Retailers and wholesalers to engage in Pact for Skills
9 November 2021
On the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Commission’s Pact for Skills, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren announced today that retailers and wholesalers will accept the invitation to organise the Pact for Skills for the Retail Ecosystem (including wholesale):
“The Pact for Skills is a great opportunity for retailers and wholesalers across Europe to demonstrate their already considerable commitment to the up- and reskilling of the European workforce. We welcome the recognition by the European Commission of retail and wholesale as an important ecosystem driving Europe’s economic recovery, and our ecosystem’s strong record in equipping its workforce with a wide range of skills.”
As the first private sector employer, retail and wholesale directly provide 26 million Europeans with rewarding jobs. It continue to offer opportunities to many young people to grow their skills and develop their careers. Retail and wholesale run some of the most innovative and popular vocational education in Europe, such as digital apprenticeships supporting e-commerce operations. Equally important, continuous learning in the workplace ensures our current employees remain up to date with new technologies and rapidly changing consumer preferences by combining formal, informal and non-formal learning.
EuroCommerce will be opening a renewed dialogue with the Commission on digital, sustainability and soft skills in four key areas: Vocational Education and Training (VET), Upskilling, Reskilling and Higher Education. We will be offering a detailed outline of its contribution to the Pact for Skills in the coming weeks, following consultations with the other partners in the ecosystem.
This decision follows the Commission Roundtable on Skills for the Retail Ecosystem in April this year with Commissioners Breton and Schmit, where senior executives from 8 retail companies shared how their companies are investing in up- and reskilling of their employees against a backdrop of a rapidly changing world of work and the digital and green transformation of retail and wholesale. EuroCommerce and its social partner UNI Europa have, for some time, been calling upon the Commission to help SMEs navigate this transformation by co-funding efforts to equip their employees with the skills needed to operate in this rapidly changing sector.
Christian Verschueren concluded:
“Retail and wholesale is a people business, employing people and serving people. The future of physical retail will be about combining ‘high tech and high touch’. Our employees will need to be able to deal with sophisticated technology of increasingly digital and automated systems, while offering a positive customer experience with people skills based on expert advice and personal service.The Pact for Skills can help our member companies and associations exchange good practice and experience in providing skills and training within the ecosystem, help reinforce these efforts, and exchange experience with other ecosystems.”