‘Social skills cannot be updated’, Commissioner Tibor Navracsics lead with in his opening speech. The quote proved to set the tone for the forum about to commence in Brussels.
From 20-21 October 2016 the European Commission held its fifth annual European Education, Training and Youth Forum (EETY) convening over 400 stakeholders in the field of education and the labour market. Lóa Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir and Eva Zandonella took part in the conference on behalf of EuroClio to discuss the New Skills Agenda for Europe and possible synergies resulting from a closer cooperation between education and the labour market.
During the two day conference EuroClio welcomed the emphasis many policy makers placed on the vital importance of social skills as both soft and hard skills are crucial for citizens to take active part in society. In paraphrasing Tibor Navracsics, in particular social skills have to be acquired at an early state, as they cannot be easily updated at a later stage in life. Skills such as creativity, problem solving or critical thinking prepare people for life as well as work, opening possibilities for more intense cooperation with and support from stakeholders in the labour market.
However, EuroClio is concerned with a commodification of competences as much weight is still placed on the economic aspect of skills such as increasing employability resulting from their acquisition.