Skills Lab

New ETF initiative

What is Skills Lab?

Skills Lab is a new initiative of the ETF launched in 2020 to promote regular and in-depth analysis on changing skills demand in our partner countries. Together with national, European and international experts the ETF is analysing trends and impact on skills in technology, digitalisation of economies, globalisation, demography, climate change and migration.  Much of the intelligence generated by studies comes from research in advanced economies which is also geographically broad in its relevance and application. The ETF Skills Lab is designed specifically for developing and transition economies existing in many of our partner countries. 

What is the aim of Skills Lab?

By working with national counterparts and the broader international community the initiative aims to facilitate information flows, innovate public policies on skills development, and adaptation of education and training policies, as well as bringing together a community of experts for the development and exchange of knowledge. 

What are the core components?

The project has four key components:

  • creating evidence on skills (skills needs, skills gaps, skills mismatch) drawn from the economic and social realities of the different countries;  
  • facilitating exchange of knowledge and good practice in skills identification mechanisms, tools and analysis;
  • developing and refining methodological instruments to analyse skills needs in transition and developing countries.
  • disseminating intelligence and methodologies to the international community of researchers, practitioners, officials, policy analysts and policy advisors.

How does Skills Lab work? 

Skills Lab draws on two networks, each with a specific remit, a Network of Experts, and international High Level Advisory Group (Advisory Group or HILAG). 

  • The Network of Experts includes researchers and analysts, from academia, research institutions or analysis and research units of Ministries or public employment services, as well as professionals from qualification authorities and sectoral bodies from the ETF partner countries, EU Member States and other international organizations
  • The Advisory Group is a hub for international reflection on changing skills needs providing comments and insights on ongoing research projects, validating the findings of research and methodologies, suggesting new angles for analysis and resulting actions for education and training systems. It contributes to fostering innovation, disseminating the work and results of the Skills Lab and channelling knowledge towards the countries. It brings together policy makers and practitioners (e.g. representatives from public employment services, private sectors, relevant agencies, etc.) from the ETF partner countries as well as EU institutions, EU Member States and international organisations.

Which perspectives of skills demand are explored?

The Skills Lab explores changes in skills demand from two perspectives: economic actors and individuals. 

  • At an economic level, exploring the changing skills demand of enterprises to better understand new, changing and obsolete occupations for economic and skills development policies is necessary to ensure the business world is able to exploit emerging opportunities and strengthen competitiveness and innovation. 
  • At an individual level, the monitoring of developments in skills supply considering demographic trends, educational attainment of the population and population groups informs public employment and education policies enabling job seekers to adapt to changing labour markets and workplaces and enhance their employability.
  • Skills Lab also is also focused on the identification of the skills requirements of vulnerable groups (NEETs, unemployed, less well- qualified) and changes brought by migration flows and refugees. 

Who can benefit from the Skills Lab findings?

  • ETF partner countries, in particular education and training and employment institutions, agencies, social partners, research institutions and other relevant stakeholders, to support national education and labour market systems reform.
  • EU institutions, to inform policy dialogue with partner countries and enhance the evidence-based for EU projects and programmes. 
  • EU Member States and other donors, including international financing institutions, to enhance their knowledge base for support to countries.