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Launch of the European Defence Skills Partnership

High Level Conference: "Launch of the European Defence Skills Partnership" -  19 June 2018, Brussels


The European Defence Skills Partnership was launched at a high level conference in Brussels on 19 June. Organised by the European Commission, the event marked a milestone in the implementation of the European Defence Action Plan in addressing skills under the Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills initiative.


More than 100 eminent representatives from industry and associations, academia, research organisations and national and regional authorities gathered to discuss challenges and trends in the availability of skills for the defence sector and ways to close the gaps.


Panel participants agreed it was critical to take on these challenges collectively in order to succeed and to go cross-border  and build an ecosystem of capabilities and skills. 


Objectives identified by the panel include: 


  • Skills are built around capability programmes and big companies give substance to industrial cooperation through developing partnerships.
  • There is a need to tap into the potential of, in particular SMEs and start-ups, and take advantage of the innovation driven by the civil side.
  • Efforts need to be strengthened to render the sector more attractive to young graduates and women. 


Different best practices that aim to achieve these objectives were highlighted throughout the event. 


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





09.00      Registration 



09.30      Philippe Brunet, Director Space Policy, Copernicus and Defence – Welcome to attendees   



09.35      High level panel – Towards a European defence skills strategy, chaired and moderated by Lowri Evans, DG GROWTH Director-General  


Lowri Evans   

Antoine Bouvier, CEO, MBDA

Martin Sion, CEO, Safran Electronics & Defence
Giovanni Soccodato, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Leonardo SpA


Discussion followed by Q&A 



11.00      Break 



11.30      Panel discussion – Key areas for the European Defence Skills Partnership - EDSP, moderated by Alain Alexis, Head of Unit for Defence, DG GROWTH 


European skills strategy – Alain Alexis  


Education and training – Bert-Jan Buiskool, Senior Expert, Ockham IPS

Erasmus+ funding opportunities for the defence sector – Alison Crabb, Head of Unit for Skills and Qualifications, DG Employment


Addressing skills for defence SMEs at regional level and the potential of European Structural and Investment Funds – Francois Leraillez, Expert, Fondation Agissons pour l'emploi – F.A.P.E.


Synergies with relevant initiatives and instruments and fostering the knowledge triangle – Klaus Bolving, CEO Defence & Security Cluster – CenSec


Discussion followed by Q&A 



13.00      Networking Lunch 



14.00      The way forward in implementing solutions on skills in defence – Elektra Tsigaridas, Policy Officer, DG GROWTH






14.20      1st EDSP WORKING GROUP MEETING – closed session in parallel meeting room until 17.30 (with a break from 15.30 to 16.00 for participation to the networking session) 


14.20      Erasmus+ Sector Skills Alliances Lot 3 for implementing the Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills – Felix Rohn, Policy Officer, DG Employment


14.30      Hands-on information on how to prepare an application – Vytaute Ezerskiene, Project Manager, EACEA



15.15      Matchmaking for consortia building for the Erasmus+ Sector Skills Alliance Lot 3 for defence technologies call – open to all event participants