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Conference builds common ground among EU member states on skills needed in the digital era

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
2.7.2019 8.07 | Published in English on 2.7.2019 at 10.34
News item

Development of digital technology will replace work, change work and create new work. On 3 July, Finland brings together experts from EU countries, universities and businesses to discuss what this means for skills, competence and workplace practices.

Debate about the future of working life often focuses on the opportunities and challenges created by new digital technologies. Less is said about what are the mechanisms through which these opportunities are realised, in different industries and workplaces, as new working practices.

Paving the way for the informal meeting of member states’ competitiveness ministers in Helsinki, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is organising a conference on Wednesday 3 July entitled ‘Enhancing Sustainable Growth: Skills and Smart Work Organisation in the Digital Era’. The invited guests include officials from member states and EU institutions who are responsible for employment and competitiveness matters, and other experts on working life.

The conference will include presentations and discussion about the impact of new technologies on business competitiveness, skills requirements, work organisation and equal treatment of workplaces. A key topic across the EU is how employers can best help their employees in skills development.

- By focusing on these matters we aim to arrive at a common position among member states about what are the aspects of working life that are most relevant to sustainable growth, says Senior Ministerial Adviser Kimmo Ruth.

One of the keynote speakers, and sure to inspire discussion, is children’s author and coder Linda Liukas. Other speakers include high-level officials from the employment ministries of Germany and Croatia, Director-General Timo Pesonen and Director for Skills Manuela Geleng from the European Commission, and employment and business researchers from various EU countries. The opening address will be delivered by Minister of Employment, Timo Harakka.

Skills, competence and the transformation of work: important themes for Finland's Presidency

In recent years, the EU’s employment policy debate has been dominated by the revolution in technologies, new forms of work, and the change in skills requirements arising from these. With the transformation of work and greater competition globally, the availability of skilled labour is a key question for Europe’s future. It is therefore natural that Finland’s Presidency should focus on investing in skills and competence.

This relates to both basic and specialist skills and competence. At EU level we talk about the importance of ‘reskilling’ and ‘upskilling’.

There are still considerable differences among member states when it comes to enhancing and developing skills, competence and employment practices.

This is why Finland’s Presidency Programme asserts that the EU needs a future-oriented, wide-ranging strategy for continuous learning that takes into account the transformation of work and digitalisation.

Kimmo Ruth, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 048 073
Sanni Sarelma, EU Assistant, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 160 225

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