Commission launches New Skills Agenda for Europe

The Commission has adopted today a new and comprehensive Skills Agenda for Europe. The aim is to ensure that the right training, the right skills and the right support is available to people in the European Union so that they are equipped for good-quality jobs and can fulfil their potential as confident, active citizens. It will ultimately boost employability, competitiveness and growth in Europe.

Around 70 million Europeans lack adequate reading and writing skills, and even more have poor numeracy and digitals skills. This puts them at risk of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion. On the other hand, a large number of Europeans, particularly high-qualified young people, work in jobs that do not match their talents and aspirations. At the same time, 40% of European employers report that they cannot find people with the right skills to grow and innovate. Finally, too few people have the entrepreneurial mind-set and competences to start their own business and keep adapting to evolving requirements of the labour market.

Increasing skills levels, promoting transversal skills and finding ways to better anticipate the labour market’s needs, including based on dialogue with the industry, are therefore essential to improve people’s chances in life, and support fair, inclusive and sustainable growth as well as cohesive societies. The Agenda calls on Member States, social partners, the industry and stakeholders to work together to strengthen human capital, employability and competitiveness by:

  • improving the quality of skills and their relevance for the labour market
  • making skills more visible an comparable
  • improving skills intelligence and information for better career choices

Concretely, the Commission proposes 10 actions to be taken forward over the next two years, some of which were launched today:

  1. A Skills Guarantee proposal

The Skills Guarantee aims to improve people’s life chances and employability by supporting low qualified people in improving their literacy, numeracy or digital skills or progressing towards an upper secondary qualification or the equivalent. The Commission calls for strong cooperation between Member States, social partners, education and raining providers and other stakeholders in establishing the Skills Guarantee.

  1. A review of the European Qualifications Framework for a better understanding of qualifications and to make better use of available skills in the European labour market.
  2. A Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills to improve skills intelligence and address skills shortages in specific economic sectors.


The European Skills Agenda was announced in the 2016 Commission Work Programme. It will support upward social convergence and contribute to the European Commission’s first political priority, “A New Boost for Jobs, Growth and Investment” by addressing three pressing challenges of today’s economies: the lack of relevant skills to match labour market needs, the insufficient transparency of skills and qualifications, and the difficulty to anticipate and forecast skills.


For more information:

Skills in the EU
New Skills Agenda for Europe
Skills Guarantee

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