Skills Intelligence Publication

Basic skills, such as literacy, numeracy and digital skills, are the cornerstone for full participation in society and the labour market. Nevertheless, a significant number of adults in the EU do not possess a functional level of these skills and they risk getting stuck in a “low skills-poor jobs trap”.

The aim of the Council Recommendation on Upskilling Pathways is to address this risk, by providing adults with lower level of skills, knowledge or competence, such as adults with a qualification below the upper secondary level, with opportunities to develop basic skills and/or acquire a wider set of skills, relevant for active participation in society and the labour market. 

To reach the objectives set by the Recommendation, Member States were invited to offer personalised support to the target groups through an integrated pathway consisting of three steps – skills assessment, provision of tailored and flexible learning opportunities and validation and recognition – complemented by outreach, guidance and support measures.

The evaluation report and Staff Working Document, based on the available evidence, highlight an overall moderate impact of the Recommendation. In particular:

  • Relevant indicators show moderate positive trends
  • Implementation has been uneven across the Member States with measures often lacking scale and coordination
  • Some stakeholders view the Recommendation as a catalyst for renewed focus on support for adults to acquire basic skills as well as upskilling in general
  • The three step-approach is considered as a useful reference point
  • The objectives of the Recommendations are still relevant.

The evaluation, together with the increase of labour shortages and skills mismatches, clearly shows that the implementation of the Council Recommendation on Upskilling Pathways needs improvement. It is necessary to provide everyone with opportunities on the labour market and in society.

It is also necessary to fill the skills gaps on the labour market in order to drive forward the EU’s competitiveness and the green and digital transitions.