eGuide for SMEs – Chapter 3: roles of sectors in identifyng skills needs and skills matching


3. Roles of sectors in identifyng skills needs and skills matching. 2
3.1 Overview
3.2 Skill needs analysis and skills matching: main challenges
3.3 Experiences and best practices in identifying skills needs and skills matching
3.3.1 Italy
3.3.2 Spain
3.3.3 Germany
3.3.4 Slovakia
3.4 Lesson learned: recommendations for SMEs

3. Roles of sectors in identifyng skills needs and skills matching

This chapter focuses on defining the role of different sectors and organisations in identification of skills needs and skill matching.

Also, the chapter aims at developing a forward-looking HR and skills development policy through cooperation.

3.1 Overview

One of the main challenges of public policy is to foster institutional arrangements through which government departments, employers, workers and training institutions can respond effectively to changing skill and training needs, and indeed play a strategic and forward-looking role in anticipating future needs.

Countries use a variety of coordination mechanisms: national inter-ministerial bodies; sector-based bodies bringing together training institutions and providers with employers’ and workers’ representatives; and decentralized local bodies. These mechanisms involve substantial investments of time and money, and they work when, and only when, all stakeholders can see their own objectives supported by others.

The effective utilization of skills in the workplace both depends on and contributes to conditions conducive to innovation and enterprise development; effective labour market orientation and mediation services; and well-informed decisions about education and training policies.

3.2 Skill needs analysis and skills matching: main challenges

Labour market information systems generate, update and disseminate information on current and future skill needs. This supply of critical information on an ongoing and timely basis is half the story. The other half is the transmission mechanisms that make this continuous flow of timely information available to education and training institutions, private market trainers, employers, trade unions, young people and their families, and displaced workers.

Public employment services have a critical role to play in making information available in the form of career guidance, vocational counselling, and material on access to training and job-matching services.

Public employment services help workers and employers make transitions in the labour market through job-matching services, information and access to labour market programmes (on, for example, skills training or retraining, self-employment and starting a business); and they help jobseekers choose the best options to improve their individual employability, through dissemination of reliable labour market information, career guidance and counselling, and a spectrum of tools and techniques to assist in searching for jobs.

Many public employment services also administer unemployment insurance programmes as a means of providing temporary financial support to workers.

3.3 Experiences and best practices in identifying skills needs and skills matching

3.3.1 Italy

Skills matching in green economy still suffer the challenge of referring to a fairly new competencies system, related to fragmented training systems. Moreover, training activities in the green sectors are often carried out autonomously by the organizations who need to ensure qualification of workers. This is especially true for the construction sector, which is now facing the challenge of realizing “nearly zero emissions buildings”.

“Build Up skills Italy”, also known as “WISE Roadmap” was a project financed within the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme as part of the “BUILD UP Skills” initiative promoted in the UE 27 countries by the European Agency for Competitiveness & Innovation of the European Commission.

The WISE Roadmap aimed at identifying a national system of qualified training to improve competencies of workers in the construction sector to reach the objective of constructing “nearly zero emission buildings”. The project focused on continuous training of construction workers as well as on developing new VET training programmes in line with the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and with the ECVET credit system.         

The WISE roadmap, within the “Build Up skills” framework, is a crucial example of how public and private stakeholders can cooperate to reach the common goal of creating a framework whose benefits favorably affect the whole system. The transnational dimension and feedbacks of the project represent a significant example of how a common, widespread objective (“nearly zero emissions” buildings in the Europe 2020 vision) can be translated in a policy for the creation of a common framework for qualifications of workers whose competencies could be the same all across Europe.

3.3.2 Spain

Regional Employment Service of Aragon designed a programme called “Plan Detecta” that consists of performing a real diagnosis of the training and skills needs in the labour market in the region. The results will help to plan and develop the Vocational Training for Employment in Aragon training for employees and job seekers.

The programme has annual objectives and activities to compile that information, and is carried out with the assistance of different stakeholders: social agents, companies, training centres, HR companies, experts in the labour market, etc.

The target groups involve employees and job seekers that will improve their training and skills through a more real training adapted to companies needs, companies, specially, SMEs, that will benefit from a better Vocational Training for Employment (more skilled workers, new trends in the market, etc.) and training centres and universities that will have a road map to  adapt their curricula.

The expected outcomes are as follows: identifying training needs in the labour market, identifying skill needs in the labour market, adapting Vocational Training for Employment offer in Aragon according to the diagnosis of the training and the skills needs made.

3.3.3 Germany

In relation tot he demographic change and ageing of the population, increasing energy consumption and rise of the energy prices, and with the aim to ensure cross-border climate protection, promotion of renewable energies and increase in energy efficiency, as well as to support the  value creation in the German-French cross-border region in the sense of the development of future-compliant energy supply, three regions (Département Moselle, the Saarland and Western Palatinate) represented by three organisations (Conseil Général de la Moselle, Rheinland-pfälzische Energieagentur EOR  (Energy agency of Rhineland-Palatinate) and ARGE SOLAR have prepared a project titled „Cross-border Network for Energy Efficiency/Renewable energies”.

The main topics cover the areas of innovative techniques, social housing, energy efficiency and renewable energies of public buildings.  The objectives of the cross-border network are anchored in  linking the specialists in the field of Green Economy/Sustainability, mutual exchange concerning topics like energy efficiency and renewable energies, creating further education programmes and qualification measures  and building up corporations between institutions and companies.

 The project activities consisting of research, creating and developing innovative techniques (photovoltaic, biomass, wind power, natural heat of the earth), German-French experience exchange (due to continuous workshops) and further education and training are resulting in the form of workshops (exchange of innovative technologies), a database matching companies and employees, a database informing about best practices (ECO_Map) and a bilingual online platform.

3.3.4 Slovakia

In 2005, the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava established a University Technology Incubator- an interface between a university research and a business world. The Incubator is targeted at University students and graduates,  post-graduate and post-doctoral students, University teachers, young scientists, scientists and researchers  with innovative business  ideas.

The Incubator offers favourable environment to starting business activities convenient infrastructure and wide support necessary in the first  years of entrepreneurship to people with original ideas.

Up to present, the incubator has provided support to 42 companies, created more than 130 new job positions within the  incubated companies and implemented 5 key European projects- Effective Transfer (consulting services), International Conference – Technology  Incubator, support in Establishing of Innovative Companies in the University Technology Incubator (workshops, trainings), tools for Transnational Innovation Support in Centrope – centrope_tt, Science City – University Incubator of SC.

The key activities are focusing on the Program InQb  providing support for young enterpreneurs for 3 years (bio- and nanotechnology for 5 years) and the Start-up Office offered to individuals who just planning to start a company, where the clients get free complete set of consultancies and can stay there for 3 months.

3.4 Lesson learned: recommendations for SMEs

Existing training infrastructure needs constant innovation to keep up with new technologies and learning methods. Flexibility and agility are vital to ensure that institutions remain able to respond to the evolving challenges posed by dynamic labour markets. Training institutions must have the capacity to periodically adapt curricula and update teachers’ and trainers’ skills to the changing needs of the world of work. Good-quality training outcomes further depend on maintaining a high quality of training contents, methods, facilities and materials. Apprenticeships, and more generally

the combination of classroom-based and work-based training, produce the best results. Skills standards should be set and tested by involving stakeholders in the process. Lifelong learning critically depends on a strong integration between education, training and work. A skills-based qualification system can accommodate multiple pathways through education, and between education and work.

People working in small enterprises and in self-employment, including those in rural areas and in the informal economy, as well as people in irregular work and precarious employment, should also have access to skills development and lifelong learning programmes. “Second chance” programmes, as well as drop-out prevention at an earlier stage, contribute to social inclusion. Vocational guidance and employment services can often be improved to match people with training opportunities and to get trained people into jobs. Specific and targeted policies are required to assist small enterprises in investing in the skills required.

The building blocks of any skills strategy must be solid foundation skills and stronger links between the worlds of education and work. This in turn requires good-quality education in childhood; good information on changes in demand for skills; education and training systems that are responsive to structural changes in economy and society; and recognition of skills and competencies, and their greater utilization in the workplace. To be effective, policy initiatives in these areas will also need to be closely linked with economic and social policy agendas.

3.5 Bibliography

  • G20: A Skilled Workforce for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth (A G20 Training Strategy). International Labour Office, Geneva, November 2011
  • OECD Reviews of Vocational education and Training. Learning for Jobs (Pointers for Policy Development), May 2011
  • Bednarik, Rastislav: Kvalita pracovnych miest (1. etapa: Politiky trhu prace na podporu kvality pracovnych miest). Bratislava, december 2011 (in Slovak only)
  • Bellan, Pavol: Kvalifikacne naroky zelenej zamestnanosti v kontexte trhu prace SR (Vyskumna uloha VU2155). Bratislava, december 2011 (in Slovak only)


<– Chapter 2 Table of contents  Chapter 4 –>


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