Individuals, economies and societies all benefit from skills

In today's dynamic and fraught world, with millions of jobs at risk in carbon-intensive sectors, the urgent need for green and digital skills so economies can compete, and the impact of conflict, continuous lifelong learning, and skills development are needed like never before. The significance of skills for growth – at individual, economic and societal levels - cannot be overstated, offering a pathway of hope to the future as outlined by the ETF Director, Pilvi Torsti here.

By developing new skills (reskilling) or improving existing skills (upskilling) people have the chance to transform their lives that can lead to career change, professional growth, and greater personal and civic engagement in the world around them.

Skills development does not occur in isolation, however. It requires a nurturing ecosystem which engages a broad spectrum of stakeholders representing and reaching out to everyone in society. Special measures are needed so that vulnerable and marginalised communities and individuals such as migrants, youth and women, have the access and opportunity to engage in quality learning and relevant skills development and the advantages they can bring.

The ETF communication campaign throughout November and December 2023 focuses on skills for growth, highlighting ETF activities, outlined below, in partner countries in the EU’s neighbouring regions and beyond. During these months we will engage policymakers, practitioners, representatives for the private and civic sectors, and internationally renowned experts to discuss how best skills can contribute to improving people's lives and the world around us. Stay tuned!


The ETF's activities supporting skills for growth include:

  • Connecting learning environments, supporting personalised and differentiated learning, introducing new methods and ideas in curricula to optimise learning of key competences, digital and online learning activities, and enhancing the qualifications of educators. The ETF has developed a number of tools, such as READY and  Scaffold for educators and supports the use in partner countries of others produced by the EU such as SELFIE for measuring digital readiness in schools and workplaces.
  • Connecting practitioners and stakeholders through specialised networks and highlighting examples of excellence as with the ENE network of excellence to encourage the sharing of ideas, practices and experience between centres of vocational excellence at both national and international levels and GRETA.
  • Within the European Alliance for Apprenticeship, EAfA, the ETF has played a key role in the sharing of best practices and has actively supported the inclusion of all stakeholders – ministries, VET agencies, chambers of commerce, trade unions and companies – as well as supporting the reform of apprenticeships and work-based learning. More.
  • Strengthening the link between vocational education and training (VET), and particularly higher VET with continuing vocational training as a key component in building innovative systems to spur economic growth. 
  • Support for national qualifications frameworks and reciprocal referencing of qualifications systems, and the validation of non-formal and informal learning to ensure recognition of the knowledge and skills people possess as stepping stones to future professional endeavours. More here.
  • Working with EU neighbouring and Central Asian countries to further develop national career development support systems following a structured and systematic approach.
  • Regular and in-depth analysis on changing skills demand in partner countries including platform work, artificial intelligence, and assessment of the effectiveness of Active Labour Market policies. 
  • Engaging business intermediaries and trade unions in connecting SMEs and education and training in the context of the twin digital and green transitions for innovation, productivity-enhancing skills, and quality of work. More here.
  • Engaging civil society as an important partner within governance arrangements in policy dialogue, implementation, monitoring and assessment on skills development for healthy and equitable skills development ecosystems that ensure progress and growth for all. The ETF’s GLAD network brings together civil society organisations from across the ETF ‘s partner countries, the EU and beyond.
  • Building skills intelligence for policy reform, including regular periodical assessment via the ETF’s Torino Process on the effectiveness of vocational education system reforms in partner countries leading to recommendations for policy and potential follow-up actions; development and implementation of the Rapid Education Diagnostic (RED) undertaken in Lebanon and Kosovo and currently being deployed in the Eastern Partnership; and support for monitoring of actions in the EU's candidate countries in the Western Balkans within the Osnabrück Declaration.
  • Working in partnership with other international organisations operating in the same countries to ensure that skills development is a core component of all donor projects, for example with banks and international financing institutions. More here.
  • Supporting the skills dimension of migration through studies and analysis of migrants' learning pathways and how they interact with lifelong learning systems in partner countries and the EU, triangular relationship between migration, human capital formation, and labour markets. The ETF also supports the European Commission on the implementation  of the labour migration component of the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum, the design and carrying out of Talent Partnerships with Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia and THAMM (Towards a Holistic Approach to Labour Migration Governance and Labour Mobility in North Africa) project. 
  • Implementation of the DARYA project – Dialogue and action for resourceful youth in Central Asia. More here.


Did you like this article? If you would like to be notified when new content like this is published, subscribe to receive our email alerts.