High-level meeting with Commissioner Schmit on Skills for the Social Economy & Proximity Ecosystem #pact4skills

Last Friday 30 November,  the high-level roundtable on Skills for the Proximity and Social Economy Ecosystem took place, a meeting chaired by European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit (Jobs and Social Rights). 

Social Economy Europe was represented in the meeting by its Vice-President and ENSIE Director Patrizia Bussi. Commissioner Schmit asked a question on the future Pact for Skills and its capacity to support the upskilling and reskilling of the 13.6 million social economy employees, precisely on the current context of pandemic crisis and acceleration of the transformation of our economies. In reply, Ms. Bussi  proposed to launch -under the pact for Skills- a large-scale European public-private partnership for the upskilling and reskilling of social economy employees. This would enable joint efforts among social economy enterprises and organisations, as well as public authorities, academia and vocational training centres, currently working to upskill and reskill social economy employees. Moreover, it would create synergies and alliances among them and provide strategic orientations on mega trends to the social economy community and serve as a support center/help desk for all the funds available: to raise awareness among social economy actors on the funds and how to access the at local/national level.

SEE Vice-President also raised the following issues: 

1) The inter-sectorial nature of the Social Economy should be considered, as a business model present in sectors such as industry, social services and social protection, social inclusion, education, retail, renewable energies production, automotive, banking, agriculture, technology.

2) Social Economy stakeholders should be involved in the design and implementation of the skilling agenda for and with proximity and social economy organisations. 

3) Extra attention should be devoted to reinvestment of profits into the reskilling and upskilling of employees, as a key characteristic of social economy business models. 

4) Attention should be devoted to providing the right skills for youth and women, also employees, to become social economy entrepreneurs or social intrapreneurs. With the right training for employees, social economy has the potential to save enterprises and jobs jeopardized by the current crisis through the transfer of enterprises to their employees under a social economy form (cooperative, labour society etc.). 

5) In many social economy enterprises, the employees are also co-owners of the company, at the same time most social economy companies include their employees in their governance/decision-making process, so additional skills are needed to correctly fulfil both roles. 

6) Attention should be paid to the role of work integration social enterprises which offer job opportunities, education, reskilling and upskilling to individuals at risk of social exclusion.

Social Economy Europe will join and closely follow the Pact for Skills, that will be launched on November 10, during the European Vocational Skills Week 2020, and calls on the European Commission and Member States to mobilise funding for the upskilling and reskilling of social economy employees. 

Many SEE partners such as Iñigo Albizuri (Director of Public Affairs of Mondragon Corporation and President of CICOPA), Michal Len (Director of RREUSE), Suzanne Wisse Huisken (Chief Executive of EUCLID Network), Manu Ayerdi (Regional Minister for Economic and Enterprise Development of the Government of Navarra) and Mario Calderini (Director of Tiresa Reesearch Centre on Social Innovation at Politectic University of Milano), also participated in the meeting that was moderated by the Commission’s Special Adviser on Social Economy, Nicolas Hazard

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