The Guest Blog

Guest blog post by Franc Bogovic MEP.

Today more than 4.5 million young people are unemployed in the EU, with peaks of more than 40% in some countries. For the near future some specific drivers of job creation can be identified in Europe, such as the ICT sector boom and the transition to more sustainable energy sources. The role of the private sector is fundamental, but only with the full engagement of all other parties involved.

The challenges that the near future presents can be transformed into opportunities and drivers of growth. Transformations are already happening in society: are policymakers, stakeholders, employers and educators prepared to meet the challenge?

An ambitious industrial strategy to speed up European digital innovation

In today’s society, new skills are needed not only for professions and carrying out tasks in the highly-specialised high-tech sector, but they have also become indispensable to citizens’ everyday lives. Ultimately, more digital skills means a more efficient and more productive society.

Europe, the ‘old continent’, needs to catch up with other parts of the world, which are spearheading innovation in the digital field

Europe, the ‘old continent’, needs to catch up with other parts of the world, which are spearheading innovation in the digital field. This can only be done if digital innovation is seen as a part of an ambitious and genuine European industrial strategy.

More digital skills means a more efficient and more productive society

Politics must prove to be not only receptive, but also reactive and pro-active when dealing with technological innovation and its societal impact. Ambitious educational programmes should be fine-tuned according to the needs of society and I believe the EU has a huge role to play in this process.

Closer cooperation between business and education sectors

But how can we anticipate future skills if we don’t listen to businesses? Closer cooperation between the business and education sectors is one of the key tools for providing learners with new skills and competences for the labour market.

Given the speed of technological development and changes on the job market, it is our responsibility to equip young people with the skills demanded by employers

The ‘Alliance for Youth’, which was founded by Nestlé two years ago and today unites more than 200 companies throughout Europe, is an especially interesting initiative and an example of what can be achieved. The Alliance for Youth companies have provided training and jobs for 115,000 young Europeans since 2014, have set up more than 600 dual-learning schemes across Europe and organised 10,000 workshops to prepare young graduates for job interviews or support them entering the job market.

By offering concrete work experience, the companies want to tackle what young unemployed Europeans still name as the number one reason for not being hired

By offering concrete work experience, the companies want to tackle what young unemployed Europeans still name as the number one reason for not being hired.

A survey among 1700 apprentices revealed that 96% of them believe it will help them find a job after their studies, while 98% of apprentices would recommend apprenticeships to others. This proves that we need to continue to invest in strengthening the relations between educational bodies and companies.

Implementing a 2.0 version of dual learning – my experience in Slovenia

Personally, I have engaged with DS Smith in Slovenia, who are a member of the Alliance for Youth, and I am working hard on using this scheme as a best-practice initiative on how to implement the dual-learning method in my country – which hopefully can then serve as an example for the rest of Europe. Germany and Austria have had huge success stories with their respective versions of dual learning since the 1990s.

Now it is time for the Slovenian 2.0 version of this excellent idea, including digital tools and a modern, 21st-Century educational framework

Now it is time for the Slovenian 2.0 version of this excellent idea, including digital tools and a modern, 21st-Century educational framework. Slovenia needs to be avant-garde when it comes to education. I also hope to achieve this status Europe-wide, in order to make Europe as a whole fitter for the many challenges to come.

I am working hard on using this scheme as a best-practice initiative on how to implement the dual-learning method in my country, which hopefully can then serve as an example for the rest of Europe

The employability of youngsters is one of the crucial challenges for the next decades. Given the speed of technological development and changes on the job market, it is our responsibility to equip young people with the skills demanded by employers.

The importance of digital literacy and technological skills for young Europeans is unquestionable. As an MEP I am placing particular focus on promoting skills for innovation and growth.

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