A skills ecosystem as an engine for regional economic development
Regional economic development is increasingly a matter of smart specialisation (see further on in this newsletter for an example from Wallonia). New smart specialisation strategies take as their starting point a mission-oriented approach, explicitly aimed at contributing to major social transitions such as climate, energy, digital transformation, social inclusion, etc. Smart specialisation strategies play a role here as an all-encompassing and binding element across funds and policy instruments.
New technologies, research and development, and entrepreneurship are the traditional ingredients for an innovation strategy. Without employees with the right skills, however, such a strategy simply cannot take shape. Skills development must therefore be part of the strategy, particularly in vocational education and training (VET). After all, innovation is not just about high technology, it is also about well-trained professionals who can apply new technologies in a solution-oriented manner. In the context of innovation, the focus is traditionally on higher education, but vocational education in secondary education and adult education, or the VDAB’s training courses or training courses within the sectors, also play a role.
A skills strategy brings together the worlds of economy and labour market on the one hand and education and training on the other around the challenges of your region. We align the strategies of all players in a dynamic ecosystem to match the supply and demand of skills and by so doing boost the development of your region.
It should also not be assumed that this ecosystem is a one-way street from education to the labour market. Exchange with companies (e.g. through dual learning) makes training more relevant to the needs of the regional labour market, and new knowledge from research and development leads to new teaching and education methods (e.g. the use of augmented reality to learn risky practices).