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Building Automotive Skills for the Future
On 26 February, the European Automotive Skills Council held its final conference at the European Economic and Social Committee, where European policymakers, industry and social dialogue stakeholders gathered to discuss the critical skills challenges confronting the automotive sector.
23% of the European automotive workforce are near or at the point of retirement and less than a quarter of employees are female. These demographic trends, coupled with the digitalisation of the industry, reflect the significant skills challenges that the European automotive sector faces.
These are key issues addressed by the European Automotive Skills Council (EASC), following more than a year’s work of research and dialogue with a wide variety of industry partners.
Growing from a core group of five to 13 members from across more than a dozen EU Member States, the EASC was created to serve as a framework platform for identifying skills challenges and drawing up solutions for the automotive sector.
The EASC’s work is also supported by the GEAR2030 stakeholder initiative which seeks to maintain and promote the technological leadership of the European automotive industry by sustainably furthering competitiveness around a high value added model.
The final conference offered industry insights of how to meet these challenges and to maintain and build upon the necessary skills, knowledge and best practices that will ensure Europe will remain a world leader in automotive innovation and excellence.
“Digitalisation is a universal trend and a key challenge for the automotive industry. We need to make sure that we’re building the knowledge and skills today for the jobs of tomorrow. This requires a flexible and adaptable skills training framework that both trains young people for work in the industry and educates the existing workforce to incorporate these changes positively”, said Paul Schockmel, CLEPA CEO.
The European automotive industry faces a number of other challenges which will impact its future in the long term: the increasing importance of certain drivers of change and their impact on skills and qualifications, including: advanced materials, advanced manufacturing, complex and global supply chains, life cycle design and pollution prevention, active safety, automated driving and connectivity along with decarbonisation, electrification and hybridisation.
These challenges cannot be faced alone. "The EASC and other stakeholders - national authorities, educational institutions and the business - have demonstrated the need to work harder today to adapt industrial and employment strategies, which build on the specificities of national education systems to anticipate and match the skills needs of the industry and to counter the effects of the broader demographic trends in Europe." said Ms Cinaralp, Secretary General of ETRMA.
“We are very happy with the outcome of this Automotive Skills Council. It has laid the foundations for a coordinated approach of the skills challenge in this backbone of the manufacturing industry. Information was shared, good practices exchanged, scenarios for the future designed. But the work has only started and this positive collaboration between the stakeholders of the industry needs to be continued”, concluded Ulrich Eckelmann, General Secretary, IndustriAll European Trade Union.