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Why a European Year of Skills?

19 July 2023

The European Commission has declared 2023 the “European Year of Skills.” Why a European Year of Skills? To highlight the importance of a workforce with in-demand expertise. Not only does helping people acquire the right skills lead to better job opportunities and an improved quality of life, but it will also contribute to sustainable economic growth and advance innovation. A skilled European workforce is key to ensuring a fair and just green digital transition.

To address many of the challenges that urban populations are currently facing - including rising levels of pollution, congestion and heat stress - planning authorities and urban mobility practitioners must possess the necessary skills; skills that enable them to renew and repair urban infrastructures for a sustainable, resilient and equitable future.

To better support the work of urban mobility planners and practitioners, the CIVITAS Initiative launched a survey to identify what urban mobility professionals require in terms of skills and training. CIVITAS - a flagship European Commission programme accelerating the implementation of ambitious mobility and transport goals - acts as a network of cities, for cities, dedicated to sustainable urban mobility. The survey poses a critical question: Which skills and knowledge are needed by professionals working for urban planning authorities now and in the future?

Representatives of local, regional, national and European authorities, consultancies, knowledge and research institutes, civil society/NGOs and industry are encouraged to participate in the short questionnaire, the results of which will be published on the CIVITAS website.

In addition to urban mobility practitioners, transport workers must receive continued training and education to ensure they are able to effectively - and safely - work within the different ecosystems of a fast-paced urban environment. Successful sustainable urban mobility infrastructure depends on more than the efficacy of urban planners and practitioners: once it’s all in place, skilled tram and bus drivers, traffic coordinators and other transport workers are what allow the system to thrive.

And while organisations and businesses focused on topics other than sustainable urban mobility will not need to provide the type of training and skills required for public transport operators or urban planners, they can still participate in promoting the use of sustainable and active mobility through MOBILITYACTIONS. MOBILITYACTIONS are awareness-raising actions that encourage a behavioural shift toward active and sustainable mobility, e.g. cycle to work schemes or mobility management plans. Examples include a successful citizen initiative in Bologna (Italy) to reduce city speed limits to 30 kmh and a collaborative project that spotlights youth voices in solving urgent mobility challenges in Rome (Italy), Dublin (Ireland) and Lisbon (Portugal).

MOBILITYACTIONS can be registered by groups of people, NGOs, research institutions, local and national authorities, public institutions and public and private companies at any point throughout the year. Offering the European workforce continued opportunity for growth is one thing; actively reinforcing this through changed behaviour is just the next step!

The urban mobility labour market is rapidly changing, as are the demands for workers. To guarantee that every person has an opportunity to acquire the right skills for their work, the European Year of Skills will continue to spotlight skill development opportunities and activities throughout Europe. This includes simplifying the recognition of qualifications across borders, providing information about relevant EU initiatives and funding opportunities, and uniting organisations and people so that they can exchange knowledge and experiences.

Learn more about MOBILITYACTIONS here.