Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Roundtable meeting in Bilbao, Spain

GAIA and the Faculty of Engineering of Deusto University carried out a round table meeting in Bilbao, Spain, on March 30th, 2011. People from different sectors attended the meeting: Education, ICT, Energy, Consultants and Human Resources Managers.

The meeting had the valuable participation of one of the members of the expert group who prepared the report “New Skills for New Jobs: Action Now” for the European Commission, on February 2010, Professor Julia González, Vice-Rector for International Relations of Deusto Univerysity and General Coordinator of the Project Tuning Educational Structures in Europe.

Prof. González explained the importance of the policy initiative developed at EU level to build stronger bridges between the world of education and training and the world of work. After Prof. Gonzalez’s participation, Ligia Whyte, from GAIA presented the PIN Project, its background, and the e-Jobs-Observatory Platform.

Once the participants had a better picture of the current situation in Europe regarding education, training, e-skills, profiles and jobs, three round tables were integrated to discuss the topics.

Current situation:

From the point of view of the “Education Sector”, it is needed an investment in “competences” in a massive and intelligent way, there must be adequate incentives for individuals and employers. Employers: invest in their personnel; individuals: incentives for education and learning. It is important to make closer the worlds of education, training and employment, create the proper group of competences and establish educational programs based on profiles. It is important to anticipate necessities, and be open to talent, in this sense; it was also mentioned the value of talent from immigrants in Europe, which is most of the times underestimated in the labor market, it would be a great advantage for Europe to manage the talent flow in an adequate way instead of limiting it. Europe doesn´t have the enough and high level competences needed to guarantee the appropriate future that is looking for, and it is urgently to act immediately.

From the point of view of “companies”, the near future will demand the profiles related to “internet”, they consider what is not related to internet, “it doesn´t exist”. The profiles with a great demand will be the ones related to telecommunication and information services for other companies or individuals. The IT sector is moving fast towards the “cloud computing”.

This group considers that the future will be a mixture of two important issues: ICT and Health. The future will be the meeting point of all the different existing sectors involving/supported by ICT. For this group, it is everyday more important the development of skills and competences to fulfill the requirements of their job positions.

It was detected how important is for big companies the university degree for their job positions; meanwhile, SMEs are fine with qualification of people from VET institutions. What is agreed by both parties is that people have proper technical education, but there is a lack of soft skills, which should/must be improved.

Regarding the sectors, professions and jobs of the future, it was defined:

Ø Sectors: Energy, Health, Robotics and Information.

Ø Professions: The ones related to: Search Engine Optimization, Marketing specialized in Internet, Internet Security, e-Content Development, Copy/Internet Journalist, Social Community Manager

As mentioned previously, poor development of “soft skills” is one of the most important issues faced by companies. People should be more flexible, creative, able to adapt to constant changes and positive attitude.

It was also detected the growing necessity for companies that employees be able to work in multidisciplinary fields. As an example, it was mentioned how many times lawyers are not able to manage properly the basic ICT tools necessary for daily tasks. In the same way, how employees working in the field of e-content development don’t have the proper knowledge of law to avoid any legal inconvenience for the company.

Participants representing companies, considering the issue of “soft skills”, mentioned that a way of improving this situation, educational organizations should encourage their pupils to think in a global way, in order to be more flexible to changes, to adapt easier to them. Implementing team work, and also encourage them to get practices by their own, instead that schools find a place for their practices.

Conclusions:

Ø Europe doesn´t have proper and enough competences to guarantee a proper future; it is clear the importance and need to work and define competences.

Ø The sectors that will have more demand in the future will be: Energy, Health, Robotics and Information.

Ø The ICT sector is moving to the Cloud Computing.

Ø The professions for the future are the ones related to: Search Engine Optimization, Marketing specialized in Internet, Internet Security, e-Content Development, Copy/Internet Journalist, and Social Community Manager.

Ø The labor market needs people with strong soft skills and able to work in multidisciplinary fields.

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