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Education and Training, New Job Skill needs and the Low-Skilled

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Competitive Europe through education evaluation

The link between economic productivity and skill acquisition has long since been understood. However, assessing the weaknesses in skill education requires the proper methodology that will ultimately result in effective policy changes.

Climate Change and Environment

Skilled labour is vital to making improvements for both industry and the national economy alike. With this in mind, EU-funded NEWSKILLS project sought to evaluate to what extent low-skilled or under-skilled labour within the EU influences productivity. It also sought to identify the greatest hurdles in the acquisition of necessary skills. Both personal attitudes such as social and communication skills as well as ineffectual incentives were found to be contributing factors. Upon these, and other observations, the study established several conclusions, focusing on recommendations, gender and age differences, unemployment barriers, the continuing fall in the demand for labour and policy failures. One recommendation the study made was that a life-long commitment to the acquisition of skills by employees should be matched by an equal commitment to flexible and appropriate programmes from the public sector and employers. Most importantly, certain policy failures are attributed to the continuation of low-skilled individuals entering the labour force - mostly due to the failings of schooling systems. Another policy failure is that of continued education for the elder working class. These have failed because most formal adult education systems replicate the schooling system, and thus remain unappealing. Therefore the study closely recommends that whatever "minimum education" platform is promoted, a "one size fits all" approach should be strongly avoided. Another recommendation, is that continued education programmes should not be exclusively modelled on a simple technical basis, i.e. the acquisition of skills. The study implies that a successful education programme would be modelled on the personal quest for meaning. Finally, the study concluded that many of the countries investigated were already involved in minimum education platforms and in one way or another, actively involved in these activities. In spite of this the incidence of low-skilled employees persists. Consequently, their employment prospects remain bleak, presenting a major obstacle to the economic prosperity of a developing Europe.

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