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Attempting to boost the value of parenting skills in the labour market in Europe

The European Commission (EC) launched the so-called Pact for Skills in November 2020. The coordinator of ParENTrepreneurs, Parents International had applied to join the pact and the application has just been approved. The initiative is a central element of the European Skills Agenda, aiming to address skills mismatches and shortages to enable labour marker participation. The initiative resonates with the main reason Parents International had been so eager to launch this project: skills and competences gained and developed through parenting are valuable for the labour market, but we need to find ways to validate them. The outcomes of ParENTrepreneurs will be used in our work within the initiative.

According to the press release by the EC “skills are central to our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and for mastering the digital and green transitions. Businesses, large and small, need skilled people to innovate and grow. Yet, mismatches and shortages in skills are increasing, while a large number of people are at risk of unemployment. Only by joining the forces of all relevant partners can we make substantial progress in meeting Europe’s skills needs.

The Pact for Skills promotes joint action to maximise the impact of investing in improving existing skills (upskilling) and training in new skills (reskilling). It calls on industry, employers, social partners, chambers of commerce, public authorities, education and training providers and employment agencies to work together and make a clear commitment to invest in training for all working age people across the Union.”

By joining the action, organisations pledge to shall respect and uphold the following key principles:

  • Promoting a culture of lifelong learning for all
  • Building strong skills partnerships
  • Monitoring skills supply/demand and anticipating skills needs
  • Working against discrimination and for gender equality and equal opportunities

Parents International has been highlighting the multitude of skills and competences built while parenting in a number of fields – in education, care, project management, financial management just to name a few. The year of school closures has also boosted parents’ digital skills as they were pushed to homeschool their children navigating digital mazes set by teachers. Acknowledging this and making it possible for parents to use these skills for future jobs is clearly an answer to the original aims. A number of successful enterprises built on the “home” skills of low skilled adults clarly show the value of this approach and thus we are promoting them as much as possible.

Parenting is a lifelong learning journey and needs to be acknowledges as one. Parents as the most impacting educators of their children also act as a role model of lifelong learning for the upcoming generations. We have also built partnerships with vocational training as well as industry in the past years and we are determined to widen this in the future, also using the leverage of the initiative. By putting parenting skills in the spotlight we are working hard on the monitoring supply element of the pact. Parenting skills can be mostly utilised by mothers on the labour market. By promoting this approach, we are showing a way to offer women, especially those with little formal education, opportunities of successful career thus supporting gender equality and equal opportunities. This way we have and will promote the key principles of the Pact for Skills.

ParENTrepreneurs, offering a competence framework, a training to systematise these competences and a tool to validate and recognise them, is a strong and important vehicle in this. Parents International will continue promoting a similar framework in all areas and domains of parenting. We hope that by joining the Pact for Skills, we will have the opportunity to further develop such frameworks, preferably together with industry to ensure we speak their language, but we also hope EU funding will be made available for this.