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Skills project closes: millions available to help companies progress

A European Union project for promoting information technology skills among people who work in the textile, clothing, leather and footwear (TCLF) industries came to a close on February 8 at a special conference in Brussels. The Digital TCLF Industries project began in January 2017.

The European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EURATEX) co-ordinated the project and its director of innovation and skills, Lutz Walter, chaired the conference. At the start of the event he said: “Textile and clothing is a strategic sector in Europe. In 2017, across the 28 member states of the European Union, it employed 1.7 million people, so it’s large. But if the companies that employ those people are to continue to compete, a transformation of the workplace is required between now and that means digital skills are a must. You either digitise or you die, sooner or later.”

He explained that the project’s achievements had been to identify the TCLF jobs most affected by this change by examining where the most important skills gaps are likely to be by 2025. “After that, it’s a question of responding, of teaching those skills,” Mr Walter said, “and there is already financial support in place to help companies do that.”

The European Commission is in the process of agreeing its budgets for the next few years and the sum under consideration to help workers (across all sectors) advance in learning digital skills is €700 million.

Follow-up initiatives to put the findings of the Digital TCLF Industries project into effect have already begun.

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