Today, 6 April, the European Year of Skills in Latvia was launched at Kipsala International Exhibition Centre in the presence of Ms Zane Petre, Head of the European Commission (EC) Representation in Latvia, and Ms Dita Traidās, Director of the State Education Development Agency (VIAA). The launch took place during the closing ceremony of SkillsLatvia 2023, the national competition for young professionals organised by the VIAA.
Digital transformation processes and the pace of technological development affect almost every sector of the economy and require that workers' knowledge and skills match the needs of today's labour market. However, according to the EC, more than three quarters of companies in the EU report difficulties in finding employees with the skills they need, and the latest Eurostat figures show that only 37% of adults participate in regular training.
The EC has declared 2023 the European Year of Skills to ensure that skills match labour market demand, to match people's aspirations and skill sets with labour market opportunities, and to promote competitiveness, participation and talent development.
Ms. Zane Petre, Head of the EC Representation in Latvia: "2023 is a new impetus for our investment in skills. Europe now desperately needs to both tackle labour shortages and move forward rapidly with the green and digital transition. We need to strengthen our competitiveness in a wide range of sectors, and at the heart of this is more investment - specifically in new skills. We need to work to build synergies between business, labour, academia, local authorities and public institutions. We, the European Commission, call for all available support to be used to act quickly, rationally and in a targeted way. Funding for skills development or upgrading is available from a wide range of EU programmes and funding instruments such as the European Social Fund, the Recovery and Resilience Facility, Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe. Let's seize the opportunities to become more skilled and stronger together!"
Labour market studies point to a growing demand for suitably qualified young professionals in a wide range of sectors, highlighting the importance of vocational education and its contribution to the sustainable development of the labour market. It is therefore significant that in Latvia the coordination of the European Year of Skills has been entrusted to the SEDA, which, alongside the implementation of other national, EU and foreign programmes and initiatives, also organises a national-level vocational skills competition for students of vocational education institutions SkillsLatvia, and implements measures to improve the professional competences of employed persons.
"Improving your knowledge and skills is important for everyone's personal and professional life today. To keep up with the times and be competitive in the labour market, you need to be open to new information and willing to learn more and more. Today, there are plenty of opportunities for everyone to develop their knowledge, skills and experience to a new level. That is why I encourage everyone to make the most of every opportunity to increase and continuously develop their professional value during the European Year of Skills," says Ms. Dita Traidās, Director of the EACEA.
The European Year of Skills will feature a wide range of thematic events and activities in Latvia. At the same time, anyone can submit their own European Year of Skills event to the common European Union calendar by filling in the online application form.