“Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills: towards an EU strategy addressing the skills needs of the steel sector”

Funding source: European Commission – Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME)

Programme: COSME – EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Background information:
The steel sector in the EU used to be at the forefront of the global scene in terms of global output and Europe is the largest steel importing economy worldwide. However, the balance is rapidly changing: competition is becoming fiercer and comes along with trade restrictions and unfair price practices. Additionally, a substantial number of workers is expected to leave the industry in the next years due to age, determining an expertise loss. Last, but not least, the sector faces several other challenges: over-production and excess-capacity, raising production costs against the backdrop of financial and economic crises, the need to meet sustainability and environmental standards, and the increasing importance of digital technologies and data analysis. All of this requires new skills and the understanding of the wider picture. However, younger skilled generations seem to be reluctant to take up careers in the steelmaking industry, which, in turn, causes lack of skilled workforce when employers look for new talents.
The EU Sector Skills Alliances aims at tackling skills gaps in key sectors of the European economy. Within this framework, our project and the Erasmus+ ESSA Project have been selected to address the key challenges facing the European steelmaking industry. The European Union is not about competing on cheap labour and low social standards. Therefore, actions are required to build and foster a competitive workforce characterised by innovation, quality and technology. This project will contribute to defining a strategy that can, on the one hand, improve the image of careers in the steelmaking industry and, on the other hand, address the skills needs that currently exist and that are expected in the future in the steel sector.

Objectives of the project:
With this project, we aim to contribute to the following aspects:
• raising awareness about careers in the steel sector and improving the industry’s image
• mitigating the effects of retirements and departures from the sector
• facilitating the match between market needs and the adequate workforce to foster innovations
• in the long term, improving the competitiveness of the EU steel industry

Operationally speaking, we aim to collect information about the skills needs of the present and the future in the steelmaking industry and understand the causes of skills gaps and mismatches. We will take into account existing policies, educational programmes and other measures to upskill and reskill workers in the steel sector to devise implementation roadmaps towards building the necessary skills for the EU steel industry and adapting the education and training offer for the sector. Based on our analysis, we will also carry out a communication campaign to raise awareness of career opportunities in the steel sector. We will analyse the situation in the European Union, but our focus is on seven key Member States: Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

Consortium Members:

  • Intrasoft International S.A. (Luxemburg)
  • White Research SPRL (Belgium)
  • RINA Consulting (Italy)