2014 Final Conference of the European Sector Skills Council on Education Training & Employment in the Textile Clothing Leather and Footwear industries: Consolidating success
Stakeholders in the Textile, Clothing, Leather and Footwear sectors gather to review the outcomes of another successful year’s coordination effort at European level to address skills development in this vital industry of the European economy.
The 2014 Final Conference of the European Sector Skills Council for Textile, Clothing, Leather and Footwear (ESSC TCLF) took place last Friday 28th November 2014. Representatives from the European Commission (DG Employment and Social Affairs), the social partners, national Industry Skills Partnerships (ISPs), stakeholders from the four sectors and European press gathered at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss the outcomes of the second year of operation of the Council. This summit constitutes the main event of the TCLF Social Partners in the framework of the EU Skills Agenda supported by the Commission.
The Conference staged the disclosure of the Second ESSC TCLF Report, which updates and expands previous analytical work carried out by the Council in three distinctive areas: [a] the employment situation of the TCLF sector, including forecasts and trends; [b] the evolution of the TCLF sectors’ occupations and associated skills; and [c] a reasoned collection of innovative tools, national and regional strategies, initiatives and methods to monitor skills needs and address skills mismatch and gaps.
Based on this updated analysis, and the activities carried out over the past year amongst national Industry Skills Partnerships, the Council has released one structural recommendation and four prioritised actions.
The structural recommendation defines the conditions in which the ESSC TCLF can maximise its impact on sectoral Employment and Skills. It stipulates that the ESSC should focus on increasing its sectoral and territorial competitiveness, considering the peculiarities in terms of production, added value and resident knowledge; further develop its system to collect and elaborate sectoral intelligence – especially on employment and forecasting; widen its reach to more national and regional stakeholders, while developing further cooperation and good practice exchange among members. In fact this year ISPs initiated the concrete transfer of tools and good practices across European borders, in particular between France, Belgium and the UK.
Furthermore, it calls for the continued support by the European Commission and for this latter to foster further complementarity between the ESSC and other initiatives in the employment and skills area, such as ESCO, EU Skills Panorama and the Sector Skills Alliances.
The four priority actions set the agenda for future ESSC TCLF activities. They foresee projects to increase the attractiveness of the sectors to new generations of skilled workers, foster the creation and implementation of joint programmes for education and training based on emerging needs, enhance its responsiveness in terms of training and competence development to the rapid evolution of the sectors, and develop a TCLF quality training certification scheme to be adopted in Europe.
“This Report builds on our good social dialogue, which brought to the successful creation and implementation of the Skills Council” – declared the European Social Partners – “and it is the result of the ever-increasing cooperation that our work in the context of this Skills Council is fostering. There is a climate of open exchange, mutual trust and constructive collaboration on issues that we all recognise will continue impacting the industry, and that we can only tackle together to deliver effective responses.”
The Skills Council is therefore setting out to further expansion across Europe. In 2014, Spain became the fourth country together with Belgium, France and the UK, whereas 2015 presents very encouraging with the incorporation of Portugal, Italy and Romania already confirmed, and ongoing discussions with Czech Republic, Slovenia and Lithuania. The geographical enlargement will enrich the chances for exchange and the relevance of the common work, for a better understanding of the current situation and of future perspectives and skills needs through Europe.
In this context the ISPs added “Indeed there are many opportunities for growth and jobs in TCLF: the EU has a unique tradition in these sectors and a true wealth in terms of skills and competences, but the deep restructuring mentioned above requires brand new skillsets. With our analysis, we look at what factors are driving changes and in which direction: we can see new skills for “old” occupations and a whole new range of jobs stemming from developments in markets, technologies, regulations and the existing workforce.”
“All in all, there is a wealth of knowledge in this Second Report” – highlighted the Social Partners – “we strongly encourage you to go read it: the information is accessible, very practical and highly relevant. We really count on being able to receive continued support on our activities, especially from the European Commission, to expand this work and proceed in the direction we have set in our recommendations and priorities actions – and not just in financial terms. Considering the huge advantages stemming from joint work, the practical results coming from our bilateral and multi-lateral activities, the growing interest the Skills Council is raising across Europe and the evident opportunities for complementarity with other EU initiatives, we believe we have successfully set the stage for delivering real added-value in Employment and Skills in the European Textile Clothing Leather and Footwear industry.”
Representatives of the European Commission, CEC, COTANCE, industriAll Europe & EURATEX
- Economic and social Committee, Brussels 28th Novembers 2014-
More information at http://europeanskillscouncil.t-c-l.eu/