This second newsletter within the ETF's communication campaign on 'skills for inclusion' focuses particularly on young people. We look at the importance of nurturing and protecting their wellbeing and mental health as a key component for their learning and skills development. Equally so, tailoring and optimising their learning experience if successful should also contribute to their wellbeing.
This edition presents the challenges which young people have had to face in recent years and the toll it has taken on their mental health. This is the context of education and policy reform efforts at a global scale which can only succeed with outreach and engagement of young people to address their needs. Civil society organisations play a critical role but more representation is needed in education policy dialogue for wider impact at system level.
Technological change, the greening of economies, globalisation and demographic factors, including migration and displacement due to environmental hazards and conflict, as well as the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 crisis, have profoundly influenced labour markets and the workplace and the skills people needed to work and live. Education and skills development are critical to ensure individuals have access to, and remain engaged in, our fast evolving workplaces and society.
In January and February of 2023, as the European Year of Skills gets underway, the ETF communication campaign on the importance of education and skills development for social inclusion presents highlights, expert discussions and learning points from the EU’s neighbourhood regions. This month's newsletter launches this campaign with insights from ETF experts and counterparts and recent studies.
This edition of Learning Connects focuses on the skills dimension of migration and the work of the ETF in partnership with other organisations within the context of the EU's external relations and the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum. ETF undertakes research and analysis in the EU's neighbouring countries and assessments of policy responses and practices.
Here the spotlight is shone on the shifting needs of human capital and skills within the Western Balkans and the Danube Region; how better skills development and usage can help to retain talent and offset brain-drain; and the ETF's work to harmonize and correlate national qualifications frameworks, such as that of Ukraine with the European Qualification Framework, to facilitate the transferability of skills and enhance the migrant experience.
The strong interlinkages between career development support, lifelong learning and the requirement of all countries to ensure quality education, economic, and social outcomes highlight the relevance of career development support and its need for prioritisation on the national policy agenda.
Labour markets are changing rapidly in response to the digital and green transitions, demographic and environment changes, and crises such as the health pandemic, war, and food and energy shortages. Lifelong career guidance and counselling, career education, and career development support for workers in formal and informal contexts are integral components of policies aiming at economic growth, social equity, and innovation. Career guidance is a key priority of the European Union, in its member states and external policy aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The ETF has been supporting countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey, the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia for over two decades to develop their national data collection on education and skills development.
Teachers and the teaching methods and resources they can deploy are critical in ensuring the success of any learning system by ensuring that students benefit from their experience and achieve the required learning outcomes for engagement in the work place and society. The role of teachers is continuously evolving as a result of the changing demands and expectations placed on them by the world we live in from the local to the global levels as we are witnessing with the digital and green transitions, and with the health pandemic, for instance.
2022 has been designated the European Year of Youth, and one of its key objectives is to highlight the importance of young people in society particularly for shaping a greener, more inclusive and digital society. For young people to take the lead they need the right education and skills, and opportunities to do so.
Young people are a high political priority also within the EU’s external relations in which the ETF operates. The EU’s policies and actions support the 2030 Agenda and many of the Sustainable Development Goals in which the development and engagement of youth is a key focus.
Young people offer energy, initiative, capability, and so much more, but they are facing extraordinary social, economic, and environmental changes that can leave them marginalised. The Covid-19 period was difficult for everyone but especially on a young people at such a critical phase of their development they were compelled to undergo social distancing. Investing in people, and giving them the competences and skills to engage socially, democratically and economically are essential for societies to evolve and prosper. Young people need to be heard but they also need to be enabled to speak up and claim their rights, especially those who are suffering from marginalisation and disadvantage.
Focus: skills development for the green transition
This edition of Learning Connects brings to you the latest updates on ETF's activities, expertise building, good practice sharing, and policy advice on education, training and skills development for the green transition in the EU's neighbouring regions.
The European Vocational Skills Week annual event takes place in May and the focus in 2022 is on VET and the Green Transition. The ETF's Green Skills Award forms part of the EU's VET excellence awards delivered during the event.
Learning Connects keeps you updated on a monthly basis about the latest ETF activities supporting the reform of education, training and employment systems in the EU’s neighbouring regions.
Pillars of our work covered include the provision of policy advice, support for stakeholder engagement within the policy eco-system, targeted country interventions and the development of specialist networks for building expertise and good practice.
The ETF’s new digital newsletter replaces our previously printed Live and Learn magazine.