Euratex explained it will collaborate with European Confederation of the Footwear Industry and Confederation of National Associations of Tanners and Dressers of the European Community to support the creation of regional partnerships in the area skills as part of the initiative.

This new SkillBridge project, supported by the  Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), is specifically aimed at helping develop action plans with regional authorities, local TCLF industry and education providers.

Euratex believes that these action plans should respond to the changing education and skill needs of the TCLF industry.

The initiative will offer a mobility scheme for regional stakeholders from the industry along with offering support for SMEs, to help them develop reskilling or upskilling initiatives in their companies.

Euratex director general, Dirk Vantyghem, commented: “Addressing the skills gap, and attracting young people with the right set of skills, is essential to strengthen the European textiles industry. We are grateful to the European Commission to offer the necessary support, and want to reach out especially to the regional authorities, to work together and design a skills strategy that works for its local TCLF industry.”

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This project comes less than a month after Euratex launched Aequalis-4-TCLF, an EU co-funded project also aimed at fostering upskilling and reskilling within the textile, clothing, leather and footwear sectors.

The Aequalis-4-TCLF initiative, developed under the Erasmus+ Programme in alignment with the EU Pact for Skills, brings together 19 partners predominantly from Eastern and Northern Europe. The group will work together for four years to empower workers in the TCLF domain through enhanced skill development.

Euratex shared that the TCLF SkillBridge project complements the MetaSkills and Aequalis projects, which have been launched earlier this year.

According to Euratex, these projects share the same objectives which have been established in the TCLF Pact for Skills, and thus contribute to addressing one of the most critical bottlenecks which is faced by the TCLF industry: the shortage of qualified labour.

Furthermore, these three projects will collectively allow Euratex and its partners to work with all relevant stakeholders spanning sectors across the EU and beyond.