The issues of initial and continuous vocational education and training in the TCLF sectors, as well as the prospects of these sectors until 2030 and the attraction of young people in the related professions are examined and evaluated by the S4TCLF project (www.s4tclfblueprint.eu), which is implemented in the framework of the ERASMUS+ program. The project is led by the European industrial bodies Eurarex, CEC and Cotance.
Rapid changes in the international environment are forcing companies to constantly update their strategy, renew their equipment and train their staff in order to remain competitive.
In the TCLF sectors in Greece, it is estimated that 12% of the employees will need to be trained in the four coming years (2022 – 2025). In addition, by 2030 at least 4,000 people will be retired and will have to be replaced.
As a conclusion, about 3,500 employees will have to be trained in the TCLF sectors and 4,000 new entrants to the labor market will have to be trained.
A. COOPERATION DEVELOPMENT ACTIONS FOR THE INITIAL AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING OF TCLF SECTORS WITH THE SOCIAL PARTNERS IN GREECE
(1) ESTABLISHMENT OF A SKILLS COUNCIL FOR THE TEXTILES, CLOTHING, LEATHER AND FOOTWEAR SECTORS
The Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), the Greek Fashion Industry Association (SEPEE), the Greek Clothing Industry Association (HCIA), and the Hellenic Association of Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters (ELSEVIE) established a Sectoral Skills Council for the Textiles, Clothing, Footwear and Leather sectors.
They utilized the institutional framework formed by the enactment of Law 4763/20 and proposed in June 2021 the establishment of the Sectoral Skills Council of TCLF, in accordance with Article 5, §4. They requested (according to Article 8, §2 of Law 4763/20) the issuance of the relevant decision by the Ministry of Education following the recommendation of the Central Council of Vocational Education and Training.
The four partner organisations expressed their strong concern about the important difficulties faced by TCLF industries regarding the identification of properly trained human resources. The skills gap observed in the labour market is one of the biggest challenges facing TCLF companies today.
They estimate that the Skills Council will make a decisive contribution to bridging the gap between initial and continuous vocational education and training systems and companies in terms of skills development, production needs analysis, modern skills and curriculum information in all education and training levels. They also expect the establishment of cooperation with all relevant institutions and social partners on issues such as work-based learning (apprenticeship, internship), training of teachers and trainers, professional profiles, certification of qualifications, etc.
The above-mentioned organisations stated their intention to proceed with educational, research and scientific cooperation in order to monitor, record and promote on a continuous and evolving basis, the requirements in terms of human resources of the entire value chain (agriculture, processing, distribution, promotion and sale of products).
The Sectoral Skills Council with the active support of all actors in the industry, aims to have an institutionally recognized role in the governance system of Vocational Education and Training, with the aim of promoting policies oriented to the needs of the sectoral labor market. The main responsibilities of the Skills Council include:
- The submission of opinions, suggestions and proposals of sectoral interest to the Central Council of Vocational Education and Training and to the Regional Councils related with production and the Labour Market.
- The review of existing and the elaboration of new professional profiles for the sector.
- The development of a skills strategy for the industry.
- The promotion of work-based learning (apprenticeship, internship, work experience) and the upgrading of its content.
- The elaboration of programs, training programs and certification schemes for professions and specialties of special sectoral interest.
- The organization of information and awareness actions to promote employment in the industry.
- The provision of documented information on the labour market of the industry.
- The provision of support, guidance and training services to companies in the industry for the development of coaching, mentoring skills of their staff in the context of hosting apprentices and trainees.
- The organization and participation in networking, collaboration and dialogue activities on skills development issues, at national and international level.
- The promotion and expansion of the cooperation with the HEIs (promotion of the institution of the Industrial Doctorates in subjects concerning the sector, facilitation of the internship, promotion of the business education).
- The elaboration of sectoral studies on issues related to education and training, as well as the conduct of field research in the companies of the sector for the recording of needs in specialties / skills.
(2) COOPERATION-PARTNERSHIP WITH THE LABOUR INSTITUTE OF THE GREEK TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION
The three main industrial organizations representing TCLF industries, i.e. SEPEE, HCIA and ELSEVIE, are implementing in cooperation with the Labour Institute of GSEE an education and internship program in TCLF companies for 6 specialties within 2022 for 2,000 unemployed women.
These specialties cover important sectoral needs and focus on:
a) Executives of design and development of new clothing products with emphasis on sustainability.
b) Footwear Design & Prototype Construction and Collection.
c) Garment Design & Prototype Construction and Collection.
d) Sales personnel of retail clothing-footwear stores in the new digital environment.
e) E-commerce and e-shops support executives.
f) Export trade executives for the Fashion industries.
(3) PREPARATION OF PROPOSALS FOR SUPPORT OF RETAIL ENTERPRISES FOCUSING ON EDUCATION AND CONSULTING IN COLLABORATION WITH THE NATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF TRADE ESEE
Since June 2021, the TCLF Sectoral Organizations (HCIA, SEPEE and ELSEVIE) are in contact with the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) and are studying the possibility of collaborations both in terms of the implementation of a training program for employees and entrepreneurs in the new digital environment and the implementation of a center of excellence for digital technologies in retail, pilot application in the Fashion branches.
B. COMMUNICATION ACTIVITIES
The sectoral organizations have been intensively active during the first half of 2021 and have tried to promote the whole issue of skills shortage that the TCLF sectors face, and also to gradually inform the general public about the professions in the TCLF sectors and their prospects. Within 2021, the following activities were implemented:
- Organization of contacts with the political leaderships of the Ministry of Education for vocational training and lifelong learning where the issue of development of new standards for the establishment of new TCLF-related Institutes of Vocational Training (IEK) was raised. A first result is the decision by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education for vocational education and lifelong learning and the announcement of the creation of a specialized IEK in Thrace for the silk sector.
- Within the framework of the sector council, the processing of the data and the study for the design of a new standard system of vocational education for the sectors will be initiated before the end of 2021, based on the new data and perspectives.
- Monitoring of industry data and information on social media and the Athens Fashion Trade Show.
- Design and production of informative printed material for young people about the 101 professions in the TCLF branches.
- Designing a communication program with educational institutions and schools for the presentation of the sector and the work done in the various programs. In this context, the possibility of organizing student visits to selected companies is also examined (with the limitations of the epidemic).
- Planning the organization of communication and partnership with other social partners on the issue of education and training in TCLF and evaluation of the possibilities of synergy for this purpose at all levels.
- Mobilizing specialist scientists with experience in technical education issues to contribute to the plans for the reform and modernization of the vocational education and training system.
- Systematic presentation on the sites of the Associations and the information related to the education and especially the project https://s4tclfblueprint.eu/