A European skills strategy for the agri-food and forestry sectors – key challenges and prerequisites

Jacques Trienekens, Francesca Sanna, Patrizia Busato, Remigio Berruto


The Erasmus+ FIELDS project aims to contribute to skill enhancement of workers in the agriculture, food industry and forestry sectors, to be able to make full use of the opportunities and comply with requirements of the ‘’Twin’’ Green and Digital transition. The FIELDS project focuses on the domains Digitalization, Sustainability, Bio-Economy and Management & Entrepreneurship. Skills include ‘’hard’’/ measurable and technology based skills as well as ‘’soft’’ / transversal skills.
This paper reports on key challenges and prerequisites for the development of a European Agri-Food and Forestry Skills Strategy. Starting with the results of a European agri-food-forestry trend analysis and focus groups discussion on skill and training needs in 10 European countries, this paper presents the results of a follow-up survey among key stakeholders of the European skills ecosystem, including the following topics: prerequisites for the development of training programs, harmonization challenges in the European agri-food and forestry skills ecosystem, and monitoring and key performance indicators the European agri-food and forestry skills ecosystem.
The paper develops directions for a EU strategy on agri-food and forestry skills, including:
 In the development of training programs in Europe special attention should be paid to management/entrepreneurship and soft skills, the position of training in practice, possibilities for online training, and attention to underprivileged groups
 For the harmonization of the agri-food and forestry European skills ecosystem a common European catalogue and repository of training programs, linked to national systems, together with a system of micro credentials, is needed. This should be aligned with a harmonized certification system for VET courses/programs and VET providers. Agreement between public and private parties on the catalogue and certification system is essential.
 A supra-national institute should be responsible for design and maintenance of a monitoring infrastructure for skills. The system to be designed should be smart, user friendly, upgradeable and interoperable. The newly established Agri-food Pact for Skills can play a central role in the establishment and governance of an ‘’Agri-food Skills Observatory’’.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18461/pfsd.2022.2208

ISSN 2194-511X


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License