Ireland-UK, EIT Health Ireland-UK

Two EIT Health Ireland-based partners join new Pact for Skills in healthcare

14th December 2023

The Pact for Skills encourages collaboration between public and private organisations to advance the upskilling and reskilling of the European workforce.

EIT Health has been selected as the coordinator of the Skills Partnership for the European Health Industry, a new industry-led Pact for Skills in healthcare. In doing so, EIT Health will collaborate closely with DG GROW and DG EMPLat the European Commission to bring about positive changes and boost skills development in the healthcare industry. Twenty-two organisations, including Ireland-based partners Trinity College Dublin and University of Galway, signed up for the pact at a signing ceremony on 1st December.  Additional organisations are welcome to join the Pact in the coming weeks.

The Pact for Skills is a flagship action under the European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience, aligned with the European Pillar of Social Rights. This new health Industry-led Pact for Skills will concentrate on enhancing the skills and education of workers in the healthcare sector, encompassing pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Partnership’s aim is to work together to respond to the needs and challenges faced by the health industry and establish a shared model for skills development in Europe, pooling knowledge, experiences and resources. The overall goal is to attract new talent and support the existing workforce through reskilling and upskilling initiatives, promoting learning opportunities and ‘on-the-job’ training that strengthens the sector’s resilience and equips professionals with the skills they need.

Currently, there are 14 established Pact for Skills partnerships in various strategic sectors. These partnerships set specific ‘Pact pledges’ that aim to upskill up to six million people across Europe. The Pact for Skills encourages collaboration between public and private organisations to advance the upskilling and reskilling of the European workforce. Consortia within specific sectors, such as the digital sector, formulate commitments to achieve their sector’s goals, such as ‘equipping 80% of individuals with basic digital skills by 2030.’

Skills challenge facing the health industry

COVID-19 exposed the overwhelming need for a resilient and responsive healthcare system, and in response, the European Union’s (EU) industrial strategy upgraded healthcare to a key industrial ecosystem.

As one of the biggest and fastest growing industries globally, the healthcare sector is currently undergoing a rapid transformation fuelled by technological advancements, digital and green transition. These changes will ensure the availability of medicines and devices for a resilient healthcare system that is ready to respond in case of future public health threats.

Research by EIT Health’s WorkInHealth Foundation shows the sector is also facing a major skills challenge as it prepares for the future. With approximately eight million jobs affected by the skills shift, the challenges of making the health industry attractive to young talent, especially those with data skills, are enormous.

With an ageing population in Europe there is an ever-increasing need for health industry products, which makes addressing the skills shortage even more crucial.

Skills Partnership objectives

The Partnership has produced a series of long-term objectives to address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. These include:

  • Understanding the current skills need in the health industry ecosystem
  • Bridging the skills gap
  • Enhancing health industry and university collaboration
  • Facilitating cross-border mobility and recognition of qualifications
  • Promoting lifelong learning and continuous professional development
  • Strengthening public-private partnerships
  • Pooling available funding opportunities
  • Enhancing the attractiveness of the sector

These objectives collectively form a comprehensive framework to address the skills challenges in the health industry. By pursuing these objectives, the Partnership will enhance the skills landscape, foster collaboration, support professional development, and ultimately strengthen the industry’s competitiveness and impact.

Skills Partnership initial actions

Initially, the Partnership will focus on enhancing the health industry’s skills intelligence, monitoring of new training programmes aligned with both the current and future industry skills requirements, and draft a skills strategy for European health industry. An upcoming priority is to build a strong Consortia that can apply for EU funding under the Erasmus+ programme and continue to explore other funding opportunities.  

Given the complexity of the health industry sector, including its regulatory and quality requirements, the Partnership will also aim to address the needs related to rapid technological advancements, regulatory compliance, quality assurance, as well as supply chain, stockpiling or distribution management.

If your organisation is interested in joining the initiative, please email Anna Wurm, Public Affairs and Stakeholder Relations Manager:

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