On 10-11 October 2019, Aerocampus Aquitaine hosted the successful European Defence Skills Partnership (EDSP) conference on ‘Fostering Skills for Europe’s Defence Industries’. The event welcomed more than 100 participants to its premises near Bordeaux (France). Attendees, including EDSP members, came from 14 European countries, representing companies of all sizes, public authorities, research institutes, universities, vocational training organisations and regional development agencies.
Participants learned about various best practices. Vocational and educational organisations and companies work closely together to develop employees in various ways through hands-on training, internships and partnerships with armed forces. Against a background of fierce competition with other sectors, defence companies are running different initiatives to attract young talents and render their working environment more attractive to women. Furthermore, universities apply innovative approaches to overcome challenges to feeding the industry with the right competences, whilst trying to cater to defence-specific issues. During the interactive sessions, calls were made for more harmonisation at EU level in the area of certification recognition and accreditation.
In a dedicated session, various initiatives and opportunities for more cooperation were highlighted. These included the launch of a new project on defence skills, which is co-funded under Erasmus+ and will bring together 32 EDSP members and their associates as of January 2020, as well as a new call expected to be published end of October. The latter includes actions relevant for the defence sector such as Knowledge Alliances, Sector Skills Alliances, Strategic Partnerships, Centres of Vocational Excellence and European Universities.