URBACT participating in Dublin CoR Event "Agenda for new skills and jobs"
26 February 2013
The Committee of the Regions (CoR) will be holding the second in a series of seven conferences debating the Europe 2020 flagship initiative "An Agenda for new skills and jobs" on 28 February and 1 March 2013. The event will discuss how local and regional authorities can help improve education and respond to the need for more flexible careers, making a valued contribution to Europe's growth strategy. URBACT - and the ESIMeC project - will be represented at this conference.
Committed to reaching an employment level of 75% by 2020, the EU is stepping up labour market reforms and joining forces to equip people with the right skills, attempting to improve working conditions and help create new jobs. Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, President of the Committee of the Regions, explains that "the involvement of local and regional authorities in Europe's fight against unemployment is a condition sine qua non. Regions and cities have a key role to play in revitalising our labour market and thus safeguarding the wellbeing of our future generations."

The first day of the CoR event introduces the flagship initiative and explores the context and the latest trends in EU employment and training policy, with strategists from the OECD and the European Commission and employment and skills practitioners from Italy, France, Ireland, Estonia and Belgium.

At the start of the second day Alison Partridge, coordinator of URBACT's More Jobs Better Cities URBACT capitalisation worksteam and Lead Expert of the ESIMeC project, participates in the networking session which focuses on "Shared Concerns; Joint solutions". She will share some of the findings of the capitalisation exercise in an interactive round table session which provides an opportunity for sharing experience and expertise on employment development and entrepreneurship programmes and exploring potential for joint working on these themes within future European Territorial Cooperation programmes.

The conference also features an exhibition of 18 local initiatives from ten different Member States and five European projects which showcase some of the actions taken by regions and cities to implement the flagship initiative. The projects presented include the URBACT ESIMeC project which brought together eight medium-sized European cities to explore how workforce development and demand-led skills provision can be the main drivers for a thriving local economy. Other featured projects include:
  • The Digital Skills Academy operating in Dublin and offering up-to-date higher education and training for jobs in the digital industries
  • A research platform on future skills located in the region of Flanders, Belgium, which works together with training institutions on regional labour market needs
  • The EUROlocal project in Sofia, Bulgaria, which brings together universities and the private sector in order to develop skills and jobs for the local biotechnology sector
  • The COPIE project, which brings together a "Community of Practice on Inclusive Entrepreneurship" from 13 different regions across Europe working on training and the development of inclusive enterprises.

The conference ends with a high level policy debate on how the "agenda for new skills and jobs" can contribute to a sustainable solution to the current jobs crisis across the EU. Conclusions will feed into the CoR's contribution to the mid-term evaluation of the Europe 2020 strategy and into the 2014 European Summit of Regions and Cities. The conference will focus on the main priorities of the flagship initiative: the reform of the labour market, the increase of the skill levels, job growth and job quality. The conference is a platform for gathering political input from the local level on the delivery of the flagship initiative, and for exchanging experience and good practice in training and employment strategies.

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