On 25th June 20109, Cedefop in cooperation with The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union held the 7th Brussels based seminar dedicated to developing coherent approaches to upskilling pathways for low-skilled adults. The event was hosted by the Permanent Representation of Romania to the EU.

Augustin Mihalache from the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, Antonio Ranieri, Head of Department, Cedefop and a representative of DG EMPL, European Commission (on behalf of Dana Bachmann, Head of Unit) opened the seminar with few key figures to reflect on:

      • According to a study from 2017, 22% of low-skilled adults are unemployed, and 35% of them are also inactive.
      • Another fact: despite the growing number of employed people in the EU, the number of low-skilled unemployed did not change compared to 2008.
      • According to the same study, if by 2025 the number of low-skilled unemployed peoples is reduced by half, this would bring an economic and social benefit equal to 200 Billion EUR.

Lidia Salvatore, Cedefop expert, presented the results of a recent study on mapping low-skilled adults in the EU by Cedefop, which further made more dramatic the case of low-skilled unemployed in EU: the comparative analysis based on EU data shows that on average, 46,1% of the population in active age is low-skilled. In other words, 128 million people in the EU need upskilling of their literacy, numerical and digital skills. The same study of Cedefop shows that 70% of the population of age group 55-64, and 60% of that of age group 35-54 have low digital skills.
However, the situation in the Member States varies, i.e. in the Czech Republic and Finland less than 30% of the population need upskilling.

The seminar continued with the presentation of Cedefop’s analytical framework and national cases of Romania and Italy followed by a discussion about developing coordinated and coherent approaches to upskilling pathways.

Lidia Salvatore and Irene Psifidou, Cedefop experts invited the participants to comment on the proposed analytical framework in the summer period, so that by the end of 2019 a more comprehensive document is produced.

Ana Rădulescu, Ministry of Labour, Romania and Claudio Vitali, INAPP, Italy shared the main challenged they have identified during the analytical framework piloting in their countries. Some of these are: difficult to reach out to and to motivate the low-skilled population to join an upskilling programme; difficult to organise and coordinate the work at the multistakeholder level. The Governance and political support appear to be challenging as well.

CEDEFOP tools and resources

Irene Psifidou, Cedefop expert, presented the six available resources and web tools to support the implementation of upskilling pathways: by Cedefop:

  1. VET toolkit for tackling early leaving
  2. European database on validation of nonformal and informal learning
  3. Database on financing adult learning
  4. Resources for guidance
  5. European database on the apprenteceship scheme
  6. Cedefop networks and communities of practices

These reflect the policy cycle: identity, intervene, evaluate. When using them, for each weakness the stakeholders may identify an action and thus develop an action plan to address the needs.

Anna Nikowska, European Commission, Ludovic Voet, ETUC and Robert Plummer, BusinessEurope took part in a panel discussion about “the way ahead”. They have pointed out the importance of political support, social dialogue not only at EU but also at national, sectoral and company/organisation level; shared understanding and responsibility between the employee and the employer; taking preventive measures to reduce the risk of school leaving; raising VET attractiveness and VET Governance responding to the modern global challenges- social environmental, technological, etc.

For more information see Cedefop’s analytical framework for developing upskilling pathways for adults and the briefing note Preventing low skills through lifelong learning.