A group of public and private stakeholders in the European textile, clothing, leather and footwear industries has joined forces to create an EU-wide strategy to boost skills and attract new workers to the sector.
Led by European umbrella organisation Euratex, together with its counterparts Cotance (leather) and CEC (footwear), the four-year ‘Skills4Smart TCLF’ project aims to re-shape and update skills and education in these traditional industries. The 21 stakeholders include technical universities and companies.
During a recent two-day meeting in Brussels, the leading partners from nine EU countries (Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Greece, France, Poland and Bulgaria) participated in the launch meeting of the project, which is being co-funded by the European Commission under its Erasmus+ programme.
The consortium will combine its expertise to respond to growing demand for a talented and modernised workforce, while updating and reshaping the necessary curricula and vocational training programmes, testing and replicating them across Europe.
The goal is a network of education and training providers across Europe that can meet industry needs for digitalisation, sustainable economy, and technological innovation.
The project also expects to involve relevant European regions committed to supporting the growth and modernisation of the TCLF industries, which represent a combined annual turnover of over EUR200bn (US$247bn) and employ 2m people in the EU.
Above all, it is hoped ‘Smart4Skills TCLF’ will create a large community working to ensure workers in these sectors can be equipped with the latest and most advanced skills to help EU companies reach their maximum potential in a competitive and innovation-based world.