At a landmark conference in Brussels Framework Agreement on Education, Training and Lifelong Learning, which took place on Friday 15 April 2011, The European Chemical Employers Group (ECEG) and the European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers’ Federation (EMCEF) signed a ground-breaking agreement on job competences and training covering the chemical sector in all 27 European Union countries.
The agreement will see European take up of the Cogent Gold Standard, a competency framework for job roles in the process industries which sets the skills benchmark for world class performance. Cogent, the UK Skills Council for the chemical industry, developed the standard with cross-industry input.
The agreement the first of its type in the chemical industry and only the second across all European sectors related to training, education and lifelong learning – is a strong example of how the trade unions and employers in the chemical sector have worked to help businesses and workforces through the global economic crisis and build a platform for sustainable growth.
Future needs for good training and skilled employees in times of demographic changes and an ageing workforce was one of the drivers in the negotiation of this agreement. Anticipating demographic risks and preparing to tackle this challenge is a key issue for the future of a sustainable European chemical industry.
Reinhard Reibsch, Secretary General of EMCEF said, “This agreement is a further sign of the importance that a well qualified workforce plays for science-based production and the chemical industry as a whole.”
Simon Marsh, Employment and Communications Director of the CIA and Chair of ECEG said, “The agreement will help to deliver a commitment to a Gold Standard level of competence across Europe.”
John Holton, Cogent Strategy Director, who attended the meeting, added, “The value of the Cogent Gold Standard was instantly apparent; management competency for a first line supervisor was identified as a skills gap by many countries and they are now planning training programmes to close this gap.”
The EU Directorate has suggested that the group now consider establishing a European Skills Council for the Chemical sector following the successful work to date.