Wide range of EU members implementing NQF and referencing to the EQF
The main asset for any company, especially small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are their
employees. This is even more important in the knowledge-based economy, where intangible
factors and services are of growing importance. The rapid obsolescence of knowledge is a key feature
of the knowledge economy.
However, we also know that for a small business it is very difficult to engage staff in education
and training in order to update and upgrade their skills within the continuous or life-long learning
approach. Even nowadays there is still a huge difference between large firms and small
firms when we talk about workforce development. Small businesses cannot do it alone – they need
to engage in partnership with local providers of training and local authorities. In Spain all too often the provision of training for
small businesses is overly centralised and supply driven.
Skill upgrading mechanisms for SMEs should rather bedecentralised and demand-driven. This implies a major structural reform in the way in which the interaction between local Centres of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and the enterprises
are structured. We also have to consider that universities such University of Deusto, UPV have a role to play in this context,
because the third mission of universities, after teaching and research, consists of supporting the local
economies of the area in which they are located. In particular, this involves supporting SMEs in their
innovation processes – another way of informal skills upgrading. In the relationship between
industry and university, most of the interaction occurs with large firms. It is high time for universities
to engage also with SMEs. Basque Country is a counry which is overloaded of micro firms and they need a great support of the Local Authorities, universities and Vocational centres.
Image source: entrepeneurcrunch.com