The European Commission’s Skills for Smart Industrial Specialisation and Digital Transformation report has featured Skillnet Ireland as an example of best practice. Skillnet Ireland was identified as one of two National Authorities throughout the European Union, and the only Irish organisation, to be used as a case study of how a national agency can support smart industrial specialisation, industry’s digital transformation and as well as the development of high-tech T-shaped skills that the Commission sees as vital to the Skills for Industry Strategy.
The research undertaken by PWC is part of the Commission’s Skills for Industry initiative and aims to develop a common vision on skills that will help cities, regions and EU Member States in designing and implementing policies to prepare effectively for the digital transformation of the economy.
The recent report advocates the development of more ‘industry-led training infrastructures’ where business leaders can drive and invest in the overall skills development of Europe’s workforce. This is necessary to ensure sufficient availability of talent to drive in-house innovation in businesses across Europe.
Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive Paul Healy said:
“We are delighted to be featured in the European Commission Skills for Smart Industrial Specialisation and Digital Transformation report. Skillnet Ireland’s mission aligns strongly with the EU’s 2030 High-Tech Skills Vision. This vision seeks to revolutionise the entire ecosystem of workforce planning, education and training provision for skills development by enabling industry-led responses to meet the new needs of both employers and employees in the future workplace.
Skillnet Ireland’s enterprise-led approach enables businesses of all sizes take the lead in addressing their skills priorities through forward-looking, dynamic, and agile upskilling initiatives. Supporting upskilling and reskilling for all is essential for Europe to make a success of the digital transformation the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings.”
The competitiveness of European industry is highly dependent on the knowledge, competencies and creativity of its workforce. Skills shortages and gaps combined with mismatches between labour supply and demand are increasing and likely to widen due to the major disruption the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings.
Facing the challenges of disruptive technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence, the report outlines how future professionals are likely to be increasingly creative, innovative and entrepreneurial, capable of building relationships, advancing research and strengthening their organisations as well as possessing high-tech skills. It highlights that in the coming years manual, low-skilled jobs, and jobs consisting of routine tasks will decline, while non-manual, and highly skilled jobs will increase.
“The agency (Skillnet Ireland) supports and funds the creation of sector-specific learning networks of firms, which eventually become self-sustaining through the active participation of the members and the founding industry association or steering group. This approach ensures that the programmes delivered by Skillnet are relevant for industry, while providing a flexible and informative model for member firms.”
Skills for Smart Industrial Specialisation and Digital Transformation
The report found that the approach of organisations like Skillnet Ireland is key to developing successful high-tech T-shaped skills initiatives, as they originate from an industry need. Skillnet Ireland provides the mechanism and funding for businesses to work together and develop new innovative programmes through its Innovation and Future Skills Programme. Skillnet Ireland’s work to support the enhancement of SME productivity was also recognised by the report.
“Skillnet Ireland works closely with 50 industry bodies and business leaders across the economy to support their readiness for digital transformation and capacity to innovate. We will continue to work closely with the government and industry to make sure that Ireland is ready for the future world of work and the augmentation of high-touch and high-tech skills to ensure readiness for the digital transformation.’’ Healy continued.
The report includes a series of recommendations to realise the EU 2030 High-Tech Skills Vision including the development of territorial re/upskilling strategies to strengthen the competitiveness of the industry and foster new jobs creation, dedicated funding mechanisms for these upskilling strategies that rely on both public and private sources, and developing new ways in which to support workers in their efforts to acquire new skills during their professional life.
Full report available here.