Jean-François Lebrun, Head of Unit, DG Employment and Social Affairs, European Commission, stressed ‘Today is an important day for the implementation of the EU Commission strategy on sectors skills councils that fits completely into the Europe 2020 Strategy. We are committed through the ‘agenda for new skills and jobs’ flagship to support concrete actions that will equip the right skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow.’

The European Council on Education Training and Employment for Textile Clothing Leather (known as ‘EU TCL Skills Council’) is an initiative from the European Social partners ETUF: TCL (The European Federation of Textile Clothing Leather and Footwear), Euratex (the European Apparel and Textile Confederation) and Cotance (The European Confederation of Leather and Tanning), with the financial support of the European Commission- Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs. 

The commitment covers the industries of France, Belgium, United Kingdom, Italy and Spain and would encourage other member states to foster similar approaches and would join soon a network that in the end should become self-supporting. The exchange of good practices and the networking effect should unlock the need for our numerous SME’s to find and help talented workers to improve their skills.

The new council is based on a networking of several existing national observatories dedicated to Education Training and Employment (Forthac (France), Cobot (Belgium), IVOC (Belgium), Skillset (UK)) and other key players such as national associations, universities, research centres, private companies, public authorities, trade unions and technical institutes etc are also included.

The EU TCL skills council aims to improve the quality of the European labour force and assist enterprises to be better prepared in meeting changing competitive demands. 

A web portal was also launched to allow exchanges between key players and provide regularly updated collection of material such as courses, lesson plans, activities and audiovisual resources that cover both information on the textile clothing and leather industries and strategies for adapting to and improving the current labour market. Visitors will also find web tools (as a TCL wiki tool, web based training seminars, conferences, web interviews, job searches and offers, news and events; forums of discussion, and EU directories.

The EU TCL Skills Council will aim at identifying and monitoring training needs, communicating on the training needs towards Education and Training entities, promoting of matching activities between identified training needs and market offer, and elaborating and supporting specific projects and initiatives at EU and national levels. 

The overall goal of this EU TCL Skills Council is to improve the quality of the European labour force, and to assist enterprises and workers/students to be more flexible in meeting changing competitive demands to sustain the European Textile Clothing and Leather as industry leaders at an international level.