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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
News article16 December 2021Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Commission mobilises the textile ecosystem to upskill and reskill workforce

Today, the textile, clothing, leather and footwear (TCLF) industry has launched a Pact for Skills Partnership, supported by the European Commission.

This is a strong and timely signal for the textile, clothing, leather and footwear industries to boost the sector's competitiveness. Supporting businesses and people in developing new and additional skills will make full use of the job potential in the digital and green transitions. This will be particularly important in the post-pandemic recovery phase given how severely the ecosystem was impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The initiative brings together industry associations, companies, trade unions, vocational education/training providers and regional authorities. Members committed to agree on specific objectives such as to increase the offer of apprenticeships in the sector by 20% and support 10,000 SMEs in their digitalisation efforts as well as supporting gender and age diversity, designing new educational processes to support the TCLF industry and other commitments for upskilling and reskilling the workforce in the coming years.

Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “Small businesses in the textiles ecosystem often struggle to attract and retain a talented and skilled workforce, which is detrimental to their competitiveness. During the COVID-19 crisis, I also witnessed the resourcefulness and ingenuity of these companies. So this Pact comes at the right moment for Europe to remain home to strong brands, creativity, know-how and quality product”. Commissioner for Jobs and Social rights, Nicolas Schmit, said: “This new skills partnership in the textile industry will play a crucial role in responding to the needs of companies and workers. It will help them adapt to the fast-changing manufacturing requirements and help workers meet the labour and skills demand in this ecosystem”. 

The EU Pact for Skills is one of the flagship initiatives under the European Skills Agenda. One year on from its launch, nearly 500 organisations have pledged to reskill more than 1.5 million people in Europe under the Pact. The initiative aims to mobilise resources and incentivise all relevant parties to take concrete action to upskill and reskill the workforce. It does this by pooling efforts and setting up partnerships to support the green and digital transitions as well as local and regional growth strategies.

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