Alongside taking stock of the existing skills policies, the Socialists and Democrats reaffirmed their conviction that there is a need to adopt a holistic approach to education and skills development in order to provide all citizens with the key set of competences for lifelong learning to achieve both personal and professional fulfillment.
S&D vice-president Jeppe Kofod emphasised that access to learning and training opportunities must be a right for everyone at every stage of life so that they can acquire transversal skills such as numeracy, digital and media literacy, critical thinking, social skills and relevant life skills.
During the seminar S&D Euro MPs, Jeppe Kofod, Silvia Costa, Jutta Steinruck, Marita Ulvskog Momchil Nekov, Emilian Pavel and Brando Benifei discussed with experts, and a wide range of stakeholders, the challenges and opportunities as well as the way forward.
The stakeholders include Solidar, Cedefop, European Trade Union Confederation, Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria, European University Association, European Students Union, Think Young, Lifelong Learning Platform, DG EAC and DG EMPL.
Silvia Costa MEP, S&D Group spokesperson on culture and education said:
“The S&D report on a New Skills Agenda for Europe stresses the need to upgrade European education and training systems in line with the rapidly changing economic and social context. This need is even greater in certain sectors, such as the preservation of cultural heritage wherein from one side the international demand for specialised, technical or administrative education in the cultural heritage competence chain grows, whereas from the other side high-level professionals are lacking. To address this issue, it is important that Europe reflects on the responses to ameliorate, promote and protect traditional competences, both of technicians and of professionals.”
Jutta Steinruck MEP, S&D Group spokesperson on employment and social affairs, added:
“The alarming lack of basic skills such as literacy and numeracy and the demand for new skills, particularly in the digital labour market, need to be tackled through training as well as through further education, active labour market measures and lifelong learning. A real skills guarantee for all must be a basic social right in Europe. The right and access to education and training should be universal for not only those who are working but also for people outside of employment, education or training and for people in disadvantaged situations, such as people with disabilities, asylum-seekers, long-term unemployed people and underrepresented groups in order to safeguard them from a further exclusion from the labour market.”