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EU Industry Day – a learning exercise!

With the EU holding its first ever ‘industry day’, ETF partner countries already have a head-start.

Today, 28 February, the European Commission hosts its first ever EU Industry Day. Business, government and civic interest groups have gathered in Brussels to take stock of what measures are already contributing to the EU’s drive for improved competitiveness and to determine what more can be done. Ensuring industry has the right skills and competences to innovate and deliver quality products and services is a central pillar in the day’s proceedings.

There will be policy lessons for ETF partner countries to draw from today’s conference. But a quick glance at European Commissioner Bieńkowska‏’s opening speech < /a>pinpoints a number of areas where the ETF is already making headway with its partner countries.

Firstly, businesses in ETF partner countries need to better anticipate skills for their evolving economies. More developed data and wider intelligence on skills (gaps, weaknesses, future skills requirements) is critical to ensure policy and resources are correctly targeted. Through its assessments of how partner countries are accommodating the provisions of the Small Business Act for Europe and the New Skills Agend a, the ETF tracks how countries are building skills intelligence and supports them in improving this intelligence and making good policy value from it.

Secondly, forward-looking industrial developments in the EU, as much as in the ETF partner countries, require not only technical skills but a wider set of competences, including entrepreneurship competence. These competences ensure the flexibility that the future workforce and businesses need to adapt to technological change and as well as to upturns and downturns in the economy. The ETF’s promotion of policy, curriculum reform and teacher training for entrepreneurship as a key competence tackles this issue head on.

Finally, with high stakes particularly for businesses in partner countries planning to join the European Union, the ETF is giving more concentrated industrial policy support to governments and training communities in the pre-accession region. Coordinated by the Regional Cooperation Council, a multi-country industrial policy blueprint underlines the importance of good practice exchange. ETF’s good practice drive on SME skills supports this effort. A next call for good practice call will be launched on 15 March. Those interested in this call should register on the ETF’s good practice platform.< /p>