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Future Skills for Europe’s Aerospace and Defence Industry

The conference, co-organised by the European Commission and EDSP members Rzeszow University of Technology and Aviation Valley, took place on 21-22 October 2021 in Rzeszow, Poland.


Building on the work of previous and existing initiatives to tackle skills gaps in the defence sector – from the EDSP to Assets+ and the Aerospace & Defence Pact for Skills – the event explored, from a knowledge triangle perspective, challenges and opportunities for cross-border collaboration for skills providers, European policies supporting skills development, and industry future needs.


Participants attended also business-to-business (b2b) meetings, visited technical labs and important production plants in the area.


The conference offered the opportunity to


- Collect information about skills needed by the industry;

- Collect information about activities undertaken by aerospace and defence industry and skills providers;

- Disseminate info about ongoing projects and initiatives adapting education and training programmes to the needs of the industry;

- Raise awareness on the Aerospace & Defence Pact for Skills and how it engages with regions;

- Launch the 2nd edition of the European Defence Student Challenge;

- Meet students undertaking new training modules created by Assets+ project;

- Meet in person and discuss plenty of topics not easy to be discussed online;

- Consider aligning our targets taking into consideration the following:


  1. In the fast-changing world, the future might not be based on the same technology of today, and this calls for adjustments in skills. The pandemic forces us to adjust even faster.
  2. The skills profile of the future employee needs to maintain a good balance between creativity and agility, but also between rational and emotional intelligence. Technical and soft skills are equally important. Digital and soft skills are today essential to complete the employee’s profile.
  3. Dialogue with the industry is key for universities and VETs to produce tomorrow’s workforce. In building new skills, the specificities of the young generations need to be taken into consideration.
  4. The perception of aerospace & defence as an employer is essential and today its attractiveness is diminishing (e.g. green and security considerations). There are important initiatives and actions in place, and there is room for more at all levels.
  5. Regions play a key role in staffing the industry and creating talents. The Podkarpackie Region is a best practice. The Pact for Skills is well placed to mobilise regions and prepare future projects.
  6. The amount of available programmes and funds has never been so significant. We are in the right time and in the right position to reach out for them in order to build skills.


For more information, go to the event's official website.





Day 1 - Thursday 21 October 2021



08.30      Registration and welcome coffee


09.00      Welcome by Jarosław Sęp - Vice-Rector for Development and Business Cooperation - Rzeszów University of Technology


09.30      EU policy on skills in aerospace and defence industry
Elektra Tsigaridas, European Commission


10.00      Challenges for aerospace and defense industries in the post-Covid era

Marek Darecki, Aviation Valley Association


10.30      Technical and soft skills in aerospace and defence industry, including new skills driven by emerging technologies

Renata Markowska, Marcin Pietrzak, MTU Aero Engines Polska


11.00      Coffee Break


11.30      ASSETS+ Project: Alliance for Strategic Skills addressing Emerging Technologies in Defence

Gualtiero Fantoni, Filippo Chiarello, University of Pisa


11.50      The European Defence Student Challenge

Liga Baltina, Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini, Mateo Burgos-Garcia, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid


12.00      Walking tour in Rzeszów University of Technology Laboratories – skills-building venues for the aerospace and defence industry


13.15      Networking Lunch


14.15      SESSION 1: Challenges for skills providers


Panel discussion


Moderated by Andrzej Majka


Eric Grivel, IMS lab, Bordeaux INP - University of Bordeaux

Susana Nogueira, European Welding Federation

Lucyna Pasternak, WSK "PZL-Świdnik S.A." - Leonardo Helicopters

Wojciech Depczyński, Kielce University of Technology

Geert De Cubber, Royal Military Academy of Belgium


15.30 –  16.30      Examples of activities building future skills at European level relevant for the Aerospace & Defence industry


15.30     Aerospace & Defence Pact for Skills - How regions and Member States can contribute to the Pact?

Antoine Feral, Rolls-Royce


15.45      Upskilling and Reskilling policies in companies’ business and technological strategy

Carlos Maio, QSR - Talent Driven Culture


15.55      SAM: Sector Skills Strategy for Additive Manufacturing

Susana Nogueira. EWF European Federation for Welding, Joining and Cutting


16.05      PLANET4: Practical Learning of Artificial intelligence on the Edge for industry 4.0

Grzegorz Dec, Rzeszów University of Technology


16.15      EDURES: Technology education in the digital era supported by the significant use of research results
Roman Wdowik, Rzeszów University of Technology       


16.25      Questions & Answers


16.30      End of day 1


18.30      Dinner





Day 2 - Friday 22 October 2021



08.30      Welcome coffee


9.00      Programme Erasmus+ and its offer for enhancing students and staff competencies and for teaching innovations

Beata Skibińska, National Agency for the Erasmus+and ESC programmes


09.20      Other programs supporting trainings and skills improvement
Maciej Szalacha, Rzeszów University of Technology 


09.45      SESSION 2: Technical skills development and improvement 


Panel discussion


Moderated by Tomasz Rogalski


Mateusz Roszkiewicz, PGZ - Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa S.A. (a capital group of Polish defence industry)

Peter Nielsen, Aalborg University

Przemysław Kupidura, Military University of Technology, Warsaw

Sophie Pawletko, Benoit Consolini, Aerocampus Aquitaine

Jan Sawicki, Safran Transmission Systems Poland


11.00      Coffee Break


11.30      SESSION 3: Soft and digital skills required by aerospace and defence industry


Panel discussion


Moderated by Dorota Stadnicka


Mirosław Basiak, Aero Gearbox International Poland

Mirosław Surowaniec, Huta Stalowa Wola

Tomasz Gałaczyński, Polskie Zakłady Lotnicze Sp. z o.o.

Jose Maria de Fuentes, Charles III University of Madrid

Jacek Czarnigowski, Lublin University of Technology


12.45      Sky 4.0: Soft Skills 4.0 for the new challenges in European Aerospace Industry

Andrzej Rybka, The Aviation Valley Association


12.55      Wrap up


13.00      Networking Lunch and B2B meetings


14.30      Industrial Visit



Video highlights






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