Ceemet welcomes the possibility of contributing to the debate on the update of the Skills Agenda. The majority of the initiatives add value to the debate on skills, but would have more effect if they had been better coordinated.
A highly skilled mobile workforce is the basis for an internationally competitive industry that provides quality jobs. Ceemet and its members will support the European Commission’s ambition to work towards a European Education Area (EEA). Investing in people and their education and removing the obstacles that hinder (learning) mobility across Europe should be a shared goal of all stakeholders.
As employers of the Metal, Engineering & Technology-based industries, representing the biggest manufacturing industry in Europe, Ceemet is convinced that a good education policy including excellent Vocational Education and Training (VET), that meets the labour market needs is also key to an effective and sustainable social policy. With this paper, Ceemet seeks to actively shape the future of VET.
Ceemet welcomes the objectives of the New Skills Agenda for Europe to ensure that the right skills are available within the EU labour force. We share the Commission’s view that there is a need to increase the level of basic skills in Europe, that Vocational Education and Training (VET) should be a first choice and that digital skills are of crucial importance. However, we have reservations with some of the tools proposed to attain these objectives, e.g. Upskilling pathways: New Opportunities for Adults, formerly known as the Skills Guarantee.
Ceemet welcomes the Vocational Education & Training (VET) strategy that was agree in Riga. It re-focuses of the medium-term deliverables in VET, stressing the necessity of excellence in VET. But Ceemet minds to be cautions against pushing apprenticeships as a panacea for youth unemployment.
Ceemet welcomes Commission ́s renewed efforts to speed up and catalyze education reform, but stresses the need to properly involve industry representatives and warns against oversimplifying benefits of dual systems.
While much of the discussion on Continuing Education & Training (CET) centers on increasing uptake, Ceemet would like the debate to focus more on the impact of CET. The Metal, Engineering and Technology-based (MET) industry is a key driver of Europe’s economy and skilled and motivated people are pivotal in keeping manufacturing innovative and competitive. It is therefore absolutely essential that CET supports growth and jobs. It will only do so if better understood and targeted to the needs of the labour market and learners.
In the context of a globalized economy, there is consensus on the fact that only high value-added business strategies based on high value-added products, services and solutions are sustainable for European industry. Against this background, the importance of the education sector and the Higher Education (HE) sector in particular for a robust, sustainable industry must not be underestimated.
The Commission launched the flagship initiative by setting out 13 key actions aimed at reforming labour markets, upgrading skills and matching them with market demand. Ceemet welcomes the target to achieve by 2020 an employment rate for women and men of 75 % for the 20-64 years age group and agrees that the fact that the New Skills and Jobs Agenda reiterates the importance of strengthening flexicurity policies, recognises their positive effects during the crisis and proposes reinforcing its four components.
Skills shortages can be overcome by a joint effort. All stakeholders should together do its fair share to close the skills gap an keep Europe's industry competitive.
Ceemet welcomes the overall positive messages regarding Vocational Education & Training (VET) included in the communication on “A new impetus for European cooperation in Vocational Education and Training to support the Europe 2020 Strategy”. While the European Commission acknowledges the role it can play in facilitating cooperation and encouraging modernisation and greater uptake of VET (both iVET and CVET), it also rightly underlines that this role is mainly to support and supplement the work of national governments and stakeholders.
For companies it is essential to have a highly skilled, committed and adaptable workforce. Against this background, Ceemet sees in “learning mobility” an important tool contributing to: the preparation for mobility of workers and the development of important soft skills (language, culture, adaptability) which are important in a globalised, technologically fast-paced industry.
Ceemet supports the objectives of enhanced mobility and improved transparency of qualifications and welcomes a concept promoting the “learning outcomes” approach as described in the consultation document. However considering the number of questions raised by the concrete implementation of European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training” (ECVET), Ceemet believes it is crucial that beforehand pilot projects and studies on ECVET are conducted and that their results are accessible and thoroughly discussed.
Ceemet welcomes the main goals of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), namely a greater transparency and improved comparability of the qualifications in the different European vocational and higher education systems. However, Ceemet would like to underline that the EQF can only be of indicative and voluntary nature.