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European Defence Skills Strategy 2020 - 2024

Strategy background


The European Defence Skills Strategy was developed under the Blueprint for sectoral cooperation in skills initiative launched by the 2016 Skills Agenda for Europe and supported by the European Defence Action Plan. The defence sector is one of the pilot sectors in the Agenda to enter the Blueprint, launching its first project in 2018 to foster stakeholder cooperation and put together the sector’s skills intelligence and strategy. Funded by the COSME programme, the project put in place the European Defence Skills Partnership (EDSP) bringing together stakeholders from industry, academia, research and authorities with the ultimate aim to engage in collaborative actions by using EU funding to implement the strategy.


The strategy is the result of the EDSP members’ joint endeavour in identifying the sectors challenges and skill gaps, as well as ways to overcome them, taking into consideration the 2019-2024 Commission priorities, and at a later stage also the challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Its implementation started in January 2020.


While developing skills is primarily a task for industry and EU countries, the Commission has a supportive role. The European Defence Skills Strategy of the EDSP reflects the European Commission’s commitment to support this effort. It provides a structured framework and a timely basis meant to be amplified and fortified by the wider defence stakeholder community.


The strategy outline table below, used as the implementation framework, is divided in 5 Objectives addressing 5 Challenges. Each one is divided into Supporting Actions – SA, and each Supporting Action consists of specific Implementing Activities – IA. The implementation of these Activities will not and cannot close the sector’s gaps once and for all, but is expected to improve the skills situation across Europe in the sector and bring about expected impact in each objective.


The strategy is built in a way to allow a large degree of flexibility, taking into consideration latest trends and developments. While it is expected that all actions will be concluded by 2024, spin-offs have already started and will continue beyond the strategy’s completion.


Introduction to Progress Report


In 2020, the 1st year of implementation, first results were reached in 4 Supporting Actions, through 5 corresponding Implementing Activities. By end of 2021, first results were reached in an additional 4 Supporting Actions, through 11 Implementing Activities. These results are paving the way for more similar activities to be implemented by different sets of stakeholders across the EU striving to meet these objectives. 


Stakeholders’ activities are encouraged and monitored, and synergies are sought. 


The 2020-2021 Implementing Activities Progress Report is a concise report on each individual Implementing Activity with links to delivered outputs. 



Strategy Outline:



Progress Report: 



View an enlarged version



View an enlarged interactive version




How to read these tables


Activities are distinguished by colour to facilitate easy overview of the progress reached (darkest blue = first results delivered, light blue = on-going, pale blue = to be tackled). The progress report reflects each cell of a corresponding Implementing Activity of the strategy, and is therefore easier to be studied in combination with the matching strategy cells. Reporting cells clearly distinguish which actions were carried out in 2020, and which in 2021.


Main strategy implementers are the European Commission through DG DEFIS or supporting the EDSP, the Assets+ project on defence skills, and the Aerospace & Defence Pact for Skills. To facilitate monitoring and reporting, these are indicated accordingly in each separate cell below as COM/DEFIS/EDSP/Assets+/Pact. The respective funding used is indicated in grey.







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