The European Skills Agenda is the European Union’s 5 year plan, which builds on the 10 actions set by its predecessor, the 2016 Skills Agenda of the European Commission. The high-level plan aims to equip individuals and businesses with the digital skills needed for life and work.
The European Skills Agenda complements the European Digital Strategy, the Strategy for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), and exists within the framework of the Recovery Plan for Europe. The plan has several main objectives: to strengthen sustainable competitiveness and contribute to the targets and ambitions of the European Green Deal, to enhance social fairness and equality by implementing the first principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights, i.e. access to education, training and lifelong learning for all, and to improve overall resilience and the ability of citizens and businesses to react to crises.
There are 12 actions planned under the European Skills Agenda, which are organised around 4 main themes
The European Skills Agenda puts forward 12 new actions, aiming to mobilise stakeholders and bridge the digital skills gap for citizens and companies. These include:
- A Pact for Skills – a flagship action announced on 10 November 2020 to support skills for individuals and organisations, upskilling, reskilling, and lifelong learning for all.
- Strengthening skills intelligence and ensuring Europeans are equipped with the skills needed for career development.
- EU-level support for strategic actions on upskilling and reskilling by national governments and EU Member States.
- A proposal for a Council recommendation on improvements in the vocational education and training sector (VET).
- Supporting research through an initiative, targeting European universities and skill building and cross-border mobility for researchers.
- Fostering the development of skills to support the twin digital and green transition.
- Measures to increase the number of STEM graduates and foster the development of transversal skills, as well as skills for entrepreneurship and the digital transformation.
- Supporting skills for life and making tools and initiatives with distinct lifelong learning pathways available and accessible to the citizens and workforce of Europe.
- A new European approach to micro-credentials and a new Europass platform.
- A revised framework for skills and investment in skills, including actions to improve Member States’ investment in skills.
The Skills Agenda sets targets for 2025, based on pre-defined indicators – such as raising the participation of younger adults, jobseekers, and those with little experience and a lower qualification skillset. The European Commission aims to launch 540 million adult education programmes and training activities, including 60 million for lower-qualified adults, and another 40 million for unemployed and jobseekers. Actions launched within the framework of the European Skills Agenda support also the larger 2030 targets set out by the Digital Decade (i.e ensuring 80% of citizens have at least basic digital skills), by aiming to bring the total number of adults, in possession of basic digital skills to 230 million.