Increasingly, globalisation is being blamed for much of the ills we are seeing in Western societies today. Undeniably globalisation has brought about opportunities, jobs and growth but many are now questioning whether the West has managed to make globalisation work for low-skilled workers. If increased trade between countries and continents increases jobs and wealth, why is it that many are now rejecting it?
The answer, it seems, is becoming clearer and clearer. Globalisation and digitalisation have helped many but they have also left many behind.
The EU has been trying to help youth tap into the benefits of globalisation and digitalisation by dedicating large sums of money to train them to ride the wave of globalisation. The Youth Guarantee is already wielding results.
Establishing a Skills Guarantee to support low-skilled adults in finding a job
This evening, the European Parliament is going to debate the Skills Guarantee as proposed by the European Commission. A few months ago, the European Commission came up with ideas on how to help low-skilled adults acquire a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and digital skills.
The EU wants its citizens to be equipped with the right training and the right skills to find employment and believes that they should have the necessary support to do so.
If approved, the Skills Guarantee will be launched as part of a package of ten actions over the next two years aimed at increasing worker employability, especially amongst adults who have not attained an upper-secondary education certificate or equivalent. If properly implemented, its value will go beyond merely increasing economic productivity and could help tackle long-term unemployment and its related social ramifications.
According to data provided by the European Commission, 66 million people aged 25-64 have not gone beyond lower-secondary education. The employment rate for these people stands at a low 52.6%.
Dismal figures indeed! We clearly need to do something about it.
The EU’s most important measure in the social domain
First off, we need more clarity from the European Commission. Most importantly, we want the European Commission to tell us which EU mechanisms and EU funds will be used to implement the Skills Guarantee to support people who have not completed upper-secondary education or equivalent and who are not eligible for support under the Youth Guarantee.
For me personally, the Skills Guarantee is the most important measure the EU is taking in the social domain. It covers the most vulnerable people in the labour market.
A targeted approach for every EU Member State is needed
We know that at least 70 million Europeans lack adequate literacy skills, encounter difficulties when working with numbers and have poor digital skills. This massive figure gives us a picture of the scale of the problem, but it also masks significant differences between EU countries. For this reason it is absolutely essential that the European Commission adopts a targeted approach.
The EU has to address the specific needs and issues of each and every EU country. It has to rely on a well thought out strategy and must avoid ad-hoc measures, because challenges in this domain vary greatly from one EU country to another.