PROJECT NUMBER: 1620204

Tackling the Skills Gap - The Golden Key to Economic Growth

26-27/Sep/2016  •  Maastricht  •  EIPA members' fee: €900

Introduction
Project Leader
Harrie Scholtens
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Target group
This seminar has been especially designed for individuals working in the fields of education and training, economic growth, employment and the labour market at national, regional and local level. This includes managers and expert practitioners from ministries and government agencies responsible for economic growth, skills development and employment creation, regional development agencies, employment services, vocational training institutions, chambers of commerce, industry organisations, trade unions etc.

Description
The seminar has been developed in cooperation with the European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Cedefop (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training) and the Danish finalist project of the European Public Sector Award 2015‘FREMKOM – Future Competencies of Region North Denmark’.

The seminar is an opportunity to learn about the newest EU initiatives, trends and tools in relation to skills anticipation, and methodologies for skills foresight, as well as to gain practical insight from the EPSA finalist project FREMKOM on how to design and manage innovative methods for sustainable skills development strategies based on social dialogue and strong stakeholder involvement.

Skills are a key factor in the prosperity and economic growth of the regions of the EU. Despite high unemployment, many employers report difficulties in recruiting staff with the right skills. There is an urgent need for better anticipation of the needs of employers, to make better use of existing skills and for development of the skills that are needed by the labour market.

Effective skills strategies are based on three main pillars: firstly, the availability of reliable and robust labour market data to identify and analyse current skills gaps; secondly, the anticipation of trends and of future needs for skills; and thirdly and most importantly, translating this information into actions though the better matching of the supply and demand for skills.

Matching the supply and demand of skills involves cooperation, mediation and negotiation between the education systems and the business sector, while also adjusting supply and demand. Effective matching requires the implementation of coherent and regular anticipation procedures, with policies based on reliable data, diagnosis and monitoring tools.

A wide range of methods and tools have been developed and applied at European, national, regional and sector level, using qualitative and quantitative approaches, ranging from quantitative, model-based approaches to sector studies, employer surveys and qualitative foresight. What has proven most successful is a mix of approaches, regular application and improvements, and a social partnership approach at the regional and local level.

Learning methodology
The seminar applies a practice-learning method. Participants will be actively involved during the two days in tailor-made exercises and will benefit from the EPSA 2015 finalist project FREMKOM to illustrate a successful methodology in tackling the skills gap through the involvement of relevant stakeholders in the joint development of regional skills strategies.

Objectives

Participants will gain insight, practical tools and methodologies relating to:
• State-of-the-art skills identification methodologies and how to replicate them in their own contexts;
• How to engage relevant stakeholders in effective skills development systems;
• Ensuring sustainable investments in skills;
• How to design, manage and sustain the processes to develop robust joint skills strategies matching the future skills needs.