Skills for the Digital Economy: Torino Process driving towards digitalised, flexible strategies for the future
June 8, 2017
Guest blog post by Alastair Macphail, Head of Communication, European Training Foundation
As international delegates fly into Turin this week for the closing conference of the fourth round of the Torino Process, the European Training Foundation (ETF) is already laying plans for the future.
The Changing Skills for a Changing World conference – which takes place in the ETF’s HQ city June 7 and 8 – brings together participants from 29 partner countries bordering Europe, celebrating the work they have done on their country reports and at the regional meetings over the past year.
They will be looking forward to how they can contribute to more effective policy planning and action implementation in the future, during the coming fifth round of the Torino Process.
The Torino Process (TRP) – the ETF’s flagship evidence-based policy tool for evaluating and implementing systematic change in vocational education and training (VET) policies in its partner countries – will help to provide the skills needed to meet the digital revolution of the 21st century.
The way we work, where we work and how we work has changed dramatically. Digital companies are capital rather than labour intensive companies who require people with the right skills and entrepreneurial spirit to succeed.
The pace at the world of work is changing is a growing challenge for policymakers who need to develop a suitable policy response to prepare people in the European Union (EU) and its partner countries for the emerging labour market of the digital economy.
According to Professor Ivana Pais, expert on the Labour and Welfare State Committee of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Italy, as many as 20-30% of the population of the United States and European Union now work independently – around 162 million people.
Around 15% of these independent workers use online platforms to find work, in fields ranging from consultancy and web-design to the new jobs of the ‘gig’ economy – delivery or online taxi service drivers.
Preparing policy responses in unchartered areas can be complicated: the London Employment Tribunal ruling classifying Uber drivers in the UK as employees, has wide ranging tax and labour law ramifications, and not surprisingly, met resistance from Uber – a low labour, high capital-intensive business.
The changes will affect everyone, Prof. Pais says: ‘All industries – service, agriculture, engineering and others – are affected by the move from ‘messy old desk’ to new ‘computer and a phone desk.’
Ensuring training systems are flexible, policies evidence-based, and meet fast-changing labour market demands by working closely with business, social partners and stakeholders, will fall to policymakers, VET experts and practitioners.
Others are more cultural – technology allows us to work anywhere at any time. The boundaries between work, home and leisure are blurring. Producers and consumers are merging with people increasingly involved in the production model – customising shoes they have ordered online or designing ‘self-print’ books.
The new world of hybrid work means more ‘proams’ – professional amateurs, uncertified but highly skilled people – are emerging.
VET policy makers and professionals need to be ready to respond.
The European Training Foundation works with its 29 partner countries to improve vocational education and training (VET) policies, systems and outcomes. Progress, updates and results are tracked through the Torino Process – a participatory analytical review involving a wide range of stakeholders.
The Changing Skills for a Changing World conference takes place on June 7-8 in Turin. For more information visit https://blog.torinoprocess.eu/