WHAT IS OUR POSITION ?
In Wallonia, digitisation will have a considerable but positive impact on the labour market, provided that we are capable of meeting the challenges and taking advantage of the opportunities that this represents. If new efforts are not agreed upon, there is a risk that 152,000 vacancies will not be filled in Wallonia, and 84,000 will not be filled in Brussels by 2030.
Technology is changing dramatically and at great speed: all professions will undergo – or are already undergoing – transformations. Quicker and more consistent adaptation of the teaching and training on offer becomes a necessity if our society and economy are to remain in – or enter – the race.
Labour shortages are affecting the technology industry in a structural way, and more specifically technological, industrial and digital studies and professions. This observation may seem paradoxical in a region where unemployment is persistent and consequently where labour reserves should be available. Efforts to guide students/jobseekers towards the studies and jobs corresponding to these labour shortages, both in terms of education (pupils and students) and professional training (jobseekers) should thus be stepped up.
It is also essential to continue and step up initiatives aimed at better management of the teaching and training on offer, as well as the resources allocated to them.
WHAT ARE OUR CONCRETE RECOMMENDATIONS ?
- Organise true technology education and polytechnic training for all pupils in compulsory education, from a very early age
- Step up the review of studies qualifying pupils for a profession and technical/technological professions which must become a positive choice.
- Reinforce jobseeker activation and guidance for pupils/students with guidance mechanisms that provide more incentive (or even make it obligatory) to choose courses of study and training corresponding to professions with shortages, including differentiated financing (bonuses) for institutions organising these teaching/training courses.
- Adapt the training content in response to professional developments
- Ensure that internships become widespread in education and encourage sandwich courses (in companies, competence centres, with any public/private/non-profit employer), in technology courses, ensuring both the framework and the financing required for these developments
- Make provisions for three forms of support for professional training: the ‘congé formation’ (paid leave for employees to follow training), the ‘chèque formation’ (training voucher) and investment support
- Review the support system, turning it into a simple mechanism to reduce employer ONSS (Belgian National Social Security Office) contributions for the ‘congé formation’ and ‘crédit formation’ (credit which employees can use to pay for training courses) and a premium mechanism with an upper limit to support investment
- Optimise the education and training on offer by aiming for a sufficient critical mass
- Ensure structural financing and maintain indexation of the contribution from the Forem (Public Service for Employment and Training in Wallonia) for the training of jobseekers in competence centres