The European Commission has adopted a package to support mobility and the development of skills and talent.
The Skills and Talent Mobility Package was adopted in mid-November in the context of the European Year of Skills. Its main objective is to support the labor market, the occupations in which Europe has a labor shortage and the skills necessary for the ecological and digital transformation. Last but not least, the package also targets potential workers from outside the EU: it wants to make it easier for them to enter the EU labor market and thus help the EU increase its position on the global labor market.
The set of documents focuses on three main areas: greater emphasis on mobility in all areas of education and their support, increasing the planned goals in the ratio of mobile university students and secondary vocational school students by 2030, and support for teachers and apprentices. All this the package aims to achieve through four main documents:
1. A Communication on Skills and Talent mobility;
2. Commission Recommendation on the Recognition of Qualifications of Third Country Nationals;
3. A proposal for a Regulation establishing an EU Talent Pool;
4. A proposal for a Council Recommendation Europe on the move - Learning mobility for everyone.
A framework for mobility in education
The proposal for a Council Recommendation Europe on the move - Learning mobility for everyone focuses on all areas of education from pre-school education to lifelong learning, including non-formal education. Its goal is to support mobility as a standard part of the educational journey of every individual, regardless of their origin, gender or socio-economic background. The proposal also aims at removing barriers to mobility, supporting foreign language learning and teaching and mobility not only within the EU, but also outside it. The proposal also mentions new developing mobility formats, such as combined or virtual mobilities.
As part of the European Education Area, goals are now set for 2025, which determine what proportion of university and vocational secondary school students should be mobile by 2025. In a new recommendation, the Commission proposes to increase these targets by 2030. In the field of higher education, the Commission proposes as a goal to have at least 25% of mobile students by 2030 who should complete at least one 2-month mobility. The target by 2025 is 20%, the current European average is around 15%. In the field of vocational education and training, the Commission aims for 15% of mobile pupils by 2030. The target for 2025 is set at 8%, the current state is between 5 and 7%. At the same time, students and pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds should represent at least 20% of the total number of mobilities.
In the recommendation, the Commission recommends to the member states to support and promote mobility as a part of the educational process, to help reduce the administrative burden, to support flexible and new mobility formats, and to appreciate and support educators who prepare and implement mobility projects and activities. Furthermore, the proposal for recommendation mentions other important areas that are necessary to support mobility and achieve the new goals, such as recognizing learning outcomes, supporting inclusive mobility opportunities for all, supporting the safety and protection of incoming and outgoing students or ensuring adequate housing. Regarding mobility outside the EU, the proposal for recommendation mentions promoting the EU as an attractive destination for attracting talent from third countries.
The implementation of the recommendation should be supported by programs including Erasmus+, the European Solidarity Corps, the European Structural Funds, the ALMA initiative and others.
Attracting talent and the EU Talent Pool
The second key topic of the package is the emphasis on attracting talent to the EU, especially in professions in which the EU is currently facing labor shortages. The proposed EU Talent Pool platform should be a place that connects employers in the EU and individuals from outside of the EU interested in working here. Joining the platform will be voluntary. After the member state joins the platform and actively participates in its implementation, its companies and other employers will be able to publish their job offers on the platform. The European Union also identifies 42 professions in which it considers attracting talent to be particularly important.
The recruitment of employees from third countries is very closely linked to the recognition of qualifications obtained in third countries. The Commission fully recognizes the autonomy of each Member State in the legislation it applies in this area but at the same time it proposes measures to build confidence in the recognition of skills and reduce the administrative burden of accepting these job seekers. In the area of unregulated professions, the European Commission proposes, for example, to move more towards the so-called "skills first" approach, which already works in some countries and on the basis of which not only the results of formal education are recognized, but also various other forms of demonstrable skills and experience.
In the area of skills, the Commission mainly emphasizes the skills necessary for the twin green and digital transitions, as well as health. One of the examples of cooperation in specific areas are the Talent Partnerships, individualized partnerships that are part of the Pact on Migration and Asylum, and which the EU concludes with third countries in order to support the development of skills. There are currently such Talent partnerships with Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The package will now go to the European Parliament and to the Council of the EU. You can find more information at the EC’s press release, the launching speech of the Commissioner Ivanova and in the accompanying questions and answers.