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Last February the European Social Network reported on how Europe’s ageing population is putting long-term care under pressure. With its pact for skills in long-term care, the European Commission has now started a new initiative to support skills development of people working in the long-term care sector.

A pact for skills development of long-term care workers

On 20 April, long-term care service providers, social partners and education and training providers, with the support of the European Commission, set up a large-scale skills partnership for the long-term care sector. This partnership aims to improve both career paths and the quality of care provided, making the long-term care sector more attractive and it is intended to contribute to the European Year of Skills and the EU headline target of at least 60% of all adults in training every year by 2030. The initiative is part of the European Skills Agenda, a five-year plan to help individuals and businesses develop more and better skills.

Strengthening digital and soft skills for professional carers

This Skills Partnership will particularly focus on two key skill sets deemed most urgent: Firstly, digital skills, to equip LTC professionals with the skills to make the most of the digital transition and secondly, the promotion of soft skills, to equip long-term care professionals with the skills to apply high-quality person-centred support. Both skills sets shall be supported by the development of European-wide curricula and training programmes for long-term care professionals.

Responding to social services’ skills needs

Building on its 2017 report on investing in the social services workforce the European Social Network has started several new initiatives to help social services in building and developing a workforce up to the changing needs of the sector. In 2022, we launched  SISWEC (Strengthening the skills of social workers in a Europe in crisis) aiming at reviewing social work training in Europe to help social workers address the multiplicity of crises affecting societies. Later this year we will start Eldicare 2.0, to prepare and upskill the future and current care workforce to use innovative digital care tools, different types of assistive technologies, remote care and disease management technologies, self-management and social technologies for older people’s care. At the end of the year, our European Parliament roundtable on the social services workforce will among other themes discuss our findings in relation to workforce recruitment, training and development with the European Parliament Rapporteur on the EU Year of Skills.