Employability—A Healthy Approach Against Unemployment

Skills, knowledge, and lifelong learning: Cedefop’s data-driven approach helps key decision makers make the right policies to provide the right skills and improve employability.

Youth unemployment is a complex phenomenon affecting millions of young Europeans, their families, and the future of Member States. The European Commission has launched a number of initiatives to reduce youth unemployment and help young people to integrate their skills into the job market. These include the Youth Guarantee and its Youth Employment Initiative. In June 2016, Commissioner Thyssen launched the New Skills Agenda to ensure that the right training, the right skills, and the right support are available to people in the European Union. The Skills Agenda aims at making better use of the existing skills of the workforce and equipping people with the new skills necessary to help them find quality jobs and improve their life chances. Member states and social partners, the industry and other stakeholders are working together to improve the quality and relevance of skills formation, make skills more visible and comparable, and improve skills intelligence and information for better career choices.

The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) was established in West Berlin in 1975 and transferred to Thessaloniki in 1995. The tripartite agency (governed by member states, employers, and trade unions) works at the interface between education and training and the world of work, supporting policy-makers in implementing relevant reforms. Through evidenced-based research, policy analysis, and various interactive activities in Thessaloniki and in member states, the agency builds bridges of cooperation and development in vocational education and training (VET) between training providers and social partners, particularly employers. Its web portal www.cedefop.europa.eu offers stakeholders the latest information and data on anticipation of skills supply and demand, VET qualifications, the validation of informal and non-formal education, apprenticeship programs, adult learning and social inclusion, and measures to reduce the number of early leavers from education and training. Cedefop’s goal is to empower policy-makers to reform education and training and to enable learners and workers of all ages to remain employable throughout their working life. Employability is the healthiest approach to unemployment. Improving the transition of youth into the labor market and enhancing the role education and employers can play is an ongoing task in today’s work environments.

All employment sectors fall under this mission. The health and social work sector, for instance, is no exception. Cedefop’s EU Skills Panorama portal (http://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en) is the EU’s central access point for information on trends for skills and jobs in Europe. For health and social work, for example, Cedefop’s Skills Panorama provides labor market and skills information on the sector’s activities, which include the provision of a wide range of health and social work activities such as healthcare provided by trained medical professionals in hospitals and other facilities, residential care activities that still involve a degree of healthcare activities, and social work activities without any involvement of healthcare professionals.

Eurostat statistics show that in 2015, human health and social work activities accounted for 5.93% of employment in Greece, compared to 10.85% in the EU. More specifically, in the same year in Greece, health professionals accounted for 2.91% of total employment (or 104,999), compared to 2.82% in the EU, and health associate professionals accounted for 1.85% (or 66,791) of total employment in Greece, compared to 2.77% in the EU.

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