This is the question I think we have to answer honestly: Who is responsible for the skills and knowledge we need for the future? The employer? The education system? The state? Or ourselves? My opinion is that it is everyone’s responsibility how we approach our career, how much we invest in ourselves and how dynamic we are in our career development. I also believe that the negative effect of unemployment and the lack of skilled labour on our economy forces us to have a paradigm shift as a society. We should not focus so much on the individual when it is society that suffers the effects of having thousands of young people with degrees that the labour market does not need.
It is shocking to learn that the vast majority (over 60%) of teachers interviewed in Spain, Italy, Poland and Greece consider that the education system – for which they work – does not equip their students with the necessary skills to meet the challenges of the labour market and independent living. – data from Mentor 2.0 –
During the New Education Forum Brussels 2023, held this past 5th December, I had the opportunity to moderate the panel dedicated to Upskilling and Reskilling and their relationship with technologies. I find it difficult to think of approaches to the application of technology when the basic question, who should be responsible for the knowledge and skills we have, has no clear answer.
A young student, Dimitris, of Greek origin and student at Ecole européenne de Bruxelles III, remarked during this panel that he and his fellow students had very little idea about what the needs of the labour market, of employers, are. He also stated that most of the students he knows choose the university path. They ignore vocational training, not wanting to be aware that the need for skilled labour means that a welder is now better paid than a psychology graduate – not to be confused with career psychologists who have been running their own practices for years.
Teachers are aware and employers recognise that their involvement with the education system could be greater.
Why then do we do not find in the news information about the huge problem we are facing. 73% of employers in the EU have faced recruitment difficulties. Why then we are listening more about the IA threatening our jobs, than about the poor quality of the average education system and in consequence the labour market?
We leave education in the hands of politicians who use it for partisan purposes instead of worrying about and investing in the future of our youth and therefore of Europe. Let us as a society advocate clear and pragmatic rules for education and invest in ourselves. Cultivating ourselves is the best way to face the changes that are already coming.