EURASHE [1] has strongly welcomed the proposal from the European Commission on a European Year of Skills [2] (EYS) which began on 9th May 2023 – Europe Day and will last for 12 months. A year dedicated to skills equals a year of investment in the education and training sector. We can expect many opportunities and initiatives dedicated to upskilling and reskilling people for fair digital and green transitions. The year is closely aligned with the European Skills Agenda and the European Pillar of Social Rights that place as a first principle the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning. This is the surest way to develop the skills that meet the needs of individuals, as well as economies and societies.

In this paper, EURASHE states its position and vision, concrete actions and priorities to promote the goals of the EYS, fostering the upskilling and reskilling across the Higher Education sector, especially in those institutions that have practice-based applied programmes.

EURASHE’s main positions are as follows:

  • Welcomes recognition of the need to reinforce the role of education and training in upskilling and reskilling to foster employment and address skills shortages for inclusive green and digital transitions;
  • Supports the call to increase the attractiveness and status of VET and dual education [3];
  • Regrets the absence of a specific reference to Higher Education;
  • Underlines the role of Professional Higher Education in upskilling and reskilling, including through innovative solutions with multiple stakeholders [4];
  • Applied Universities and Colleges develop skills for specific occupations [5] due to the practical component of the education and research activities carried out.
  • Highlights the role of micro-credentials in the EYS and in fostering flexible learning pathways for upskilling and reskilling.
  • Commits to supporting the EYS and its legacy through a range of activities, coordinated by its Community of Practice on Skills.

Download the full statement here.

[1] EURASHE is the European Association for Applied Higher Education Institutions, representing more than 550 institutions in over 31 countries.

[2] Proposal for a DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on a European Year of Skills 2023 – Link 

[3] DECISION (EU) 2023/936 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 10 May 2023 on a European Year of Skills – Link 

[4] E.g.: SMEs, companies and local an regional communities, among other sectors and actors.

[5] As well as so-called transversal skills (see UNESCO Glossary).