118 organizations have signed the TCLF Pact for Skills, an initiative promoted by the European Commission and promoted by EURATEX, COTANCE, and CEC, the umbrella organizations of the textile, leather, and footwear industries in Europe. The signatories acknowledge the skills challenge in the textiles-leather ecosystem and commit to investing in reskilling and upskilling workers, integrating green and digital skills, and improving the attractiveness of the sector. Signatories of the Pact will benefit from networking, guidance, and resources offered by the EC to implement the targets which are proposed in the Pact.
The Pact for Skills is part of the EU Industrial Strategy, addressing the competitiveness of 14 critical ecosystems, including the one on textiles, leather, and footwear. The main aim of the Pact is maximizing the impact of investments in improving existing skills (upskilling) and training in new skills (reskilling). To reach such an ambitious goal, the Pact gathers various actors in the TCLF sectors: industry, employers, social partners, national and regional authorities, education and training providers. These actors should work together and invest in large-scale skills partnerships, guarantee the exchange of best practices and increase the attractiveness of the sector.
Specifically, the TCLF Pact for Skills focuses on 5 objectives and for each of them, the signatories identified a certain number of target actions:
- Promoting a culture of lifelong learning for all: one of the actions is to design and roll out courses promoting the latest technologies and digital tools such as VR and AI (digital skills) and promoting durability, repair, and waste management activities (green skills), in particular circular design skills.
- Building a strong skills partnership with relevant stakeholders: signatories foresee building regional and cross-sectoral partnerships between industry, education providers, and authorities, which are adapted to their specific needs.
- Monitoring skills supply/demand and anticipating skills needs: to reach it, industry, policy, and education stakeholders will establish the TCLF Skills Observatory.
- Working against discrimination and for gender equality and equal opportunities: signatories will launch a TCLF manifesto of diversity and a supporting initiative to improve the gender balance and ensure equal opportunities for all.
- Raising awareness & attractiveness on the TCLF industries, i.a. through dedicated information campaigns, showcasing the opportunities in the sector, and promoting mobility for young workers.
As of early 2022, the European Commission will offer signatories of the Pact for Skills to benefit from collaboration at EU, national and regional levels and in particular gain access to networking, knowledge, and guidance & resource hubs.
“COTANCE is very pleased with this initiative,” says Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, COTANCE Secretary-General. “Teaming up with our partners in the eco-system allows generating the critical mass which will help the individual companies in our sector maintaining and increasing the skills that make their competitiveness on global markets. We look forward to seeing more companies and entities joining the Pact in the future”.
 1 TCLF = Textiles, Clothing, Leather, and Footwear. The initiative covers the entire ecosystem, including the fashion and retail segment of the industry.
Pact for Skills for the EU TCLF industries download pdf here