Intelligence to drive recovery in Europe.

Predicting skills trends in a rapidly changing labour market is a cornerstone of policy-making, and Cedefop organised a high-level conference on 13 April to reflect on how to develop further its skills intelligence research and tools in the coming years.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated changes that had been already underway, as the shift to digitalization led to an increased need for upskilling and reskilling of the workforce. Cedefop’s labor market and skills intelligence (LMSI) maps out these changes and future trends, providing policy-makers and practitioners with valuable insight.

The virtual conference ‘Getting the future right: towards smarter and people-centered skills intelligence’ (#LMSInext) addressed the issue of how next-generation LMSI can contribute to understanding current challenges and prepare Europe’s economies for a post-coronavirus recovery that will be fair, digital, and green.

Taking a new step

European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit told the 230 participants: ‘The years ahead will be crucial and transformative for our society at large; we must make sure we take people along; up-and reskilling is about Europe’s competitiveness as much as it is about social fairness. Therefore, having the right information to optimize investment in skills remains a vital building block for our recovery. Today, we are preparing a new step for the future. Cedefop’s work is extremely important since we will need to know what skills will be necessary for various growing sectors and various regions.’

Cedefop Executive Director Jürgen Siebel said: ‘Skills intelligence has become a prerequisite for building and maintaining employability for learners and workers, and competitiveness for businesses. We at Cedefop want to get the future right. We want to shape a new generation of skills intelligence, to draw the first blueprint of LSMI 2.0.’ The conference examined Cedefop’s skills intelligence work so far and looked for ways to strengthen it to make it more relevant and people-centered, in line with the ambitions stated in the 2020 European skills agenda.

Predicting skill needs paramount

The keynote speech was delivered by Estonian Professor of Social Communication Marju Lauristin, who pointed out that the significance of digitalization during the pandemic proved that the future is today. Predicting skill needs through Cedefop’s skills intelligence work is paramount.

Summarising the discussions, Cedefop Deputy Director Mara Brugia noted: ‘Skills intelligence development on a large scale will not be a one-off response to the current situation; it is here to stay. It will help us understand trends, skill needs, and gaps, but also point the way to suitable training and learning solutions. We can provide the tools, evidence, methods, and analytical frameworks to help stakeholders translate skills intelligence into training solutions in their own context. We’ll continue making the best possible use of our partnerships.’

Providing evidence

Cedefop provides high-quality evidence on trends in the fast-moving world of work. The Agency’s research in the field includes anticipating and matching skillsbig data analysis from online vacanciesdigitalization, AI and the future of work, the European Company Survey with Eurofound, the European skills, and jobs survey, the European skills index, the skills forecast and skills for the green economy, while Skills Panorama offers a unique central access point for data information and intelligence on skill needs in occupations and sectors across Europe.

An animated video released today showcases Cedefop’s Skills OVATE tool and the benefits it brings to policy planning, while the Agency is marking the occasion of the conference by releasing several new research publications:

  • A briefing note on Skills intelligence: trends, transitions, and transformations;
  • A perspective on policy practice: ‘Tapping the potential of big data for skills policy’ (a joint publication with other organizations);
  • The booklet ‘Digital, greener and more resilient – Insights from Cedefop’s European skills forecast’
  • A series of three practical guides on ‘Understanding technological change and skill needs’ to assist stakeholders, experts, vocational education and training policy planners, and practitioners in making optimal use of Cedefop’s skills intelligence output to tackle the challenges posed by the changes in the labor market.

The conference will be followed by four virtual workshops on 15 and 20 April.