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European Year of Skills
News article16 May 2023Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion2 min read

The European Year of Skills: empowering Europe's workforce

On 9 May, Europe Day was extra special as it marked the beginning of the European Year of Skills. To celebrate the occasion, the Commission organised a European Year of Skills Festival which showcased inspiring stories about upskilling and reskilling

The European Year of Skills Festival kicked off a 1.5 hour tour of Europe, with stories and projects from various training providers, large and small businesses, and social partners committed to ensuring that Europe has the skilled workforce it needs. We also heard from workers who shared their training experiences and the benefits they brought.

“Investing and training is not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do! Our world is being transformed by technology and by the clean transition and this also creates new jobs and different ways of working that didn't exist even yesterday. A million new opportunities for people!” - President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen

President von der Leyen emphasised the importance of professional skills in the changing labour market, as she opened the Festival. The European Year of Skills marks a crucial moment for Europe, and she stressed that today’s investments in skills will secure the job opportunities of the future.

“You can have all the ideas, all the ambitions, all the money in the world. If you do not have skills, nothing will materialise”  - Executive Vice President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager

The Festival featured several success stories from all across Europe, including from SMEs, training providers, institutions and people who have benefitted from EU funding for upskilling and reskilling. The stories highlighted the role of EU initiatives such as the European Social Fund Plus, Erasmus+, Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), and the Pact for Skills in promoting skills development.

Vice President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, also underlined the importance of preparing not only for the digital and green transitions, but also addressing demographic challenges and labour shortages by investing in and attracting a skilled workforce: “For the first time, the discussion on skills needs to move from diagnostics to action and this is the moment! The European Year of Skills is a fantastic opportunity; a platform that allows us to bridge skills mismatches with the skills we need.”

Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, concluded the event and stressed that the goal of the Year was: “To motivate companies, motivate Member States, motivate regions, and motivate individual citizens, that skills are the new gold. The European Year of Skills should really amplify this message everywhere.”

Help us make the European Year of Skills a success. Add your events on the EYS map, share your skills story with us, and promote the Year using the hashtag and communication materials.  Let's all invest in skills for a better future!


Rewatch the event

© EU, 2023


Discover the European Year of Skills Festival and check out our media gallery.