Skills Agenda: ETUC welcomes Skills Guarantee

Commenting on the Skills Agenda launched today by the European Commission, Thiébaut Weber, ETUC Confederal Secretary, said “Europe needs a big push to support workers to increase their skills, and to cope with the transition to a digital, carbon-free and ageing society.

The Skills Agenda is a useful step forward and the proposal for a Skills Guarantee, which was an ETUC demand, is very positive.”

It’s also good news for young people that the commission is willing to work on the implementation of a European Quality Framework for Apprenticeships, as the ETUC has proposed.”

“Unions expected clearer references to investment in education and training and to measures to break the glass walls that keep women out of too many sectors.” 

The role played by trade unions in ensuring quality training for workers and negotiate with employers on skills and qualifications is key in a number of countries in Europe. Their role is not recognised enough in the skills agenda. The ETUC will work with the European Commission to make sure the trade union movement is on board for the next steps.”

What ETUC wanted

What Commission announced

A guarantee or right to training. The ETUC proposed a Professional Skills Guarantee for low-skilled workers and the unemployed, and a right to training for all workers, developed with unions through social dialogue.

A Skills Guarantee to help low-skilled adults acquire a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and digital skills and progress towards an upper secondary qualification.

The Skills Guarantee will be established in cooperation with trade unions and employers. 

A boost to paid educational leave to help workers launch a new phase of their career.

Investment in the culture of lifelong learning is underlined, but not specific support for educational leave.

Specific EU actions to push member states to invest more in education, training and life-long learning

The use of existing Commission EU Financial Programmes and Funds, but not member states’ own investment.

Initiatives to promote quality apprenticeships 

The commission will explore setting a European Quality Framework for Apprenticeships

The inclusion of part-time and temporary workers via improving their skills

Nothing on specific support for skills development for those in part-time or temporary work.

Focus on recognition of skills of migrants and refugees for fast integration to the society and labour market.

A "Skills Profile Tool for Third Country Nationals" to support early identification and profiling of skills and qualifications of asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants.

Nothing stronger or more comprehensive, and no European-level action, for integration and recognition of skills of migrants and refugees.

The involvement of trade union representatives in the forward planning of employment and training, as is the case in some member states.

“social partners will have a key role to play in ensuring the Agenda is successfully developed and implemented”.