Brussels, 5 July 2024 – Today, EURATEX together with COTANCE and CEC hosted the TCLF SkillBridge Stakeholder Event, an important step towards forming regional skills partnerships by bringing together various stakeholders from industry, education, and public sectors.

Co-financed by the European Commission, TCLF SkillBridge aims to establish and nurture regional partnerships between TCLF industries, regional authorities, and local universities and VET providers. The project will target up to 25 European regions with a strong concentration of textile, clothing, leather or footwear industries.  This regional focus will allow the development of specific action plans related to reskilling and upskilling, which meet the needs of each target region.  The project will support the creation of such partnerships, facilitate community exchanges for knowledge sharing, and provide support to SMEs, enabling them to upskill and reskill their workforce in tune with the evolving demands of the industry.

The TCLF SkillBridge project complements 2 other initiatives – AEQUALIS4TCLF and METASKILLS4TCLF – which have already been launched under the Erasmus+ Programme. As a result, the industry has now a coherent set of instruments across the EU to address the skills challenges.

During the event today, stakeholders from the Emilia Romagna Region, ATEVAL, and Verband der Deutschen Lederindustrie e.V. gave insights in their experiences in skills collaborations in their regions. An interactive session then followed, where stakeholders discussed how to successfully establish such regional partnerships under the Pact for Skills.

Dirk Vantyghem, EURATEX Director General was excited to host the event as coordinator of the TCLF SkillBridge project: “This project confirms the importance of working at regional level, close to the SMEs and understanding the specificities of each region. We hope TCLF SkillBridge will act as a trigger to mobilise relevant stakeholders to co-invest in their TCLF industries.”

In this relation, Carmen Arias, Secretary General in the European Footwear Confederation (CEC), added: “By investing in education and training that align with the region’s economic priorities, policymakers can ensure that workers have the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the evolving labour market. As CEC, we will continue helping these industries build a competitive advantage and position themselves in the global market.”

COTANCE Secretary General, Gustavo González-Quijano: “In the SkillBridge project, COTANCE is leading the charge by offering tailored mentorship to TCLF stakeholders aimed at guiding their regional skills partnerships towards developing educational strategies for higher levels of sustainability and competitiveness in their respective industries. Working closely with partners across Europe, we are united in our mission to drive the EU leather, textiles, clothing, and footwear sectors towards a greener, more resilient and innovative future”.