New Skills Agenda for Europe

The New Skills Agenda and the Upskilling Pathways initiative outline the skills and qualifications promoted by the European Commission for the EU citizens.

The New Skills Agenda for Europe launches a number of actions to ensure that the right training, the right skills and the right support is available to people in the European Union. It aims to strengthen and streamline several initiatives to better assist Member States in their national policy reforms.

The New Skills Agenda is centred around three key work strands:

  1. Improving the quality and relevance of skills formation
    • People need a broad set of skills to fulfill their potential both at work and in society. Increasingly, however, evidence shows that policies to increase attainment alone are often not sufficient.
  2. Making skills and qualifications more visible and comparable
    • Identifying and validating skills (acquired outside formal learning institutions) is particularly important for people with lower qualifications, the unemployed or those at risk of unemployment, for people who need to change career path and for migrants. It helps people better showcase and use their experience and talent, identifying further training needs and take up opportunities for re-qualification.
  3. Advancing skills intelligence, documentation and informed career choices
    • Policy-makers and education providers need sound evidence of the skills which will be required in the future to help them make the right decisions on policies and reforms, education curricula and investment.

EAEA supports the implementation of the agenda by consulting its members about policy developments at national and regional level, publishing reports and statements, participating in ET2020 working groups and being involved in several EU projects.

The New Skills Agenda and its actions, in particular “Upskilling Pathways”, have the potential to make a real difference in the lives of many citizens in Europe and to create positive changes by providing upskilling opportunities to those who need them most.

Other actions in the New Skills Agenda include

  • A review of the European Qualifications Framework and the related annexes for a better understanding of qualifications and to make better use of all available skills in the European labour market.
  • A ‘Skills Profile Tool Kit for Third Country Nationals’ to support early identification and profiling of skills and qualifications of asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants.
  • A review of the Recommendation on Key Competences to help more people acquire the core set of skills necessary to work and live in the 21st century with a special focus on promoting entrepreneurial and innovation-oriented mind-sets and skills.

Upskilling Pathways

With Upskilling Pathways, the European Commission has presented an ambitious strategy for improving skills of adults all around Europe. It recognises the pivotal role of adult education and learning not only for the labour market, but also to become critical, confident and independent individuals who can achieve their full potential and be active citizens.

Upskilling Pathways ties in with the basic skills strategy of Education and Training 2020. For adult education, this opens up a space to contribute to and support this strategy. As an advocacy tool, Upskilling Pathways can be used to raise awareness about non-formal adult education and basic skills education. This creates a momentum for non-formal adult education and lifelong learning to create equitable, inclusive and innovative learning opportunities for everyone that contribute to social inclusion and personal development.

Three steps lead to upskilling:

  1. Skills assessment: Enable adults to identify their existing skills and their upskilling needs.
  2. Tailored learning offer: Provision of education and training opportunities meeting the needs identified by the skills assessment.
  3. Validation and recognition: Validation and recognition of the skills acquired.

Picture: European Commission 2017