes to support companies, that are in trouble following the COVID-19 related backlash, to continue providing quality apprenticeships.

Companies that provide quality apprenticeships are likely to have successful apprentices that are the basis for a successful transition to a green economy.