The Flemish - Dutch Delta employs around 5 million people. Due to the digitalisation, automation and robotisation of the harbour industry, there is a strongly increasing demand for higher technical profiles. On the one hand, this opens up unprecedented opportunities for all economic sectors in and around the harbour areas, but on the other hand it poses major challenges for both the labour market and the education sector. If the region wants to maintain its position as a forerunner in innovation, it must be able to provide the right people with the necessary '21st century skills'.
Seven partners from the Netherlands and seven from Flanders are working together on three substantive actions:
1) Research into 21st century skills for the harbour areas;
2) The development or adjustment of employer packages;
3) The development of a matching tool.
AP University College coordinates the work package on 21st century skills.
On the basis of a literature review of existing research, we will evaluate trends and developments in the economy and provide an overview of the 21st century skills that are needed in this case. We will start from recent research reports on skills for the labour market in the Netherlands and Flanders. The overview of relevant 21st century skills for the harbour areas resulting from this review will serve as a basis for job vacancies and field research.
With a job vacancy survey we examine which 21st century skills are required in vacancies in and around the harbour areas. We also compare whether the same or different skills are asked for in the Dutch and Flemish harbour areas.
With a field study we examine to what extent experience in the field is in line with the results of the literature review and the vacancy study. We consult employers and employment mediators in all harbour areas. The main question is: What skills does the field of work require, now and in the future?
In a second part of the field research we focus on innovative companies that are already looking further into the future in order to assess the evolving skill needs. We also consult educational institutions to find out how they are preparing for the demand for 21st century skills and how they see collaboration with employers and the professional field evolve in order to meet the evolving skills demand.
We use the research results to inform employers, employment mediators and educational institutions. The reports are also an important input for the other two substantive actions of the project.