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.
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- Ceemet promotes excellence in VET, the increased focus on Science Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in education, and the acquisition of practical digital skills. STEM is not adequately highlighted in this Communication, which is unfortunate particularly when there is a need for more ICT specialists and for students to acquire better digital skills.
- Making VET a first choice must be demand-led through the participation of employers in the design and delivery of VET courses. These are important measures to ensure sufficient and qualified employees for the future.
- While Education and Training is not an area of regulatory competence for the EU, it is important to share best practice at an EU level and develop new methods of education apart from the status quo.
- The level of basic skills in Europe must be increased and this requires public investment, which is a national responsibility.
- We must ensure flexibility in terms of learning paths and agility in education and training systems to provide for a better match with labour market needs. Proper career guidance at school level, should help young people to make informed choices about the career paths available to them and how they comply with the needs of companies and the labour market.
- The European Qualifications Framework (EQF), in its current form, is not mature enough neither for further expansions and integration with other EU tools, nor for interactions with third countries.