EU Skills

70mn Europeans have poor literacy: EU targets building skills in new agenda

10 June Jun 2016 1327 10 June 2016
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Today in Brussels, the European Commission adopted a new and comprehensive Skills Agenda for Europe. The aim is to ensure that people develop a broad set of skills from early on in life and to make the most of Europe’s human capital, which will ultimately boost employability, competitiveness and growth in Europe.

"With millions of people in the EU currently out of work, we need to do all we can to help equip them with the right skills for the evolving labour market," said Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, Valdis Dombrovskis today on the new Skills Agenda for Europe.

Today's new Skills Agenda for Europe calls on Member States and stakeholders to improve the quality of skills and their relevance for the labour market.

According to studies, 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.

70 million Europeans lack adequate reading and writing skills, and even more have poor numeracy and digitals skills

According to global youth thinktank Think Young, " countries with low youth unemployment rates are those where Vocational Education and Training (VET) and apprenticeship programmes are more developed is driving the debate on effective education policies, and puts an emphasis on VET and apprenticeships as key instruments in tackling youth unemployment. Apprenticeships are believed to promote a smoother transition from school to work for young people, giving them a good start to their working careers."

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.

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.

To help tackle skills challenges, the Commission will launch 10 actions which will address these issues and make skills more visible and improve their recognition at local, national and EU levels, from schools and universities to the labour market.

"We need to invest more in skills in Europe. The most competitive countries in the EU, and in the world, are those that invest most in skills and 70 million Europeans are at the risk of falling behind. Stronger investment in skills is vital for strengthening competitiveness and boosting growth. And most of all, it is crucial to help people to realise their professional dreams and goals and reach their potential." said Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen.

Photo Credits: Getty Images/Jasper Juinen

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