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Training for Circularity: Upskilling, reskilling, mobility and job creation

‘The best investment in our future is the investment in our people’
Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President
Lead contributor: Chrysostomos Adamides

The Circular Economy (CE) offers an operational pathway to grow out of the linear economy and achieve economic growth, while ensuring prosperity for the people and the wellbeing of the planet. At its core, CE is a systemic change that needs to be applied in all processes and value cycles and by all stakeholders in the economy. Given this premise, the chapter examines the anticipated disruption in the labor market, as we move from the traditional linear economy towards a CE. Increasingly, new skills and competences will have to support the narrowing, slowing, and closing of the resource loops. Continuous upskilling and reskilling of the workforce is needed to leave no one behind and ensure an inclusive and just transition. In this respect, we consider the need for a lifelong learning system and the significance of vocational education and training to provide pathways to continuous upskilling and reskilling programs. Emphasis is given on developing the basic elements of a proposed framework to facilitate closing the gap between the present skills of the workforce and the future skills needed. 

In addition, the chapter looks at the significant role organizations can play in developing a skilled and innovative workforce and the link with organizational transformation and developing a competitive advantage. The chapter outlines practical guidelines for developing a workforce strategy based on CE principles. The aim is to align the organizational objectives with the interests and ambitions of the employees and contribute to developing a learning culture. Organizations can attract and retain talent and maintain a skilled and motivated workforce with this approach. The workforce can solve circular economy challenges and create a competitive advantage for the organization. 

Throughout the chapter, selected best practices are presented to highlight the application of the framework and guidelines and support the diffusion of practical experiences and knowledge. 

Policymakers and professionals at all levels will appreciate the enormous challenges facing the workforce in the transition to CE and the need to take proactive measures to mitigate the impact. In this respect, they will enhance their understanding of the latest trends in the labor market, the expected shift in the working landscape and the impact on jobs and skills needed. The need to close the skills gap to ensure an inclusive and just transition to CE and maintain economic competitiveness will become apparent. Ultimately, they will expand their perspective on the components required to develop the skills and competences of the workforce. 

The upskilling and reskilling efforts are related to SDG 4, aiming to promote training, education and lifelong learning systems and SDG 8, aiming to provide decent jobs and drive economic growth. More broadly however, the development of skills also lays the foundation for the realization of all other SDGs. 

What's inside

Why is upskilling and reskilling the workforce urgent?

Discover now the necessity, importance and urgency due to the convergence of disruptive megatrends to upskill and reskill the current and future workforce to be able to accelerate the transition into a circular economy.

Is a disruption in the labour market coming?

Learn more now on the anticipated disruption in the labour market due to the transition to the Circular Economy, from the perspective of the shift in jobs, the new emerging job roles, and the future skills in demand.

Which are the future Skills in demand?

Explore here in full and accurate details how the latest literature findings on the future skills in demand are put forward with a breakdown between the circular, transversal and digital skills needed for the transition to a circular economy.

Can we close the skills gap?

Discover now how you can develop a basic, yet crucial and essential elements of a well structured framework to support closing the skills gap between the present skills of the workforce and the future skills in demand.

How do we close the skills gap?

Discover here the important elements including the need for lifelong learning, the importance of vocational education and training and new collaborative governance models with selected real-life examples that are presented to illuminate practical application of the framework.

What are the Drivers to the Circular Economy?

Find out here the role of learning and skills development as essential drivers to the circular economy by enhancing the potential of the workforce to identify innovative circular solutions and support a new mindset and cultural framework.

What is the role of organisations?

Explore here the significant and vital role organisations play in the development of a competent, skilled and innovative workforce. In addition, discover now the link and connection between workforce skills development, competitive advantage and driving cultural changes.

How can an organisation develop the Workforce?

Get access to clear and practical guidelines that serve as essential action points for the development of a practical workforce strategy aiming to align the organisational objectives and the goals, ambitions, and interests of the workforce.