>Circular Economy project

>skills, innovation and training project


European Social Dialogue

The European social partner organisations at cross-industry level, ETUC[1], BusinessEurope, SGI Europe, SMEUnited, have resolved to continue their joint project activities and build upon the outcomes of the previous Integrated Projects. The Integrated Projects (IP) of the European Social Dialogue (EUSD) have provided the European social partners with an important tool to promote and reinforce the link between social dialogue at national and European level, as well as to address emerging issues which are of joint relevance.

In the past, the Integrated Projects have supported the implementation and follow-up of European social dialogue instruments and capacity-building of social partners, with activities which have been established as a cornerstone of how we can better link social dialogue at the European and national level.

In previous IP activities the European social partners have focused on themes for which they see an added value of jointly addressing through project work. In recent years such thematic focus has covered, among other issues, apprenticeships, the European Social Fund and employee training, and this joint project work forms an important part of the social partners’ contribution.

In this context, and more specifically in support if the implementation of their Work Programme 2019-2021, the European social partners seek to address the issues of circular economy and skills and innovation through this project.

[1]   ETUC – Eurocadres/CEC Liaison Committee

Circular Economy project

This project aims to fill the gap, by analysing, through first-hand experience, the impact of the transition to the circular economy on creation of jobs, changing jobs and tasks, both from the point of view of employers and workers. It will evaluate the impacts in the last years, as well as undertake a forecasting/analysis of expectations for the coming years.

It will also analyse the ways to respond to the changes and deal with the challenges of the transition in terms of skills updating, re-skilling and training of workers, and ensuring that, when people enter the labour market, they have the appropriate skills to take up the new job opportunities.

The project will also analyse the change in the organisation of work that the shift to a circular economy triggers and the impact of circular economy on potential occupational health and safety risks and opportunities for improvements.

The European Social Partners intend to organise three national joint cluster seminars, where possible including national sectoral federations, to discuss the impact of the circular economy transition on labour markets and working conditions, in their countries, to exchange good practices, including of effective public policies. Where possible, the results of the survey will be discussed. The approach will be to foster learning and understanding between countries and to raise awareness amongst employers, workers and their representatives, and other relevant stakeholders. National cluster seminars could also include company visits.

The cluster seminars will cover the 12 following countries: Spain, Czech Republic, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Slovenia and Greece.

Experts will be selected to conduct a survey with national/sectoral employer and trade union member federations and companies (management and worker representative) to get views on how the circular economy transition is impacting on their national labour market or on working conditions, including occupational health and safety. The survey will also aim to collect examples of good practices by social partners, companies and examples of effective public policies.

Cluster Seminar 1 – 29 October 2020, virtual
For Belgium – Czechia – Germany – Denmark
Cluster Seminar 2 – 28 January 2021, virtual
For Slovenia – Finland – Spain – Netherlands
Cluster Seminar 3 – 20 April 2021, virtual
For Italy – Poland – Greece – France
European Social Partners’ project on Circular Economy: Final conference
14 October 2021 – Hybrid
33 countries, including all EU Member States and candidate countries



Skills, innovation and training project

The European social partners have previously underlined the importance of innovation, skills, provision of and access to training as key factors in fostering productive enterprises and in creating and retaining jobs. Underpinning the need for action in this area are a number of labour market changes and trends that all EU member states are facing. Among these are the industry 4.0 revolution, digitalisation, social, demographic and environmental transitions, skill mismatches and global challenges. This includes the impact of “game changing technologies” (advanced industrial robotics, additive manufacturing, industrial internet of things, electric vehicles and industrial biotechnology) on how enterprises function and the role that training and its provision can play in adapting to and utilising these new technologies.

The project will focus on the following broad objectives:

  • Innovation and its link to the long-term skills strategy development of enterprises to meet changes;
  • The nature and extent of cooperation between enterprises, social partners, education and training providers and organisations that aim to foster research and innovation, with a focus on how to organise partnerships effectively so as to improve access to high quality and innovative employee training and to improve the relevance and updating of curricula ;
  • The different ways in which countries and enterprises provide and foster access to training, including through new approaches, such as digital learning, training entitlements, and the effectiveness of training in responding the changing needs of employers and workers;
  • The changing nature of work and training content in view of new trends and developments – the need to combine technical and soft skills.

Description of activities:

  • Mapping studies through desk research/surveys and gathering data on enterprises’ approaches to innovation and training in order to be innovative and how their skills development strategies will provide for and foster access to training to address these needs.
  • Conduct interviews among member organisations of social partners (including companies and company-level trade unions) seeking good cases and practices at company level, sectoral levels, national level, taking into account social partners’ agreements on innovation, skills, provision of and access to training, including the effectiveness of employee training in meeting changing needs of employers and workers and how social dialogue and the participation of workers in the innovative processes can contribute.
  • Three joint thematic seminars.
  • These seminars aim to identify different approaches to innovation, skills, provision of and access to training. The approach will be to foster learning between sectors and countries on the project objectives.
  • Produce a final report and policy recommendations using the outcome of the mapping study, the survey and interview outcomes, and 3 thematic seminars to identify a number of positive examples of an integrated approach to innovation, skills, provision of and access to training which could be promoted at EU level.
  • One joint conference at the end of the project to discuss main findings, disseminate report, and discuss possible following steps.


Seminar on “Provision of and access to training to support innovation: The role of social partners and collective bargaining” – 11 December 2020, virtual
Countries: all EU countries

  • Agenda
  • Presentations
Cluster Seminar on “Game changing technologies and innovative approaches to the identification of new skills” – 30 March 2021, virtual
all EU countries
  • Agenda
  • Presentations
Cluster Seminar on “Financial incentives for research and development and skills investments” – 11 June 2021, virtual
all EU countries
  • Agenda
  • Presentations
European Social Partners’ project on Skills, innovation and training: Final conference
18 November 2021 – Virtual
all EU countries