Close to 70 million Europeans lack basic reading and writing skills.

Even more cannot use numbers or digital tools properly in everyday life. Without these skills they are at high risk of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion.

In the New Skills Agenda for Europe, the Commission is therefore proposing a Skills Guarantee to help low-skilled adults acquire a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and digital skills and/or progress towards an upper secondary qualification or equivalent (EQF level 4), through three steps:

•           Step 1 – Skills assessment

Enable low-qualified adults to identify their existing skills and their upskilling needs.

•           Step 2 – Learning offer

Design and deliver an education and training offer tailored to the specific needs of each individual and of the local labour market.

•           Step 3 – Validation and recognition

Validation and recognition of the skills acquired.   

Who is it for?

The Skills Guarantee targets individuals without upper secondary education. They can be unemployed (above 25 years, as otherwise covered by the Youth Guarantee), but also those in employment and inactive with a need to strengthen basic skills. 

How will it work?

Member States should put in place flexible pathways for upskilling in cooperation with social partners, education and training providers, and local and regional authorities. Systems need to build on national structures and vary across Member States. Many countries already offer elements of the Skills Guarantee and can build on this.

How will the EU give support?

The Commission will support Member States in implementing and monitoring the Skills Guarantee. Financial support could be provided through the ESFErasmus+EaSi,ERDFFEADEGF or EAFRD.

Beyond the €27 billion ESF funding to be invested in education, training, skills and life-long learning, from 2014 to 2020, a further € 21.2 billion are available for social inclusion and € 30.8 billion for sustainable and quality employment. Member States planned to reach out to around 8 million low qualified individuals through ESF only in the education.