POLICY MONITOR 2017: Employability and entrepreneurship

In the framework of globalization, skills and qualification have a strong relationship with employment. Specifically, digital skills are becoming more considered as an essential skill for a person to become highly employable, as well as, a successful entrepreneur. The use of electronic devices and facilities are applied in many sectors of society and economy. Therefore, those who are well equipped and have acquired at least the basic digital skills have an advantage on the job market.

Related to entrepreneurship, it is worth mentioning that only 37% of Europeans would like to be self-employed, compared to 51% of people in the US and China[1]. That reality mostly stems from the fact that Europeans are not well informed about the “entrepreneurship” concept.

Considering the above, I-LINC presents an overview on the important recent policies related to employability and entrepreneurship. By highlighted the important policies, the document aims to familiarize readers with EU level policies and strategies related to the above fields.

Realising the need to build a common understanding of entrepreneurship, as a competence, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission has developed EntreComp framework on behalf of the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL).

The framework consists of three main areas: "ideas and opportunities", "resources" and "into action".  Each of those areas encompass a number of competences that present the content of each area in a more detailed way. 

Aiming the strength of entrepreneurship as competence, EntreComp produce a common definition of entrepreneurship. This definition has as a result the creation of a framework that it is flexible and easily adapted to support different kind of contexts. EntreComp ambition is to create a link between the field of education and work/labour market, by creating a better understanding of entrepreneurship as a concept.

Having in mind that entrepreneurship is a transversal competence that enables a person to succeed in all spheres of life, EU has been aiming to boost entrepreneurship in Europe. Starting from the first reference to the importance of entrepreneurship in education in 2003 by the European Commission[2], entrepreneurship has been recognised as an essential competence necessary for all citizens over the years. Among other initiatives and strategies that took place at European level, the Entrepreneurship Action Plan 2020  aims to ensuring that being an entrepreneur will be an attractive prospect for Europeans.  

By aiming to strength Europe’s economy and increase the productivity and competitiveness, EU sets several targets in different fields at national and European level through the Europe 2020 strategy. Among others targets that have been set by the strategy, Europe 2020 aims to achieve a new goal in the field of employment;75% of people aged 20-64 to be in work.  

Member States and Eurostat, EU statistic office, support the strategy to succeed its targets. On one hand, EU Member States set national targets by reporting on EU as part of their annual national reform programmes. And on the other hand, Eurostat frequently publishes progress reports for all the targets. Overall, Europe 2020 works as a reference framework in all activities of the EU’s agenda.

Since, we are living in a digitalise society, digital skills are essential for work and employability. Europeans need to acquire new skills to actively participate in the current society and labour market. Therefore, considering also the Europe 2020 Strategy targets, Digital Competence Framework for Citizens, also known as DigComp, has been created, aiming to support those targets by improving Europeans citizen’s digital competences.

DigComp aims to improve citizen’s digital competences and support policy-makers, who are interested in supporting digital skills and design education and training initiatives to advance citizen’s digital competences. Furthermore, it is a useful tool as it develops a common definition of what is a digital competence, which could set as a basis for upcoming initiatives and projects in terms of digital skills.

The second update of the framework was in 2016, named DigComp2.0. It is worth mentioning that after the last update of the framework JRC will continue to monitor the implementation of the DigComp framework at regional and national levels, ensuring that remains current. The monitoring plan is between 2016-2018. 

[1] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52012DC0795&from=EN

[2] Green Paper on Entrepreneurship in Europe, http://ec.europa.eu/invest-inresearch/pdf/download_en/entrepreneurship_europe.pdf

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