EU focuses on professional qualifications to support the green transition

No time to lose – The European labour market is also being affected by the green and digital transition. The European Commission has therefore developed a series of programmes to equip European Union (EU) citizens for the challenges of the future labour market.

In these difficult times, the EU is committed to helping refugees from the war in Ukraine who are seeking to integrate themselves in the European labour market. The EU and its member states are willing to help them with registering their qualifications, completing vocational training and continuing education, and with finding jobs.

At the same time, all agree that we urgently need to achieve climate neutrality in Europe and throughout the world. This requires a huge effort on the part of citizens, companies and, in some cases, entire sectors. It also means that many employees will have to move from traditional fossil-fuel industries to new emerging green sectors and into "green jobs" in all those areas where there is a lack of qualified workers.

In the construction sector, for example, it is anticipated that, by 2030, 487,000 new jobs will be created in the EU as a result of the European Green Deal. Almost 70 per cent of these will be in the area of skilled physical and non-physical work for which vocational training and continuing education is normally required.

Strong ties exist between vocational education and training (VET), the labour market and workplace training; vocational training and continuing education helps employees in these new green technologies to retrain and to change career.

The Commission is helping member states to reconfigure their VET systems for the green transition. An example of this is funding through Erasmus+ for establishing Centres of Vocational Excellence. These bring together lots of local partners for the development of "skills ecosystems" and therefore support regional development. GREENOVET, the European VET Excellence Platform for Green Innovation, EPLUG, the European Platform for Urban Greening, and 3LOE, Three-level centres of professional excellence in the green economy, are already under way.

The Pact for Skills is another tool the Commission is using to help businesses and employees prepare for the green and digital transition. By creating a forum in which all partners are able to discuss current and future qualification requirements and enter into partnerships, the Pact serves as an intermediary between the supply and demand for talented individuals in Europe. So far, over 600 organisations have committed to offering the appropriate qualifications to six million people, and that's just to start with.

Our goal is that by 2030, 60 per cent of all adults in the EU will be participating in training each year. With the help of EU funds, member states are also able to invest in the retraining and advanced training of the workforce in addition to investing in initial training and continuing education. In Germany, the European Social Fund has co-financed initiatives such as the "Grünblick" project. This provides workshops for professional and personal development in the areas of renewable energy, nutrition and agriculture in order to help young people discover which occupational fields suit their interests.

Source: (website on news from the European Union), revised by iMOVE, June 2022