Six key strategic recommendations to promote the development of professional skills in the agriculture, food industry, and forestry sectors at European level

As an activity of the FIELDS project, a European Strategy has been developed to strengthen and modernise workers’ skills in the agricultural, food, and forestry sectors.

The strategy is the result of the findings from several studies carried out in the project where the main trend on skills needs in the areas of digitalization, sustainable production, bioeconomy, and business entrepreneurship were identified. These studies included a literature review, focus groups held in several countries, interviews with European experts, and a future scenario analysis on skill needs.

The Strategy aimed to launch general guidelines to boost lifelong vocational education and training (VET) and skills acquisition, addressing several strategic pillars at the European level in line with the European Skills Agenda. The strategic report resulted in six key strategic recommedations, one for each pillar of action, to improve the European system of lifelong learning, as follows:

  1. Training needs: the future skills needed by the sectors focus on sustainable production; high technology; management/entrepreneurship and soft skills. Flexible and adaptable educational programs are necessary to respond to these needs.
  2. Regulations: focus on reducing the complexity and rigidity of current training systems and increasing transparency, with the development of module-based learning systems and micro-credentials. The involvement of different actors (education, productive sector, government agencies) is needed in the design, implementation and monitoring of VET systems. It is recommended that VET systems be harmonised between different European countries.
  3. Funding: it should be tailored to needs, be permanent and less dependent on projects, more transparent and accessible. Some funding should be addressed to improve the flexibility of education systems and their infrastructure, to promote inclusion and equality, and to foster work-based learning.
  4. Key elements and prerequisites for future VET programs: improving and promoting continuous training, fostering work-based practice, and adapting teaching to new trends and available tools.
  5. Key governance functions in the European VET eco-system: with a focus on structure at different levels (national and European), including the creation and reinforcing of strategic partnerships for exchange and support in policy-making.
  6. Monitoring the European VET eco-system: it is important to establish and harmonise initiatives to monitor education and training systems at the European and national levels with comprehensive but user-friendly performance indicators, for example on existing training provision, demand for new skills, and the impact of policies used.

An essential element for the future dynamization of lifelong VET is the Agri-food Pact for Skills, which aims to get public and private stakeholders together and encourage them to make concrete commitments to upskilling and reskilling the current and future agri-food workforce.

You can access the summary of the European Strategy (PT and EN) and the full document (EN) on the project’s website, where other relevant publications are also available.

Get to know the activities and follow the FIELDS Project through the project website, and the social networks LinkedIn, Facebook, and X.

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