Our journey to shape tomorrow's green and digital skills
In May 2023, the European Commission officially launched the European Year of Skills, to highlight the critical role of skills in supporting a green and decarbonised economy across Europe and its neighbouring regions.
The European Training Foundation (ETF) has taken this unique opportunity to focus its work with partners in EU neighbouring countries on supporting the transition to greener, more digital and inclusive societies.
So, at the halfway point of this special year, it seems fitting to reflect on the ETF’s Year of Skills journey so far and the lessons learnt, and look ahead to the objectives for the next six months.
The starting point: Understanding the ‘twin transition’
Climate change is the biggest challenge faced by us all, and this is, undoubtedly, the most decisive decade for climate action. Embracing digitalisation is crucial for climate action. However, the digital sector must reduce its own carbon emissions in order to positively contribute to climate neutrality.
To foster your understanding of the twin transition, you may watch The twin transition: How can green growth and digital transformation go hand in hand to drive Europe by Euractiv, and/or Digital and green transition in Europe keynotes session by the London School of Economics.
What have we learnt so far?
1. There is no twin transition without skills!
The vital role of skills in supporting the shift toward a sustainable and digital future is a cornerstone of the European Green Deal, the European Climate Pact and Europe's Digital Decade. But how do skills support the twin transition?
As part of the Year of Skills, we have asked Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, and Frans Timmermans, former Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the European Green Deal, to help contextualise the key questions that education and training programmes need to address.
2. We need new ideas!
To face today's sustainability challenges, business-as-usual won't do.
In order to gather new ideas, we started our Year of Skills journey by launching the Green Skills Award 2023 that showcases some of the incredible initiatives already taking place to support the global development of green skills.
At the heart of our Year of Skills activity are the ideathons – a series of interactive events designed to capture the voice of all educational stakeholders from EU neighbouring countries to generate innovative ideas as to how learners can gain skills for the evolving digital and green landscape. They have brought together the perspectives from
- young people,
- government officials from the Eastern Partnership region,
- educational researchers and strategists,
- experts in apprenticeship and work-based learning, and
- centres of vocational excellence,
labour, employment and business development agencies from the Union for the Mediterranean,
creating a collaborative vision for the future of skills development.
The voices emerging from these ideathons (see 'Highlights' below) contribute to piecing together the puzzle of how education and training can innovate to help make the green and digital transition a reality. The European Young Ambassadors who attended the first ideathon, have shared their thoughts on how countries are helping them develop their skills. Hear what they have to say: Young people talk skills – #MySkills4You
While the future is full of challenges and uncertainties, it is also full of opportunities.
We are dedicated to developing skills for the future in a lifelong learning context, and will continue working with our partners to drive forward the changes needed to achieve a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. We will also continue monitoring the developments of policies and pratices in the area of green skills and digital skills and learning.
Follow us in the coming months as we share the results from our ideathons, support important developments, and present innovative solutions from across the EU’s neighbouring regions.