This site uses cookies that store non-personal information to help us improve our site.  

Towards a European Defence Skills Strategy

EDSP conference “Towards a European Defence Skills Strategy”, 13 March 2019, Brussels


The event, organised by the European Commission, focused on the way forward in advance of the new Commission setting priorities for 2019-2024, as well as on solutions to be implemented at the European, national and regional levels.


These are the key takeaways from the panel discussions on the way forward:


  • We need to develop strategic foresight in identifying and maintaining an awareness of industry’s skills needs;
  • We need to collaborate at European level to attain sustainable solutions for our common needs and learn from each other;
  • We need to develop an ecosystem comprising industry, universities, training institutions and research centres to accelerate knowledge transfer, allow proactive communication of the sector’s needs and faster response by education and training; 
  • We need to align with the European Defence Fund to ensure we have the skills for building capabilities for our security;
  • We need to use the European Structural and Investment Funds to support clustering and develop training and up-skilling, including in new technologies. Although projects are already happening, we need to raise awareness of Managing Authorities about the potential of ESIF to fund projects for the defence sector;
  • We need to raise awareness of the importance of the European defence industry through communication and outreach to make the defence industry more attractive to new talent, but companies must also adapt to the goals and profiles of the changing labour force.


Inputs from the event contributed to the European Defence Skills Strategy.


See below the programme, the video and a selection of event photos.



Final Conference Programme


08.30      Registration and welcome coffee



09.30      Opening statement by Tomasz Husak, Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska



09.40      Setting the scene – work done and next steps, DG GROW



10.00      High level panel – What priorities for the next 5 years? chaired & moderated  by Slawomir Tokarski, Director of Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing, DG GROW


Sabine Klauke, Head of Engineering - Airbus Defence and Space

Thomas Stocker, Head of Engineering and Chief Technical Officer, Hensoldt

Katarina Björklund, Vice President, Group Strategy, Saab  

Bertrand Carette, Head of Strategic Workforce Planning, Safran 


Discussion followed by Q&A 



11.15      Break



11.45      Panel discussion – Bridging the defence sector skills gaps through education and training, moderated by Christina Balis, Director of Services and Products Strategy, QinetiQ


Prof. Peter Nielsen, Department of Materials and Production, Aalborg University

Benoit Consolini, Training Supervisor, Aerocampus Aquitaine  

Villiko Nurmoja, CEO, Threod Systems 

Andrzej Rybka, Director of Polish Aviation Valley


Discussion followed by Q&A



13.00      Networking Lunch



14.00      Panel discussion – Tapping into regional potential through ESIF for building defence skills, moderated by László Andor, member of RAND Europe Council of Advisors and former Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion


Loris di Pietrantonio, Head of Unit, DG EMPL 

Getter Oper, Chief Scientific Officer, Estonian Ministry of Defence

Francesco Rogo, Head of Engineering and Knowledge Processes, Leonardo 

Klaus Bolving, CEO, CenSec


Discussion followed by Q&A



15.15      End of conference and networking coffee



15.45      General Assembly of the European Defence Skills Partnership