Dissemination of the findings of the joint study with EBRD on "Inclusive Skills for Innovative Enterprise Development in the Aftermath of COVID-19 in the Agribusiness Sector"
The research project “Inclusive skills for innovative enterprise development in the aftermath of COVID-19 in the agribusiness sector” was launched in September 2020 as a response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent impact, including economic downturns, labour market contraction and new challenges for enterprises. While the pandemic has widened existing inequalities, including the digital and the gender divides, it has also served to accelerate structural and operational changes across diverse economic sectors with far-reaching implications for the future of work. To gather evidence on relevant trends in the agribusiness sector, the European Training Foundation (ETF) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) commissioned a cross-regional report on inclusive skills for innovative enterprise development, drawing on the study of national experiences of five ETF and EBRD partner countries: Georgia, Morocco, Serbia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. The report analyses and compares best practice examples from innovative agribusiness enterprises across national contexts, and it details the wider challenges, opportunities, and current policy and private sector experiences concerning innovation and inclusive skills development for agribusiness in each of the five countries, with a particular focus on challenges and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report aims to strengthen the knowledge base around innovation and skills development in and for the agribusiness sector, to support and guide knowledge sharing and peer learning among relevant stakeholders, and to disseminate best practices in policy and private sector initiatives to promote the sustainable growth of agribusiness across the EU neighbourhood and Central Asian countries through and beyond the COVID-19 recovery.
In particular, the report presents examples of rapid developments in digital and e-commerce innovations and an associated rise in demand for relevant skills. Increasing demand for skills related to the ‘greening’ of agri-food operations or concerning supply chain and database management are also highlighted, amongst other new and evolving skills needs. At the policy level, the report documents an increasing engagement of the private sector in human capital development efforts, including by supporting sector-focused public-private skills initiatives. Enterprise case studies illustrate there are also a number of globally integrated and innovative agribusiness firms investing in skills, often with modern company academies for internal trainings. The analysis of national policies questions how these best practices, or ‘islands of excellence’, can be better connected to other parts of the value chain to share and transfer experiences and approaches to innovation and inclusive skills development.
The study was implemented by consultants at Ergon Associates, which specialises in research and analysis related to inclusive labour market markets, skills, and the future of work.
The present dissemination seminar aims to present and discuss with respective country stakeholders the findings of the report and its implications for policymakers and other agribusiness stakeholders.