The competitiveness of industry in Europe is dependent on the effective use of new technologies and the knowledge, skills, competences and creativity of its workforce. Shortages, gaps and mismatches in high-tech skills negatively affect innovation, productivity growth, job creation and social cohesion. Estimates of the number of jobs that will be lost to automation over the next decades have been alerting policy makers and the public. Although the numbers differ by author and scenario, there is a broad consensus that many of the tasks carried out by workers today are likely to be automated in the not too distant future. As jobs change in their task content at an accelerating pace, and as new jobs emerge, policy makers must help industry and workers to keep pace with fast-changing skills requirements. This calls also for large-scale multi-stakeholder partnerships and re- and upskilling initiatives, as well as a clear view of the way lifelong learning should be funded, managed and incentivised to become a reality for all.
In their report on Education on the digital era: challenges, opportunities and lessons for EU policy design (2018), the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education indicated that it “supports the increased funding available for digital skills across the next generation of Multiannual Financial Framework programmes”. However, it also “insists on the need to deliver synergies across programmes to maximise the effectiveness of funding for digital skills development and deliver lasting results”. The Committee also stresses the importance of setting up education and training programmes between industry and training providers that are more cooperative and give greater importance to re-skilling and up-skilling efforts. It calls for a “shift towards more on-the-job learning and insists on the need to have the right education and training frameworks in place, and to ensure that vocational education systems are properly resourced; believes that opportunities for re-skilling and up-skilling are essential, with relevant digital skills components mainstreamed in workplace training programmes”.
Please note that the Katapult-programme (public-private partnerships in VET and higher education) of the Dutch national STEM Platfom was referenced as a best practice.