The EU education ministers adopted the document to support the role of vocational and higher education in transferring the skills.
The newly approved document, dated 7 March, follows the European Council Conclusions of 9 February 2023, in which the EU Heads of State and Government called for more ambitious action to further develop the skills needed for the green and digital transition through education, training, upskilling and reskilling. The document was adopted in the context of the European Year of Skills and reacts also to the Council Recommendation on Vocational Education and Training for Sustainable Competitiveness, Social Equity and Resilience, the European Strategy for Universities, the Council Recommendation on Learning for Environmental Sustainability and the European Competence Framework on Sustainability (GreenComp).
Sustainability competences include the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that learners of all ages need to live, work and act in a sustainable way. Green skills refer to the professional skills that are needed in all sectors and levels of the labour market to transition to green living, including the creation of new green jobs. They also refer to cross-cutting skills that enable critical and systems thinking, problem solving and innovation. For more information, see the ESCO Taxonomy.
The Conclusions on Skills and Competences for the Green Transition also respond to labour shortages in sectors considered key to the green transition. The Council therefore calls, among other, on Member States to involve education and training providers, research organisations, employers, social partners, and other stakeholders in a joint mapping of reskilling and upskilling needs and in identifying new professional profiles for the green transition. VET and higher education systems should then be reformed, either by creating new qualifications or by integrating green skills into the already existing qualifications (including through micro-certificates). Member States should also support teachers in acquiring green knowledge and skills so that they can pass them on to their learners.
The Council Conclusions further highlighted the contribution of international cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training to green transformation and sustainable development. In particular, the projects of the European University Alliances and the Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) have a high potential in this respect.
For more information, see the press release.