2023 is the European Year of Skills! During this year, various entities including the European Commission, European Parliament, Member States, social partners, public and private employment services, and many more are collaborating to enhance skills development and offer citizens more opportunities to learn.
This initiative aims to improve people’s professional and personal opportunities and enable Europe to be more competitive by strengthening its workforce. In order to make sure that the green and digital transitions, as well as the economic recovery, are socially just, companies need workers with the right skills.
Young people are, again, at the heart of the EU’s policies and efforts, as they are the workforce of the future and those who can bring change in the job market, creating a more just environment, that puts mental health and quality of life at the heart of employment strategies.
The four primary objectives of the European Year of Skills are
- Promoting investment in training and upskilling,
- Ensuring that skills match the needs of employers,
- Aligning people’s aspirations and skill sets with opportunities on the job market, especially in the green and digital transition and the economic recovery, and
- Attracting skilled workers from outside the EU.
Here are some opportunities in your country to improve your skills!
Innovative Tourism and Technology Development
If you’re thinking of creating a start-up or looking to develop skills for a career in tourism or technology, the EU4Business Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia project offers a number of opportunities to develop your skills, through advice, events and networking opportunities, as well as grant schemes to back up your business idea. Check out the project’s opportunities in innovative tourism development and technology innovation and development.
Collaborate for Impact
The EU-funded, Collaborate for Impact project aims to develop social entrepreneurship and social investment in the Eastern Partnership countries. In Azerbaijan it partners with the Education HUB to increase awareness and collaboration among social enterprises and civil society organisations and provide access to non-financial resources, education and mentoring programmes, as well as social innovation competition events to promote new social business models. Check out the Education HUB website and Facebook page for news and opportunities and visit the Collaborate for Impact website for success stories and podcasts from Azerbaijan.
If you are working in the fields of society, culture, business, education, health, or sustainable development, you can participate in the MOST+ project (EU4Belarus: Mobility Programme for targeted people-to-people contacts) – an EU-funded programme for professional exchanges between Belarusians and their EU counterparts. The programme is open to Belarussian professionals over the age of 18, whether living in Belarus or abroad. Applications will be accepted without interruption until 3 June 2024. Check out the project’s website and its FAQs for further details, and their Facebook page for latest opportunities.
Local Hubs for Skills Development
These centres operate in four regions of Georgia – Adjara, Guria, Kvemo Kartli, and Shida Karltli – as part of the Local Investments in Networks for Knowledge and Skill-share (LINKS) project funded by the European Union. The centres offer young people aged 15-29 the following activities to develop market-relevant skills and competences:
- Development of key competences
- Digital and computer literacy
- Citizenship education
- English language courses
- Key entrepreneurial competences
- Access to lifelong learning resources
- Career guidance sessions
- Professional secondments for selected candidates
- Access to skills/vacancy management portal
- Funding of social and socially responsible start-ups
Full details of the centres in Adjara, Guria, Kvemo Kartli, and Shida Karltli: https://www.una.ge/Employment_centers
Look out for opportunities on the UNA Georgia Facebook page.
Erasmus+ supports work placements and internships abroad for Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral students, as well as recent graduates (within one year of your graduation). But your traineeship must be relevant to your degree and, wherever possible, be integrated in your study programme, so check the opportunities with your university. Work placements can last between two and twelve months, and Erasmus+ grants are available to cover your costs.
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs
Young Ukrainian entrepreneurs can join the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme, open to anyone who plans to set up a business or has started one within the last three years. The programme matches up young entrepreneurs with experienced small businesses in another European country for a placement of up to six months, helping the new entrepreneur acquire the skills needed to run a small firm. The EU covers 75% of the costs of the exchange, with 25% of the costs borne by the entrepreneur. Click here for the contact points in Ukraine.
LINK TO ALL EXPLAINERS ON THE WEBSITE: note – we need to have a QR version to add to the printed magazine edition.
And youth from all countries (EU, UK and Eastern Partner countries) can develop your skills while being part of the YEAs network!
Young European Ambassadors
The Young European Ambassadors (YEAs) initiative is a non-political, voluntary, vibrant communication network connecting young people from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and the EU Member States and the United Kingdom. The aim of the network is to raise awareness about the EU’s cooperation with its Eastern partner countries, showcase the tangible results of this cooperation, and contribute to policy dialogue on various topics.
Through participation in the network, YEAs learn important new skills, improving their competences in the fields of teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, and communication – essential soft skills for future careers! There are currently more than 960 active YEAs representing over 34 different nationalities. The network is open to young people aged between 16 and 26, interested in public diplomacy and outreach activities. Applications take place every year, usually in the autumn.