BRUSSELS—A grouping of four European automotive value chain associations, including the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers' Association, have voiced their support for a skills agenda which was presented to the European Commission on July 1.
In a letter to Nicolas Schmit, European commissioner for jobs and social rights, the associations said the agenda was in line with a 25-point action list published by the four trade bodies in May for the smooth recovery of the automotive industry from COVID-induced slowdown.
"Skilling and up-skilling of the existing work force and bridging the skills gap between the needs of the industry and the training offer is of utmost importance at all levels of education," said the July 8 letter to Schmit.
The four associations said bringing in the new needed skills and retraining the current workforce were "two challenges which the sector cannot master alone."
"In this sense an initiative for a sectorial up- and re-skilling framework for the automotive value chain, maximizing industry competitiveness, job retention and new job opportunities would be welcome," they added.
In particular, the four associations said they supported "the road toward a skills pact," which they said will offer a "clear agenda" to the automotive industry to help boost the skills for a green and digital transition.
The industry, they said, "warmly welcomes the reference to the need to set up large-scale partnerships to work on priority areas within the framework of the (European Union's) Green Deal and the sector´s digital transition."
Any such initiative, the letter noted, should be based on the work and scope of DRIVES (development and research on innovative vocational educational skills project), which is an EU-funded project to deliver human capital solutions to the automotive value chain.
The letter also highlighted the importance of financial support in addressing the skills challenges in the industry.
"This would require the mobilization of existing and new large-scale public-private funds that will support re/upskilling acceleration," it said.
The associations called for a "rapid assessment" of all existing European funding to facilitate structural changes in the sector.
Other signatories to the letter included the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) and umbrella trade group CECRA.
Officially published July 8, the skills agenda sets ambitious objectives for adult learning across Europe by 2025. The targets include:
- 120 million adults in the EU should participate in learning every year;
- 14 million adults with low qualifications in the EU should participate in learning every year;
- 2 million job seekers or one in five should have a recent learning experience; and
- 230 million adults should have at least basic digital skills, which covers 70 percent of the adult population in the EU.