The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) -an auxiliary body of the EU to represent the interests of the different economic and social groups in Europe- has just published the study on “Europe’s Circular Economy and its Pact for Skills: working together for an inclusive and job-rich transition?”.
The study has analysed current EU initiatives supporting the skilling, upskilling and reskilling of the European workforce, and the understanding of whether these initiatives are sufficient and suitable to carry out a fair and just transition to circularity. The focus is on the blueprint projects implemented under the Erasmus+ programme, whose main aim was to create sectoral skills alliances that will afterwards support the implementation of the commitments established under the Pact for Skills.
Among other European initiatives dealing with skills development for circularity, the study has analysed the Construction Blueprint project, implemented by a consortium of 24 partners from 12 EU countries coordinated by Fundación Laboral de la Construcción between 2019 and 2023. Furthermore, the study offers a series of case studies developed for four of these blueprint projects (automotive, tourism, construction, shipbuilding and offshore energy), to understand the relevance of green and circular skills in these industrial ecosystems, and to identify challenges and barriers met to ensure the proper workers’ skilling, upskilling and reskilling.
Across the blueprint alliances funded by Erasmus+, the study concludes that green skills are not prioritised by all the segments of EU industry; from the 21 blueprint projects considered, only six of them (28%) clearly refer to green skills in the skills needs analysis carried out (construction industry as one of them). Green and circular skills seem not to be an essential aspect for many of the 21 sectoral alliances in the short term, not even when it is a requirement due to greening legislation, whereas digital skills are usually prioritised.
In the case of the Construction Blueprint project, and concerning workers’ skilling, upskilling and reskilling, the main results are three VET curricula (i.e., energy efficiency, circular economy and digitalisation), intended to be tailored to the needs of the six main professional profiles identified in the sector: bricklayer, carpenter, electrician, plasterer, plumber and site supervisor.
The study provides a final section of conclusions and recommendations derived from the evidence collected throughout the study and through a SWOT analysis approach that highlights opportunities to overcome identified barriers/challenges, highlighting, among others, the ways to strengthen the activities framed by the Pact for Skills in each of the industrial ecosystems analysed.
The complete study is available in the official EESC website: https://www.eesc.europa.eu/en/our-work/publications-other-work/publications/europes-circular-economy-and-its-pact-skills-working-together-inclusive-and-job-rich-transition