Commissioners Schmit and Breton host Pact for Skills roundtable with industry and other stakeholders’ representatives from the retail ecosystem

Yesterday, Commissioners Schmit and Breton hosted a high-level roundtable on the Pact for Skills with the retail ecosystem. This is part of a series of sectoral roundtables to foster stakeholder involvement under the Pact for Skills. Announced under the European Skills Agenda adopted by the Commission on 1 July 2020, the Pact was launched on 10 November. The objective of the Pact is to mobilise all relevant actors – industrial, social, regional and education partners – to assist businesses in developing the right skill-set for their employees to ensure a sustainable, social and resilient recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Skills Partnerships established under the Pact will benefit from support services for networking, expertise and guidance, including information on EU funding opportunities. Retail and wholesale have been identified as an important industrial ecosystem that could form a large-scale skills partnership under the Pact because of the severe consequences the pandemic had on these sectors, the impact of the digital transition on the evolution of the ecosystem. There are already good examples of successful initiatives on skills implemented by the industrial players, such as an EU-funded exchange programme of French vocational high schools with other European schools and a big furniture retailer. Upskilling (improving existing skills) and reskilling (training in new skills) are important drivers for the recovery from the pandemic and for the long-term restructuring of the sector. The meeting showed a strong engagement from all parties to work together to ensure the reskilling and upskilling of employees in the retail ecosystem. Participants underlined the importance of the retail sector in local economies, as it provides jobs in the community. They also highlighted how technology is transforming the sector and requiring workers to continuously upskill and reskill.