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Pact for Skills
News article6 December 2022Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion3 min read

Pact for Skills members share good practices in tackling regional skills challenges for green and digital transition

Pact for Skills EU Week of Regions session visual

On 11 October, the Pact for Skills held a participatory lab session titled ‘Regions tackling skills challenges for the green and digital transitions under the Pact for Skills’.

The virtual event was organised as part of the 2022 European Week of Regions and Cities. Session participants discussed how regional partnerships can help tackle skills challenges in the context of the green and digital transition.

The participatory lab aimed to strengthen participants' knowledge and awareness of the regional dimension of upskilling and reskilling. It also encouraged regional and local stakeholders to join the Pact for Skills and establish regional skills partnerships using the knowledge and expertise gained.

Sonia de Melo Xavier, Policy Officer and member of the Pact for Skills team at the European Commission, set the scene for the plenary discussion by providing an overview of the key progress achieved by 12 large-scale partnerships launched in key industrial ecosystems. Together, the partnerships have committed to providing upskilling and reskilling opportunities to close to six million people in the coming years. In addition, over 1,000 stakeholders have signed the Pact for Skills Charter, and close to a third have developed concrete commitments.

Good practice examples from Pact members

The lab session continued with good practice examples from the Pact for Skills. Pact members presented their experience of developing skills partnerships in their regions, how they tackled the challenges they encountered, and lessons learned.

Monika Banka, Policy and Network Coordinator of the European Chemical Regions Network (ECRN) took the floor to introduce the network and provide recommendations for new and prospective members of the Pact. The ECRN facilitates interregional cooperation by leading the chemical industry’s thematic partnership under the Smart Specialisation Platform. It supports the establishment of common projects and joint regional investments to modernise the chemical industry and increase cooperation between regions.

Following that, Valerie Somerville, EU Funding Manager, presented how Skillnet Ireland helps drive the green and digital transition in Ireland and Europe. Ms Somerville provided an overview of Skillnet Ireland’s mandate to advance the competitiveness, productivity and innovation of Irish businesses with the support of the national government. Skillnet Ireland was a great example of how better collaboration between businesses and training providers can benefit the development of dedicated skills strategies and training curricula.

And lastly, the Lombardy region was presented as a good practice example for engaging the wider community of businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises and large employers.

Group discussions

After the plenary debate, participants were invited to share their views on how regional partnerships can tackle the skills challenges of the green and digital transitions.

Participants agreed on the importance of regional partnerships, especially for bringing together a wider range of stakeholders and ensuring that support is available for people from different backgrounds. Participants also highlighted the need to do a mapping of the skills needs at the regional and local level and the importance of involving academic institutions in identifying the skills requirements for the future.

During the session, participants reiterated the essential role of regional skills partnerships in fostering upskilling and reskilling. It was agreed that these partnerships are important for the delivery of quality training and collaboration, so that organisations can adapt to the dynamic skills needs of the labour market.

While participants recognised the challenge of maintaining high engagement within partnerships, they emphasised that it was fundamental to promote the importance of investing in skills. They also agreed that the Pact for Skills can bring significant added value by providing a space for key actors to build strong skills partnerships and exchange good practices to become much more responsive to the changing skills needs.

The main challenges that emerged from the discussions were the complexity of the skills ecosystems and the many actors involved. Another issue raised by participants was that some partnerships struggle with limited resources, which prevents them from making long-term commitments.

How the Pact for Skills can support regional partnerships

During the discussion, it was agreed that the Pact for Skills can provide practical support by offering specific training and knowledge-sharing activities for the leaders of regional partnerships. The Pact can also support building regional partnerships by creating mutual learning opportunities, identifying best practices, and helping to encourage regional institutions to do more to support local actors and facilitate cooperation between different regional actors.

Download the full report to learn more about the event here.