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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Innovation amid the crisis, 01, 2009

Today:
  1. EU launches ‘new skills for new jobs’ initiative
  2. Parliament focuses on teaching quality in education reform
  3. European Year of Creativity and Innovation launched

EU launches ‘new skills for new jobs’ initiative

17 December 2008

As Europe moves towards a more services-oriented economy focused on ICT and 'green' technologies, its workforce needs to adapt to new requirements and develop new skills, the European Commission argues.

Around 20 million new jobs could be created in the EU 25 by 2020, according to a study presented by the Commission yesterday (16 December). Almost three quarters of these will be in the services sector, the study forecasts.

The best prospects are expected to be in the services market, including the information technology (IT), insurance and consulting sectors, as well as in health care, social work, hotels and catering. On the other hand, sectors like construction could lose 2.9 million jobs, the report says.

As the EU shifts towards a knowledge-based economy, the number of jobs requiring a high level of education will rise from 25% to 31%, the Commission forecasts.

Presenting the EU executive's "New skills for new jobs" initiativeexternal , Employment Commissioner Vladimír Špidla and Education and Training Commissioner Ján Figel' said in a joint statement: "It makes no sense in these difficult economic times to see unemployment rising but job vacancies still not being filled. We must ensure a better match between the skills that workers have and the jobs that are available."

Soft skills, such as problem-solving, analytical, self-management and communication skills, but also language skills, digital competences and the ability to work in a team will become more important, according to the Commission.

Furthermore, the EU executive wants to increase cooperation with third countries, notably the US, China, Canada and India, as well as with international organisations such as the OECD.

Another key challenge will be the demographic factor of the ageing population, the EU executive said. source

My comment: It's obviously wrong to have unemployed people and empty job positions. But in the end, how many employers would happily hire an "ageing" person? Especially if she's a female. I think that the EC again is underestimating the problem. Not to mention the jobs they are promoting- insurers and consultants? Are they serious to believe that the outcome of the financial collapse will lead to more useless personal?! That's absurd. Instead they should promote full requalification to the so called green industry- it lacks skilled and educated workers to an amazing extent. We need to make sure that Europe will be a technological leader and not just the next consumers society as this model proved to be not working- check USA and UK for an example. We must not fall into that!

Parliament focuses on teaching quality in education reform

19 December 2008

Life-long learning and promoting new skills such as media and ICT literacy will be key if Europe is to become a world leader in education and training by 2010, argues a European Parliament report approved yesterday (18 December).

In a set of non-binding recommendations, MEPs argued that teachers and the elderly in particular should be trained in new skills needed for the future labour market. While teachers' role is crucial in preparing future generations for the jobs market, older people have to be able to compete with younger colleagues, especially in times of global economic downturn, which usually significantly increase unemployment, MEPs argued.

The quality of teaching and teachers also featured prominently in the Commission's new skills initiative, which is based on the assumption that the labour market will drastically change by 2020.

Learning foreign languages and teaching entrepreneurship were other key issues highlighted by the Parliament in its report. But they also stressed the need for creativity and innovation to make Europe a world leader in education. Innovation and creativity will also be the theme of the 'European Year' in 2009. source

My comment: Somebody should tell those people that a society of entrepreneurs cannot really function. Because it seems to me that they are simply dreaming of a way to make all the people some kind of tycoon. Well, it's not working like this. Someone has to produce in order to have what to sell. And Europe doesn't have researchers, it doesn't have people in the middle that search for new profitable products and finance them, it doesn't have educated people trained to create products. In any case, I'm sure they will understand it sooner or later. Otherwise, China will simply take us over. And education is really important. They only missed the biggest problem- the lack of respect toward the teachers. Parents cannot and shouldnot control teachers about the way they are working as long as they are not hurting the children. However, there was an article about an english teacher fired after she told the kids there is no Santa Claus. Hello?!

European Year of Creativity and Innovation launched

9 January 2009

As the economic crisis continues to get worse, creativity and innovation are key to strengthening Europe's competitiveness and must remain on the EU agenda beyond the current European Year, leading EU politicians stressed at the its launch event in Prague this week. With additional reporting from EurActiv Czech Republic.

"I believe the 2009 Year of Creativity and Innovation will represent a source of inspiration. It should grow into a big tree and not only be a one-year plant," said Education Commissioner Ján Figel'.

The EU should use the current economic crisis to develop strategic goals both at European and national level and improve conditions for creativity and innovation, the commissioner declared.

"There has never been better time for Europe to be flexible," he insisted. Those who invest in creativity and innovation will be more competitive than those who do not, Figel added.

"Innovation can provide good tools to overcome environmental challenges," said Nokia's Executive Vice-Chairman Esko Aho, a former prime minister of Finland who is chairing the ambassadors' group.

Aho urged EU governments to refrain from cutting R&D budgets at times of crisis to provide short-term solutions, stressing that doing so would be a "great mistake".

Citing Finland as an example, Aho noted that in the early 1990s when he was the country's prime minister, he had to take tough decisions to reverse dramatic negative growth of 7%.

But looking back, he admitted that reforms would not have been taken without crises. "Crises make good circumstances to move on," said Aho, expressing hope that Europe would seize the opportunity presented by the current tumoil. source

My comment: Good news, but so what. It will matter only when it's backed by firm policies and firm funding. All the words of the world cannot change a single event. Only actions matter. And I hope that Europe won't fall for the good publicity of the US model and we'll take only its best features, not also the worst.

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