Green Skills Partnership praised in European Commission report

Unionlearn's Green Skills Partnership has been recognized by the European Commission (EC) as a significant practice for greening economies. The report of EC findings on how to meet "Skills needs in greening economies" has extensive coverage of the Green Skills Partnership, including a case study.

The Green Skills Partnership is praised for

  • "providing workers or the unemployed with portable skills that enhance their employability"
  • "[its] ability to spread information through partnerships and networks"
  • "[easing] the access to information among workers and enterprises"
  • "mobilising private funding from the employers"

'Skills needs in greening economies' profiles 20 "significant practices" across the European Union including the transport sector in France, energy sector in Italy and Spain and the construction sector in Germany.

The report makes the following recommendations for skilling green economies:

  • Lifelong Learning remains very relevant particularly anticipating skills needs, validating skills and competences, information advice and guidance (IAG) and mobilising resources through social partnership.
  • A 'greening' skills agenda is important for all sectors in the context of efforts to safeguard the environment and realise resource efficiencies: it is by no means limited to a few readily identifiable sectors. Education, initial vocational training and continuous vocational training (or "lifelong learning") have a critical role to play in delivering and updating relevant skills.
  • The strong involvement of social partners is key to success at all appropriate levels. Strong information flows ensure that relevant national stakeholders and training providers are continually aware of and responsive to the skills requirements of enterprises and workers.
  • Policy coordination, coherence and consistency can help ensure smooth skills and economic transformation: Effective adaptation and restructuring of economies and labour markets in response to environmental challenges rely on clear, co-ordinated and predictable policies. Coherent approaches to industrial, social and environmental policies require active coordination between public authorities and social partners playing an important role in mapping, monitoring and regularly assessing skill needs in light of the competitive dynamics across all sectors.
  • Training provision needs to be affordable, relevant, timely and accessible in order to be taken up. Demand for training is driven by identified skills needs, legal requirements, quality control, the perceived value of the training, and the personal motivation of the learner. The social partners can influence these by promoting the benefits of lifelong learning to enhance competitiveness and by providing practical mechanisms to support enterprises and their workforce.
  • Further efforts are needed to build links between education and training actors, and industry, business and public services to adapt existing qualifications and develop nationally accredited add-on modules that match the needs of individuals and the labour market.
  • Social partners can play a key role in raising awareness on skills needs in greening economies and learning opportunities: A prerequisite for successful socially responsible change is a general awareness and acceptance of the need for change among workers and employers.
  • There is limited evidence of 'scaling up' or replication of effective practices from local or regional projects. A focussed exchange of experience could help to inspire innovation.
  • A variety of financial support is available at EU level such as the ESF that can co-fund the delivery of lifelong learning activities. In the next financial period, "Erasmus+" will provide further opportunities to support peer learning and country exchanges for teachers, trainers and trainees. The Commission should ensure priority access to EU funding to social partners who apply for these funds. At a local level, open partnerships can provide further support in issues of compliance in leveraging co-finance and/or drawing in further channels for in-kind support.
  • Further support for lifelong learning initiatives could also be generated by creating a better evidence base on the positive impacts of lifelong learning activities to develop the skills needed in greening economies on long-term competitiveness and performance of enterprises and organisations.

Unionlearn presented on the Green Skills Partnership to a varied audience of organisations with its evaluation partner ICF GHK in Plymouth on 6th March 2014.