In 2009, the European Commission requested an opinion, to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on the opportunity to create sector councils on employment and skills at European level in ordre to better match skills to the needs of industry and services undergoing change.
- The EESC supports setting up sector councils on employment and skills at European level.
- Appropriately organised and managed sectoral councils involving various stakeholders should provide crucial support in anticipating employment and skills needs and adapting skills to supply and demand.
- European sectoral councils (ESCs) could support the management of sectoral changes.
- ESCs can have a broad scope, in terms of the number of stakeholders they comprise, and focus on skills and the labour market.
- ESCs should conduct close and regular cooperation with their national counterparts.
- Analyse quantitative and qualitative labour market trends in the given sector;
- Make recommendations to fill and eliminate qualitative and quantitative gaps in the labour market and implementing programmes and measures to achieve this;
- Support cooperation between businesses and vocational education and training (VET) providers.
Other key issues
- ESCs should include the social partners, education and training institutions and organisations, institutions, organisations and public authorities, professional associations and organisations providing vocational education and training (VET) and initial vocational education and training (IVET);
- ESCs should concentrate on sectors in the broad sense and may deal with occupations that are specific to sectors;
- They should take into account, first and foremost, the situation and needs of the labour market, from a European perspective;
- ESCs should encourage the development of an approach based upon the tasks (outcomes) done in businesses.
- ESCs should give consideration to continuing education at all levels and other forms of development and recognition of skills throughout life.
- ESCs should be based on the achievements of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET), the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework (EQARF) and Europass, and contribute to their further development.
- As regards funding, resources must be earmarked from the beginning of the process of establishing them.
- Pilot ESC project should be conducted in a limited number of councils at first.
- Improving the EU’s education and training systems is essential to increase employability and reduce inequality. The institutional changes in education hardly keep up with the society’s needs. Institutions must take account of the need for a close relationship between changes, innovation, education and training.
- The EESC calls for bringing the public needs and the habits of the new generations of learners closer.
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