The ETF Skills Lab Network leaps forward on skills anticipation

The ETF Skills Lab Network of Experts had its first live event at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, 13 – 14 June, entitled “Foreseeing the Unpredictable: How new skills needs can be anticipated in times of high uncertainty and change”. 

Participants included experts and practitioners from ETF partner countries, EU member states, and other organizations including Eurofound, UNIDO, and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).

“The role of networks is fundamental in our work supporting the skills ecosystem in partner countries, and helping education and training systems preparing for the future to meet labour market needs,” said Xavier Matheu de Cortada, Director ad interim, in his opening speech.

The panel discussion on the first day witnessed the active participation of Stavroula Demetriades, Senior Research Manager, Eurofound Ireland, Tamar Kitiashvili, Director, Georgia Skills Agency, Rodion Kolyshko, Director, Institute of Professional Qualifications, Ukraine, Claudia Plaimauer, Project Manager & Researcher, 3s Management Consulting Ltd, Austria, and Professor Michele Filippo Fontefrancesco, University of Gastronomic Sciences, Italy.

Moderated by the ETF’s Simona Rinaldi and Ummuhan Bardak, the panel discussion addressed topics like the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the green and digital transitions. Speakers underscored the importance of paying attention to every country’s context when developing policy interventions, as well as the necessity to adapt and be flexible when dealing with today’s challenges. There was also a focus on the role of partnerships and the necessity of regularly reforming and updating educational curricula to equip students with the needed skills and technical competences to meet the demands of the job markets in the future.

The two-day event included a hackathon in which participants were divided into groups then assigned a case/challenge to solve related to the main theme of the event and the challenges of how to focus on promising sectors, reduce skills mismatch, and make the most of big data. During the second day, participants were asked to present their work and pitch it to stakeholders for feedback and comments.

The 2-day event was also designed to maximise the opportunities for networking and building connections amongst attending delegates and representatives. Livestreamed across the ETF social media platforms, the event represented the first offline meeting of the Skills Lab Network of Experts after the COVID pandemic where many stakeholders get to effectively engage and participate on the ground to develop real life proposals and action plans that help push forward the process of skill anticipation in their countries.

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