Rethinking employment and skills was a key theme discussed at this week’s 2019 EU Commission SME Assembly in Helsinki. Professor Thomas Cooney, Professor in Entrepreneurship at Technological University Dublin and Skillnet Ireland Board Member, represented Skillnet Ireland as one of three speakers who delved into tomorrow’s world of work and the impact it will have on the SME workforce.
The annual SME Assembly is the go-to event for SMEs in Europe and the organisations that support them. The 2019 SME Assembly is co-hosted by the Finnish Presidency. The theme of this year’s Assembly is ‘Discover. Explore. Create’ and its objective is to identify the most effective means of supporting SMEs in their transition towards sustainable growth. The two-day assembly is the flagship event during European SME week.
“Technology and digitalisation hold the key to unlocking the potential of SMEs. Digital transformation will disrupt jobs, some jobs will disappear entirely and that is already happening. However, it is also unlocking enormous potential within Irish businesses and that is creating new jobs, many of which don’t even exist today. Business leaders can prepare for this new world of work by actively engaging in the development of their teams.” said Professor Cooney.
Professor Cooney addressed the megatrends that are changing the nature of work and impacting the demand for upskilling solutions. He also provided insights into the challenges SMEs face in upskilling and reskilling their teams to contend with Industry 4.0. Professor Cooney concluded his talk by highlighting the Skillnet Ireland model and opened a discussion with the audience on how the model could be replicated in other EU Member States.