Understanding system change through the Torino Process
People need lifelong and life-wide learning for prosperous careers, lives and societies. This requires responsive and adaptive education and training systems.
The ETF’s Torino Process undertakes monitoring of system performance and adaptation every two years in the EU’s neighbouring region...
People need lifelong and life-wide learning for prosperous careers, lives and societies. This requires responsive and adaptive education and training systems.
The ETF’s Torino Process undertakes monitoring of system performance and adaptation every two years in the EU’s neighbouring regions through regular data collection and policy review based on a comprehensive monitoring framework.
As well as being an opportunity and tool for all stakeholders to engage in a country’s reform efforts, the Torino Process results indicate how systems are progressing on various dimensions, and responding to skills gaps and needs, including those for the green and digital transitions. The results help the ETF to better tailor country activities and policy guidance, and input to EU external relations programming.
The ETF’s Hugues Moussy, Head of Systems Performance and Assessment Unit, gives insight into the key features of a system level approach and how the ETF's Torino Process is capturing developments in the EU’s neighbouring regions.
Why is it important to look at education and training from a systems perspective?
This systemic approach is important to view multiple levels and components which interact and contribute to a successful system, for example, the policy objectives, resources and priorities of the national system, international cooperation, public and private investment, and collection and good use of data.
There are two purposes to using a systemic approach to education and training, including vocational education and training. The first is to consider how it performs in terms of delivering results to its stakeholders, and secondly, how policies impacting on the system alter its performance and where improvements can be made.
What does a successful education and training system look like?
It should have both ‘internal and external efficiency’, which put simply, means to have a certain level of quality in how it works internally, equal access, equity in the learning offer, ensuring that curricula are relevant, as with green and digital skills, and that teachers are suitably trained and up to date on sectoral developments so that learners can benefit. Working well externally means that learners are equipped with the skills they need to actively engage in the labour market, but also to become critical and responsible citizens.
How does the Torino Process help?
The Torino Process is an instrument that has been developed for more than a decade by a collective of dedicated and talented experts in the ETF to enable system development in partner countries in the EU’s neighbouring regions.
With the Torino Process, the ETF has produced a vision of a system that can be adapted to different contexts and national objectives, which highlights what is needed to perform well, how shortcomings can be resolved, and challenges can be met. This is important especially as too often instances of good practice remain isolated and fail to create benefit at system level with a loss of time, resources, and opportunity.
What is the Torino Process monitoring framework?
The latest revision of the monitoring framework has two levels. At the first level it aggregates and analyses quantitative data, using system performance indicators, from many different sources that exist at international levels. This level looks at the performance of the system and is complemented by a second level which involves a policy review to understand better and help explain the results of the system and how the system delivers. The overall purpose is to ensure a targeted, and demand-driven process of collecting, identifying, and interpreting information for policy purposes.
The analysis of both levels is used to inform an overview of the system that is divided into eight dimensions representing the areas of ‘access, quality of outcomes and system organisation’.
How do ETF activities relate to a country’s overall education and training system?
The ETF’s various projects and activities all relate to one or more areas and dimensions, whether it is developing curricula for green and digital competences, focusing on innovation in vocational education, supporting governance, or knowledge sharing on active labour market measures for youth. Indeed, a lot of policy discussions on education and training concern the interaction of these components. For instance, the development of green and digital skills is an issue of relevance to the labour market to ensure quality, but also of access especially for marginalised communities so that they can also benefit from the employment opportunities of the green and digital transitions.
What is the added value of the Torino Process compared to other monitoring frameworks in education and training?
The Torino Process offers a holistic vision of the system. The way the various dimensions interact, and the importance given to the national context and cultural nuances are key components in building and assessing the system. It is about creating something greater that can be passed on to future generations, which is a lifelong learning system.
Key features of the Torino Process
Vocational education and training: learning from international cooperation to build green and digital skills
Skills for the green transition are many and multi-fold however they can be broadly considered within two categories: technical skills that link...
Skills for the green transition are many and multi-fold however they can be broadly considered within two categories: technical skills that link to occupations and sectors as well as across sectors; and second, transversal skills that reflect a sustainable way of thinking and behaving.
Vocational education and training (VET) has a unique role in the development of green skills and preparing learners for the labour market, and ideally a greener economy, given its interface with education and the world of work. VET is also crucial for the upskilling and reskilling of adults which is necessary for workers to retain or find employment as many jobs are transforming, with new jobs emerging and others becoming obsolete. Green skills are often combined with digital skills in order to overcome challenges and exploit opportunities. For instance, in the agricultural sector, digitalisation allows for precision irrigation, the use of which can help with water conservation and crop growing in arid areas.
VET is also critical for supporting employers and helping them identify the evolving training needs of staff. Nevertheless, the ETF’s GRETA initiative which focuses on helping VET respond to the green transition, has identified the VET system itself as one of the obstacles in moving the green and digital transitions forward.
‘Systemic changes need to be made for the VET system to be able to respond swiftly to changing skills needs,’ says, Susanne M. Nielsen, Coordinator of GRETA.
The first phase of GRETA started in 2021 with a core group of 17 institutions from Armenia, Georgia, Latvia, Serbia, Slovenia, Türkiye and Ukraine. In the current, second phase of GRETA, good practice is shared among its active participants and Centres of Vocational Excellence with the wider ETF Network for Excellence (ENE).
Another key undertaking of the ETF’s ENE initiative deployed to understand the success factors of COVES, is a study on leading vocational institutions of excellence from across the globe. Led by the ETF’s Stefan Thomas, the ETF is working with the Danish Technological Institute to examine COVES from the European Union and neighbouring regions and beyond including the Americas, Asia and Australia. The aim is to identify national policies and institutional practices that make them leaders in both the green and digital transitions.
The research involves nine case studies covering four layers: national and regional policies as well as their own strategies; management and organisation; pedagogical approach and educational content and programmes.
What are the key factors of outstanding centres of excellence?
“National and regional policies supporting the green transition are important drivers for the greening of VET having an impact on institutional green goals and industry practices and green skills demand,” says ETF’s Stefan Thomas, Senior Expert in Human Capital Development Expert.
Moreover, training programmes are developed closely with industry with the majority of COVES having formalised agreements and industry participation in boards and committees to develop curricula. Research institutions may also be involved.
“Practical experience is a strong focus across all the centres examined,” says Thomas, “which applies to both students and teachers.”
Professional staff development takes high priority, with teachers and trainers required to update their skills and qualifications and systematic processes in place allowing them to integrate green content into curricula. Peer observation and feedback processes are important components of professional development.
For digital skills in particular, partners from industry can contribute with expertise and digital technical equipment to be used in vocational education, the development of curricula, the analysis of skill needs and the formulation of learning outcomes. Industry partners provide company placements for teachers and work-based learning for students, in the form of apprenticeships, and other opportunities for practice-based and self-directed learning including real-life case studies.
“Green technologies are constantly evolving, and the development of green and digital skills needs to be just as dynamic using project-based and problem-based learning that develops learners technical and transversal skills,” says Thomas.
All nine case studies focus strongly on each of the four layers examined, proving that no single component can be left behind and that system level vocational excellence is very much a holistic undertaking.
Campus d’Excellence Industrie du future - Sud (CEIFS), France
Helsinki Business College (HBC), Finland.
Shenzhen Polytechnic, China
Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore.
The green and digital foundations helping Ukraine to build back better
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has caused widespread destruction and, according to the United Nations, adversely affected the edu...
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has caused widespread destruction and, according to the United Nations, adversely affected the education of 5.7 million children and seen at least 130 vocational education and training (VET) institutions damaged and destroyed. The country has, however, proved to have some powerful assets, which include an advanced online learning infrastructure (due to the pandemic), high levels of inter-ministerial communication, and an advanced digital platform for e-governance (Diia). Despite the enormous current challenges, these strengths are contributing to Ukraine’s resilience and reconstruction.
The European Training Foundation (ETF), as the EU agency which supports human capital development through reforms of VET systems and employment policies in EU neighbouring countries, is assisting Ukraine in this process. But as Olena Bekh, the ETF’s Senior Human Capital Development Expert and Coordinator for Innovative Teaching and Learning, explains, the idea is not just to replace what was there before, but to ‘build back better’ by incorporating green and digital technologies into a future state-of-the-art country.
“Ukraine is full of minefields and destroyed buildings, so whatever happens, there will be a lot of reconstruction,” says Bekh. “If some heavy industries have been bombed or seized, then they have to be left in the past, because the future must be green, digital and highly advanced.”
E-learning in times of conflict
In early 2022, the ETF joined forces with Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science and a group of local employers and VET providers in the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine, to pilot the collection of e-learning resources from the EU which could be adapted to the Ukrainian context. Entitled, UA Re-Emerge(ncy): e-learning and skills development to rebuild Ukraine, it focused on three, key areas of skills – energy efficiency, construction and restoration, and green energy. From this, eight blocks of competences for learners were identified as being the most important and relevant for the immediate reconstruction needs.
“During discussions we realised that it would be better to provide e-learning for short, targeted learning experiences or ‘micro-credentials’, which provide a record of learning outcomes acquired after completing a short course. This flexible approach is particularly suited to disadvantaged and vulnerable learners, such as temporarily displaced adults, refugees or those who are unemployed, as it provides access to a ‘short cut’ to interim employment upon completion of a short course.”
These eight blocks of competences can prepare a learner for a certificate that corresponds to European requirements for a micro-credential, and this helps people to develop their knowledge, skills and competences. The ETF’s experts developed the innovative and flexible micro-credential template and mapped it to the Ukrainian system and ensured the eight learning programmes contain both European guidelines and Ukrainian linkages.
“It is a very complicated process, which is why we have partnered with the French Agency for Adult Learning (AFPA), and two large European training provider networks EVTA and EVBB,” says Bekh. “It is much more productive to work strategically with big partners than collect small pieces and have to translate them for our Ukrainian learners – that would never cover the need and the material would all be scattered.”
Some argue that micro-credentials might not be accepted by employers.
“Not just employers but anyone, because they are new,” Bekh replies. “However, they are a concept that supports flexibility – you could have many micro-credentials to build your own professional career profile. Some systems operate with more classical qualifications, like in Germany, for example, while others are more flexible, like in France or Finland. Employers in Ukraine were very receptive to this approach and repeated on many occasions that for them it is a very interesting collaboration and an opportunity to learn from different countries.”
The ETF has also been assisting with the certification and updating ofqualifications through a comparative study of the Ukrainian and European Frameworks.
“Both the learning programmes and the methodological approaches we are developing are also linked with the full qualifications in Ukraine – so we will be able to map on the one side the Ukrainian qualification system (NQF) and on the other, the European system (EQF). Given Ukraine’s European candidate status, there will also be a need to match the policies and procedures, so we are working at system level on that,” she adds. “The comparison of the Ukrainian NQF and the EQF that was completed recently is a big step forward.”
Virtual Reality in a war zone
In 2022, the ETF’s Green Skills Award, a competition which recognises the most innovative environmental and sustainable teaching initiatives from around the world, made ‘special mention’ of the country and its strategic approaches to incorporating green and digital skills into its training programmes. And this, at a time when the country was facing incredible and unprecedented challenges.
In addition, the ETF’s Network of Excellence – GRETA programme (Greening Responses to Excellence Through Thematic Actions), which launched on 7 December 2021 and focuses on greening of curricula, has 17 active Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) from eight countries. Incredibly, eight of the centres are from Ukraine, testimony to just how central the green transition is to education and training in the country. How did it do that?
“I can tell you from my two decades of working with Ukraine that it is amazing - that’s the reason! There is a well-known example of Russia attacking Ukrainian servers and key governmental institutions but failing to destroy any data centres or critical digital infrastructure, because Ukraine has been focused for some years now development of its critical digital infrastructure and data centres. Some years ago, it produced ‘Diia’, which is both a government platform and an app that gives Ukrainians digital passports, driving licences and access to so many governmental services. The ETF cooperates on a number of issues with the Ministry of Digital Transformation which drives many developments of high international value. Ukraine has many excellent organisations with strong capacity, so for me to learn that such a high percentage of CoVEs were from Ukraine is not surprising.” Bekh explains
The ETF has also built a public-private collaboration with a virtual reality (VR) learning provider to support learners in Ukraine with practical workplace skills. “Employers are working under huge pressure and demonstrate incredible resilience, the Dnipro region, for example, is under missile attack almost every week. The economy must not fail, so to give learners an opportunity to gain practical skills while minimising pressure on employers we can use VR. In some occupations it is even better to be trained virtually: for example, in electro-welding a trainee can ‘burn’ a lot of material at zero cost, and then we can use VR to assess their skills.”
“We are also delighted to join forces with the International Labour Organization (ILO), our partners in setting up some pilot centres where immersive learning will be supported due to the provision of several VR sets in each,” she continues. “We are currently launching two VR-based learning modules, and if it goes well, we hope to extend it.”
Ukraine has ambitious aspirations for a better future by applying green and advanced digital technology, despite the relentless pressures caused by the ongoing Russian aggression.
“For us VR is nothing strange during a war,” Bekh concludes, “on the contrary it is just the right moment to do it.”
Swedish EU presidency prioritises green skills and education
The Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union has outlined four priorities, including security and unity, competitiveness, green a...
The Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union has outlined four priorities, including security and unity, competitiveness, green and energy transitions, and democratic values and the rule of law. Carina Lindén, Deputy Director in the Division for Upper Secondary and Adult Education and Training in the Swedish Ministry for Education and Research and liaison officer between the European Training Foundation (ETF) and the Swedish Presidency, stresses that education and skills play an important role in achieving these priorities.
In the field of education, one of the priorities during the six-month Swedish Presidency is the skills needed for the green transition and for sustainable development. The green transition can only succeed if the EU has the qualified labour that’s needed.
"To ensure that everyone has the skills and competences needed to contribute to the green transition Sweden has brought forward Council conclusions on skills and competences for the green transition that was adopted by the EU education ministers on 7 March. This was an important step - reflecting a common commitment to develop education and continuing professional development for the green transition. We are very pleased that the European Council adopted conclusions on green skills and competences. This is a very important step in ensuring that Europeans have the skills they need for the green transition. We are looking forward to building on this work during our Presidency."
explains Lindén in a recent interview with the ETF.
Another key priority in the education field is to move the work on the European Education Area forward, for example regarding mutual recognition of qualifications. Automatic recognition of qualifications increases student mobility, which in turn promotes increased EU competitiveness. To achieve the European Education Area, we need to ensure that students can take full advantage of the learning opportunities in Europe. As holder of the Presidency, Sweden has therefore chosen to focus on the automatic mutual recognition of qualifications and outcomes of learning periods abroad.
The Presidency also aims to initiate the negotiations of the announced Commission proposals for Council recommendations, focusing on digital skills that will be taken forward by the Spanish presidency in the second half of 2023. Lindén also stresses the importance of the Council Recommendations in building on the results of the structured dialogue.
Many initiatives during the Swedish Presidency also link up with the European Year of Skills and one of its focus areas, matching skillsets to labour market needs. For example, the Presidency conference, Skills for the green transition – for a competitive Europe, highlighted how education can contribute to transition and upskilling and initiated a discussion on the conditions necessary for both individuals and businesses to be able to obtain the skills they need for the green transition. Both higher education and vocational and adult education and training play an imperative role in responding to the green transition by equipping people with the knowledge, skills and competences needed in the evolving labour market and society.
An overarching priority of the Swedish Presidency is also strongly committed to supporting Ukraine.
"Ukraine and backing Ukraine is really a top priority for us," said Lindén. "We want to ensure that Ukraine has the support it needs to develop its economy and to ensure stability in the region."
The Swedish Presidency began on 1 January 2023 and will run until 30 June 2023.
Education for all: towards greener, digital, and inclusive societies
An interview with Pilvi Torsti, newly appointed Director of the European Training Foundation.
The European Union's focus on promoting skills ...
An interview with Pilvi Torsti, newly appointed Director of the European Training Foundation.
The European Union's focus on promoting skills development and education has become a top priority, with the European Year of Skills taking centre stage in the upcoming months. To gain an insight into how skills development can support a better future, we interview Pilvi Torsti, the newly appointed Director of the European Training Foundation (ETF). In this article, we explore her perspective on the critical role of education globally, the ETF's work on education and training in neighbouring countries, and her vision for a brighter future through the development of essential skills and competencies.
Could you tell us about your journey from growing up in Finland to becoming the director of the ETF?
I began my journey from Finland at the age of 17 when I received a scholarship to attend the United World College of the Adriatic in Italy. With around 80 nationalities and 200 students from across the world attending the school, that experience had a profound impact on me. Located in Italy’s most eastern region, close to the former Yugoslavia, I was there during the years of conflict in the Balkans in the early 90s. I became emotionally and intellectually drawn to the region, the questions related to war and peace were acutely tangible. Even though I returned to Finland to study history and journalism, I always had the intention to go back to the Balkans, which I succeeded in doing, first as a journalist and then as a MA and PhD student.
I like to describe my professional life with three distinct titles: I first served for about 10 years as an academic working at the University of Helsinki, where I specialised in history politics and didactics, geographically concentrating on the Western Balkans; and the second over 10 years I have worked as a decision-maker in public policy, both as a State Secretary in different ministries and as a member of the Finnish Parliament, with a focus on science, education, learning, employment, and skills. The third title runs throughout my life as an education activist and expert, co-founding the United World College in Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where I am still the chair of their governing foundation, and starting an early education company HEI Schools with the University of Helsinki. I also have an active role in the global discussion on education which has been enhanced by the leadership network of Eisenhower Fellows that I joined in 2013.
When I read the advert for the ETF position in early 2022, I thought the job brought together everything I had done professionally as well as my passion for education, science, training, and developing skills. I believe strongly that this is the most efficient way to change the world and I think that the ETF has that DNA too, and in fact that impression has become just stronger over the last 12 months of my journey to becoming the next director.
You have extensive experience working in the Western Balkans, but the ETF also operates in other regions. How do you plan to balance the different needs of the various regions that the ETF works with?
It’s important to recognise the importance of using different methods in different countries to have different impacts. It's a complex task, but the ETF appears well-organised to handle it. I find the ETF's two-level approach quite unique in EU external relations: the ETF has in-depth understanding of different countries and general expert understanding on a thematic level about human capital development and issues related to it. I hope to bring my background on both levels too: as a researcher and policymaker on education and training reform processes in different contexts, such as Finland and Bosnia, and more general global education expertise, to this mix to help to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for development.
EU was founded to build peace, prosperity and cooperation in Europe. I find this mission at the heart of the work of ETF. I think that the EU has been addressing global challenges strategically in recent years and the ETF can and should play a vital role in this context. It’s important that the EU recognises the critical role that human capital development can play in tackling a range of current challenges including the green transition, digitalisation, geopolitical changes as well as post-war situations. Educating and training people is essential to prepare them to cope and respond effectively and to build peace in long term.
The ongoing war in Ukraine of course, has created an imbalance in the geopolitical context, with millions of internally displaced people and refugees in need of support. I’m very happy to see that the ETF has made a significant contribution to this by assisting citizens in relocating and addressing the important question of how to identify their skills and find employment opportunities. European countries also need to plan for this situation to continue for some time and I see the ETF’s work as essential in helping to address these issues and help individuals to rebuild their lives.
I also believe that in the coming decades, we should see major global developments in the field of education. Having worked on numerous education projects, I've learned that not all projects have long-term value and impact. It's essential to analyse what actually does have long-term value, significance, and impact - and we need to communicate that effectively to the external world.
Your writing and research has focused recently on a global vision for education. Can you elaborate on your vision and what it means for the ETF's work?
The combination of my academic background, my interest in education as well as my work as State Secretary have given me multiple opportunities and invitations to talk about Finnish education and to consult different organisations working on education systems all over the world. My fundamental presentation has typically been about how Finland, as a relatively poor agricultural country, has become one of the most well-off modern societies in the world today by investing in education - and I mean the education of everybody.
During the pandemic, I reconnected with colleagues from India and New Zealand and we started to share what was happening in our countries. Our starting point was the fact that mass education with opportunities for all is a relatively new concept in human history, which has only been around for the last 150 years or so. The concept grew together with nationalism and the emergence of nation states with the idea was that education and training systems should produce workforces for those states to grow and become harmonious, peaceful and coherent units in the world. The vision that we began to develop, is that the pandemic, for the first time, made educators in the grassroot levels around the world to realise more broadly that they had another context in addition to the national systems.
Teachers in China, Italy or Finland were all dealing with similar issues in their work in terms of distance learning and so on, and through that they were becoming more connected in a global sense. Children and young people too were facing - and will continue to face - issues that are entirely global and shared in nature, whether it’s digitalisation, climate change, cybersecurity, inequalities, which are all issues that we share regardless of where we actually are.
So our vision is about looking at elements of education globally, that could be added to, or become part of, national education systems. And then we look at national strengths too that can be shared. Take India for example, where the national level is very distant from local contexts due to the magnitude of the country. And this is true in many parts of the world. Learning from each other and sharing examples is now easier than ever as we have the technological means to do it and some practical experience – thanks to the pandemic.
All this work and our conclusions very much coincided with last September’s UN Transforming Education Summit. We argue in our publication that unless we have a practical and pragmatic approach to education, we will not manage to transform the education agenda as has been now suggested at the highest level. I think it’s essential that we make sure that voices from different parts of the world are heard and I’m delighted to hear about developments like this at the ETF from Central Asia, Africa and the EU neighbourhood.
How should the ETF prioritise its efforts to engage young people? What might happen if we fail to engage them?
It’s very important right now to consider the current geopolitical situation in Europe and the world. We have to recognise the unique perspective and experience of the younger generation. The shock of conflicts, such as the war in the Balkans and the ongoing invasion in Ukraine, has changed the way young people view war and their role in creating a more peaceful world. They face a different reality than previous generations, one that demands a different set of skills and coping mechanisms. We must address the issue of youth and peace on European level bringing together the Union members and the neighbourhood.
Organisations that work on education and training issues, including the ETF, must recognise this shift in experiences and priorities. We must take a holistic approach to address the needs of different age groups. The ETF will need to engage with different stakeholders and partners to maximise the impact of its work. Through research and testing/piloting we can determine which interventions work in different contexts for different populations and this applies to both young people and adults. In Finland for example, we have seen the benefits of monitoring our adult learning programmes. We actually pilot in different contexts what works in terms of getting people involved and the impact that different interventions have. It would be very interesting to apply a similar approach among different stakeholders in different countries to assess the impact of the ETF’s work.
Can you tell us what you think about the green and digital transition? Do you think they are the same thing or different? What impact do you think artificial intelligence will have on this transition?
Both green and digital issues have been on my table a lot over the last four years. One tool that I think can be useful also in the ETF context is the 2030 Digital Compass that the Commission launched last year, of course together with the entire Agenda2030. In Finland, we completed our national Digital Compass and it was even debated as a proposal of the government in Parliament earlier this year, meaning that it now has gained real political support. It covers four areas - infrastructure, private enterprises, public services, and skills. I think the Digital Compass can also be a very useful tool in the ETF context to identify the position of different countries in terms of skills and whether there is something that we can work on in our partner countries. By using the same framework everywhere, everyone can have the same understanding and measures, skills needs included.
The green transition goes hand in hand with this in many respects. I'm not yet well-enough informed about this in all the countries the ETF works with - where they stand at present and where they are with the green transition in line with their development, be that economic, labour markets, or education and training. Taking a leap forward to move from relatively polluting industries to very green industries typically requires a lot of upskilling and investment. So this is for sure a very topical, interesting and important area of the ETF’s work. One of the first ETF documents I read when preparing for my first interview in the director application process was actually on the skills required for the economy. I found it very impressive, first analysis I had read with clear and concrete recommendation for the skills development.
When it comes to AI, there is an interesting story from when Finland held the EU presidency in 2019. Typically the presidency provides gifts such as ties or scarves, but I was approached by a colleague from the University of Helsinki, who had been working on an open online AI course. We had the idea to make the Elements of the AI online course available in all European languages and contextualise the course to local contexts and offer it as a gift to all EU citizens. Some months after the gift had been given, we had a meeting with the minister Nadia Calvino from Spain telling us that she was following the course and how great it was! I think AI should be taken into account as an important element of the global vision for education that I mentioned before – in education and skills development, we cannot afford to neglect fundamental changes like these. We have to do short and long term planning in parallel as education systems tend to change very slowly, so if we want to have a relevant system in 2030 and beyond, we’d better get started now!
Ursula von der Leyen recently announced that 2023 will be the European Year of Skills. Why do you think she made this announcement at this particular time?
I believe this announcement reflects the increasing acknowledgement of the importance of skills in addressing the challenges we face today, such as the green and digital transition, post-war reconstruction, and the Covid-19 pandemic. Skills are crucial in helping us to adapt to these changes and create a sustainable future. I think it’s a logical choice, as skills are relevant to everyone, regardless of age or background. Furthermore, I think the emphasis on skills is a way to make these changes more accessible and tangible to people. A "Year of Technology" might not resonate with everyone, but skills are something that people can understand and connect with. Additionally, skills are crucial for promoting economic and social development and overall, I think it's a well-deserved recognition for the importance of skills and importance of human development – also including the broad notion reflected in the German word “bildung” - and a great opportunity for the ETF to showcase the impacts of its work and expertise of three decades.
4 facts on the 'twin' green and digital transitions
Europe and the world are facing the challenges of the green and digital transitions, which are referred to as the 'twin transitions' due to thei...
Europe and the world are facing the challenges of the green and digital transitions, which are referred to as the 'twin transitions' due to their interdependency. One needs the other to succeed. Indeed, data-driven digital innovation is important to achieving the goals of the European Green Deal.
Nevertheless, digital technology causes high energy consumption. For example, in the European Union, digital technologies account for between 8 and 10% of energy consumption, and 2 and 4% of greenhouse gas emissions – small percentages but big numbers.
One way to help reduce that impact would be to extend the lifetime of all smartphones by just 1 year, which would save 2.1 megatons of CO2 per year by 2030, equivalent to removing 1 million cars from our roads. And switching fully from 4G to 5G mobile networks would allow for up to 90% energy savings.
The analysis of digital data can facilitate sustainable choices. According to an EU data market study, precision agriculture, notably for farm irrigation, has the potential to cut around 2 gigatons of CO₂ emissions by 2050, carpooling – 4 to 7 gigatons, smart thermostats – 7 gigatons, and smart buildings – 6 to 10 gigatons. This has enormous implications for the development of relevant skills.
The total reduction of CO2 emissions needed to reach 2050 targets is estimated at between 1,000 and 1,500 gigatons. But to achieve this, solutions must be deployed at unprecedented scale and speed. Granular data on the size of the carbon footprint, energy consumption and losses caused by climate change should not sit in silos, and needs to flow in real time to those who can put it to best use. Here too, data processing and analysis skills are an integral part of the green transition (1).
(1) Find out more about how big data analysis can help identify green and digital skills by joining the ETF webinar on 5 April at 10:00 AM CEST.
What's on in April?
New ETF director, Pilvi Torsti
An expert in education policy with extensive experience in the public sector, academia, and civil society, Pilvi Torsti is to take up duties as director of the European Training Foundation on 16 April. In an interview mid-March, she shared her perspective on the critical role of education globally, the ETF’s work on education and training in EU neighbouring countries, and her vision for a brighter future through the development of essential skills and competences.
Green Skills Award 2023
Our Green Skills Award competition is now open for applications. Do you have a successful story to share on the role of skills in accelerating the green transition? Do you work on a project highlighting how education and employment can contribute to greener societies? Wherever you are in the world, we want to hear from you. Don’t miss this opportunity to make your voice heard and to become a green influencer on the global scene!
Invest in Our Planet is the theme of Earth Day 2023. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, EarthDay.org has been working worldwide ‘to drive positive action for our planet’ and build a green, prosperous future.
‘Businesses, governments, and civil society are equally responsible for taking action against the climate crisis […]. We must join together in our fight for the green revolution, and for the health of future generations. The time is now to Invest in Our Planet.’ Kathleen Rogers, EarthDay.org president