Themed data sheets

Title

The Skills Pact in the textile and tourism sectors

Description

The Skills Pact is a key part of the European Skills Agenda, whose relevance is more than justified given that, according to the European Commission, there are 50 million low-skilled adults in the European Union and 70% of companies say that a lack of skills hampers their investment. It is also in line with the targets endorsed by the Member States at the Porto Social Summit on 7 May, namely the commitment that by 2030 at least 60% of adults should participate in training activities each year.

Categories

Financing and aid • Reports and publications • Forums and Initiatives • EC consultations

Automotive and mechatronics • Food chain • Renewable energies and resources • Health

Digital transformation • Circular economy • Smart cities • Key enabling technologies • SMEs and growth • Access to financing

General information

The Skills Pact is a key part of the European Skills Agenda, whose relevance is more than justified given that, according to the European Commission, there are 50 million low-skilled adults in the European Union and 70% of companies say that a lack of skills hampers their investment. It is also in line with the targets endorsed by the Member States at the Porto Social Summit on 7 May, namely the commitment that by 2030 at least 60% of adults should participate in training activities each year.

The success of the Pact will depend on the involvement of as many stakeholders as possible, both private (companies, NGOs, Chambers of Commerce, etc.) and public, all of whom must make concrete commitments, with the Commission being responsible for monitoring progress. In particular, the regions have a crucial role to play, as they are uniquely placed to identify the necessary structural changes and to mobilise all relevant actors, from public employment services and regional authorities to industrial clusters and social partners, including educators and trainers.

In any case, no new funding scheme is envisaged, as it is considered that there are already sufficient sources at both European and national levels to achieve the objectives set, the main instrument being the European Social Fund + (ESF+). Endowed with 99.3 billion euros for the period 2021-2027 (more than 11 billion for Spain), almost all of its management is based on the method known as shared management, which involves negotiation between the Commission and the Member States when deciding the final destination of the money, also involving civil society and the social partners. In fact, there is still room to participate by introducing new priorities for the new programmes starting in 2021-2022.

In this context, the tourism and textile industries are making great efforts to establish a large-scale partnership. Here are two initiatives underway in both sectors to achieve this, followed by an example of good practice in one of the ecosystems that have already succeeded: the automotive sector.

  • Tourism: the sector needs immediate coordinated action between governments and stakeholders by the summer of 2022, as well as a review of the training system in the medium to long term, so as to allow access to reskilling and upskilling programmes for all types and levels of services, as it has been found that the tourism workforce is not trained in new skills (especially digital skills). To this end, the Next Tourism Generation (NTG) Alliance has developed a pilot project whose final version will be ready by the end of the year for implementation in all Member States from 2022, and which is based on the creation of national and regional groups throughout the EU and the provision of a 'toolbox' consisting of a series of training modules and programmes adapted to various occupational profiles. This is complemented by a 'Skills Laboratory' and a 'Skills Observatory'. Along the way, the regions are expected to support the setting up of the groups and their active participation in them, as well as the review of existing legislation where they have the competence to do so in order to explore possibilities for immediate action, including the adoption in the short term (6 months) of an operational action plan. Progress will be measured by indicators such as the number of groups created, the participation of the workforce in reskilling and upskilling training activities (with the objective to increase it by 40% and 80% respectively by 2025) or the duration of training.
  • Textile industry: despite being a very diverse sector with very different products, it faces common challenges. In 2020, 36% of the workforce will be over 50 years old, with a consequent risk of labour shortages and loss of knowledge and skills. In addition, 61% and 40% of companies consider that they have a lack of digital and green skills, respectively, which undermines their competitiveness and growth. Therefore, EURATEX is promoting an alliance within the framework of the Skills Pact that envisages joint activities and commitments in several areas, including the visibility and attractiveness of the sector, which faces a serious perception problem that ultimately drives away potential workers. Thus, with the aim of making the textile industry the first choice and counteracting the negative image it has, a marketing campaign will be launched focusing on transparency and the value of the workforce, as well as the organisation of annual events in schools for pupils aged 14 to 18. All this with the aim of improving the generational balance of the workforce by 5% each year until 2025 and the ambition to involve the regions, which are key to channelling resources to the industry in their territory, helping companies and workers in terms of skills.
  • Automotive sector: the Automative Skills Alliance has succeeded in bringing together the various stakeholders in a large-scale alliance to carry out massive training across the ecosystem that will increase the attractiveness of regions and their projects, promote structural changes in the region and employability of workers and reduce unemployment expenditure. The aim is to train 5% of the workforce each year, representing around 700,000 people, and it is estimated that a total public-private investment of EUR 7 billion will be needed. The results of two pilot projects already in operation (DRIVES and ALBATTS) will have an impact on the strategy of the partnership, which is structured in several working groups, one of which is precisely dedicated to the regional implementation of the aforementioned projects or new ones to be developed. The feedback received so far from the regions where they are already running (e.g. Stuttgart and Moravia-Silesia) shows very clear benefits for the regions.

Ultimately, the various regional actors are invited to join the Pact in the tourism sector, in the textile sector or in both, depending on their specialisation. Their participation is vital to provide input on identified challenges, needs and gaps, as well as to propose concrete actions and facilitate project funding.

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