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Identification of future skills needs in micro and craft(-type-)enterprises up to 2020 - completed successfully

In the European Economic Area, micro and craft enterprises are an important pillar of the economic structure and development. Their significance for the labour market stems from supplying workplaces for some 38 million people. In recent years micro and craft(-type-) enterprises are confronted with considerable challenges, including lack of skilled labour, recruiting difficulties, lacking attractiveness for young people, sustaining the employability of elder staff members.

The project for DG Enterprise is focusing on the identification of current and future skills needs in micro and craft enterprises. The overall objective of the project is to gather prognostic information about the main drivers of change, content of skills needs and methods of acquisition of the skills needs. Currently we don’t have sufficient and detailed knowledge about the situation in Europe. The project should be seen in the context of the European discussion in the field of developing a modern SME policy and initiatives in the field “New Skills for New Jobs”. The Commission is expecting the following project results:

-identification of good practice with regard to skill development and LLL in micro and craft

(-type-)enterprises and anticipation of skill needs

-an in-depth analysis of recruitment difficulties as perceived by employers

-proposing ways to overcome existing or arising skill gaps and ways to better match labour market demand and skills supply

-presenting recommendations for action at different levels(national VET system, policy ,and employers’ organizations)

Eight members of the European union are going to take part in the project :Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Poland and The United Kingdom. The research project will focus on three economic sectors( interior construction, food processing, health care and household oriented services) which were chosen in consultation with DG ENTR in order to cover a broad range of occupational profiles, skills and qualification contexts of micro and craft(-type-)enterprises in Europe. A questionnaire survey amongst micro and craft enterprises will be carried out in the eight countries and the three sectors. The survey will not only address enterprises in the eight countries but also training providers and employee representing institutions.

A comparative evaluation report focusing on results of the EU level analyses and results of national project work will be the main outcome of the project. This information is necessary for future oriented policies defining and validating skills, knowledge and competences and implementing them in curricula, training regulations, qualification standards as well as using them for vocational guidance. The study on the one hand tries to create an evidence-based description of skills needs and training possibilities. On the other hand it tries to describe the methods to capture skills needs, to develop relevant training offers and finally to match skills needs with training supply. The early identification of skills can greatly help training systems become more future-oriented and prevent or lessen future skills mismatches on the labour market.