26 October 2021

Social partners and MEPs team up for skills development in the metal sector

European Tech & Industry Employers and IndustriAll European Trade Union teamed up with French MEP Sylvie Brunet (Renew Europe) and Spanish MEP Nicolás González Casares (Socialists & Democrats) to foster discussion on how MEPs can support skills development across Europe, especially via the EU Pact for Skills.

The European Commission launched the Pact for Skills in November 2020 with the aim of promoting partnerships between companies, social partners and vocational education and training (VET) providers which are actively engaged into skills development. Each Pact for Skills will be established within a strategic industrial ecosystem. industriAll Europe and Ceemet are already contributing to the Pacts for Skills which have been established for the automotive and the aerospace & defence ecosystems. Each of them fosters a collaboration to tackle the challenges posed by the green and digital transition making sure that re- and upskilling is stepped-up all over Europe

Key role of the MEP

The success of the different Pacts depends on the involvement of a wide range of actors, including representatives of companies, education and training providers, regions and social partners.

MEPs also have a role to play when it comes down to a push in their constituency and during discussions at European level, making sure that the initiative reaches – across Europe – all concerned stakeholders at European, national, regional and local levels. Only then, the Pacts for Skills can fully contribute to the overall development of skills throughout Europe.

Social partners in the drivers’ seat: activating the Pact for skills at all levels

Social partners have been addressing the issue of skills shortages and the need for re- and up-skilling in the past, an urgency that is widely recognised by now.

Isabelle Barthès, Deputy General Secretary industriAll Europe states that:

In a rapidly changing industry, it is crucial to continuously anticipate and manage skills and training needs to avoid a situation where the lack of skills hamper company recovery and transformation and undercut workers’ employability. However, the reality is very different from one country to another, and the overall volume of training is very far from what it should be. The Pacts for Skills can serve as a catalyst for all stakeholders at all levels to take action to ensure fair and inclusive transition for all. This requires rights to secure training and job-to-job transition for workers.

On her turn, Ceemet Director General Delphine Rudelli adds that:

Social partners’ role is twofold: on a European level we support the initiative, share experiences and disseminate information to our members. And via our members we collect best practices of companies and make them available to others within the Pact. Accessing this information requires to operate as closely as possible to companies.

To conclude, both social partners point out that VET, up- and reskilling and lifelong learning (LLL) are a shared responsibility between employers, national, regional and local public authorities, trade unions and workers themselves. Marking once more that achieving the objective of the Pacts for Skills in the metal sector requires a clear commitment from and the involvement of all.