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By ETF - European Training Foundation
What is human capital development? How can skills contribute to our societies? How are education systems changing in Europe and beyond? We discuss with our guests about different topics related to the future of education, training and skills, inclusive education, skills for green jobs, lifelong learning and skills for the future labour market.

Do you have an interesting story about education? Do you have a new topic to suggest? Do you want to take part in Skills Factory? Write us: mlv[at]
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Currently playing episode

#15 - War and Education: from Kosovo to Ukraine


#19 - Young people are the solution
In the 19th episode of the Skills Factory podcast we speak about challenges that young people are facing when looking for a job and what are the main mechanisms that public authorities are introducing in the EU and beyond to tackle those challenges. In this conversation we will focus on an initiative called Youth Guarantee. What is it? What does it guarantee? And to whom? We answer these questions together with Cristina Mereuta, expert from European Training Foundation, and Dikensa Topi, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager at Tirana EYC 2022 - National Youth Congress of Albania. #EYY2022 #Skills4future #Skills4Change
July 29, 2022
#18 - Not in education nor employment: What's the problem?
The share of young people not in education, training nor in employment, or so called NEETs, is around 10% in the EU, with the highest rates in Italy, Greece and Spain, and the lowest rates in the Nordic countries. In the EU Neighbourhood, the share of NEETs varies between 20% and 35%. What does having too many NEETs actually mean for the economy and society? What are the reasons behind the decision to stay away from education and employment? How often is it a voluntary decision? Is there a formula that public authorities could use to increase participation of youth into the education and labour markets? Listen to our in-depth discussion with Ummuhan Bardak, ETF expert, in the 18th episode of Skills Factory.
June 30, 2022
#17 - (Re)construction of Ukraine: Green and digital
In this episode we talk to Iryna Shumik from the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and to Olena Bekh, Human Capital Development Expert from the European Training Foundation. The Russian invasion of Ukraine that started on 24 February 2022 has, according to the UN, affected the lives and wellbeing of more than 5.7 million school-aged children.  The deadly armed conflict has resulted in a severe problems with access to schooling and education. But at the end of April, president Zelensky formed the National Council for the Reconstruction of Ukraine, giving policy makers a clear signal to look ahead to the rebuilding of everything that has been destroyed during the military activities, including all education and training facilities. So what could the green (re)construction of education and training actually look like in Ukraine in the coming months and years? #StandWithUkraine
May 30, 2022
#16 - War and Education: Rebuilding Ukraine
When is the right moment to start thinking about the rebuilding and reopening of the education system in Ukraine? How long will it take for the teaching process to get back to normal? And what role can international donors play? And who should be in the lead? We discuss this with two people who took part in the rebuilding of education in Kosovo, Dr Anton Gojani from the Austrian Development Agency and Anthony Gribben, senior human capital development expert at the ETF. #WeStandWithUkraine
April 28, 2022
#14 - Vocational education: leaving no one behind?
How can the inclusive education help students to find a better job after the graduation? What was impact of COVID-19 pandemic on including students from the disadvantaged background? What role does the personalized training path play in including everyone into the learning? We find answers to those questions with Paolo Nardi, Cometa, Italy and discussed on what it takes to make an education institution inclusive.
April 26, 2022
#15 - War and Education: from Kosovo to Ukraine
In this episode we discuss the impact of war on education. The Russian aggression in Ukraine has led to the interruption of education and learning throughout the country. So what might education and training in Ukraine look like in the future? And most importantly, how and when will the rebuilding process start? As an example, we look at the armed conflict that happened in Kosovo nearly 25 years ago and try to understand what it takes to keep education going in the context of military actions, and what will it take to re-open the education when the shooting stops? We discuss it with two people that took part in the rebuilding of education in Kosovo, Dr Anton Gojani from the Austrian Development Agency and Anthony Gribben, human capital development expert at the ETF. #WeStandWithUkraine
March 25, 2022
#13 - Digital inclusion and the slow learning dream
Digitalisation and digital inclusion are high in the international agenda and more and more part of our lives.  What does digital inclusion mean in practice?  What is the role of digital inclusion in lifelong learning?  Are there outstanding stories about how to create a more digitally inclusive world?  Don't miss our new SkillsFactory episode!
February 24, 2022
#12 - Migration 2.0: Why migrants’ skills are important?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries have closed their borders and usual movements of migrants have been interrupted. According to OECD, migration flows to OECD countries declined by more than 30% in 2020, to about 3.7 million – the lowest level since 2003. This drop could be as much as 40%, depending on which factors are taken into account. What happened next? The supply chain crisis in many countries was exacerbated by skills shortages, especially the thousands of missing lorry drivers in UK or agriculture workers in Italy. The low-skilled and low-paid jobs (nurses, lorry drivers, logistics, supermarket and delivery workers, agriculture workers) are essential for our economies to work, and a big share of those jobs are filled in with labour migrants. We've seen the consequences of losing the low-skilled migrant labour force. In many countries we can see the impact that a total interruption of migration can have on the labour market. So did the COVID-19 crisis proved that our societies need labour migrants as much as labour migrants need us? How the lack of migrants' skills and competences will impact our economies in the future? And what will happen next with migration flows and the labour market?
December 17, 2021
#11 - The value of partnerships in education: 1+1=3
In this episode, we talk to Helene Overmeer, coordinator international projects at HMC, school for wood, furniture and interior professionals, in the Netherlands. And we also chat with Pirita Vuorinen, Senior Human Capital Development Expert and Coordinator for Engaging Enterprises in Skills Development, European Training Foundation. Helene and Pirita have been working together on international project boosting innovation in the wood sector. Their work focuses on smart specialisation, an approach which identifying and supports those areas where a region is already really good at. This is the case of Rivne, a region in Ukraine, having eloped an economy centred on woodworking. What led them to do this? Why did they decide to engage in this international cooperation activity? What were the benefits for the Netherlands and for Ukraine? And, last but not least, why is the smart specialisation approach so special and so effective?
November 25, 2021
#10 - How can we boost resilience in education?
What is resilience?  Why is it receiving more and more focus in EU policies and international development policy?  Can it be developed in the learning environment and if so how is the best way to do so?   In the tenth of the ETF podcast series we focus on what resilience means in the context of education and training and lifelong learning, and how we can boost the resilience of learners with special focus on the EU neighbouring countries and Lebanon in particular.
October 29, 2021
#9 - Artificial intelligence and lifelong learning
In this episode, we talk to Azizjon Azimi, the founder of Tajrupt Artificial Intelligence Academy in Tajikistan. For many years Azizjon studied in the US, and worked in Silicon Valley. One day he decided to quit his job and go home to create the first start-up in artificial intelligence in the whole of Central Asia. What led him to do this? Why did he decide to set-up an AI Academy in one of the poorest countries in the region? How can you have an AI strategy in a country where the internet connection ranks among the worst in the world? And, last but not least, how is he creating opportunities for lifelong learning and turning Tajikistan into a centre for AI? Listen to the latest episode of Skills Factory on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts and other major platforms!
September 23, 2021
#8 - Lessons from the past: Soviet heritage in education
The past teaches us about the present: history gives us the tools to understand better the past, and it gives us patterns to understand better current challenges.  The history of Soviet Union can teach us a lot. In this episode we want to understand what is the Soviet heritage in education and training systems. What was positive and what was negative in it? Can we still see some of its traces in the post-soviet countries, from Estonia to Uzbekistan, from Armenia to Belarus?  After 30 years of the dissolution of Soviet Union, are we able to give an objective evaluation?
July 30, 2021
#7 - Can Learning last forever?
Alain Dehaze, head of Adecco group, noted that 85% of jobs that we will do in 2030 are yet to be invented and reskilling and upskilling of workers is indispensable. And that’s when Lifelong learning concept kicks in. How can we all become lifelong learners? In this episode we will speak to a real lifelong learner with 35 years of experience in learning and getting new skills and we'll come up with some key success factors on how to learn throughout like and remain relevant at the competitive labour market of today. Discover more on our work here: 
June 25, 2021
#6 - Be the perfect job candidate: Tips from an employer
Listen to this episode and check on whether you are doing the right thing to be on demand on the job market.Do you want to learn five concrete tips on how to be a perfect job candidate on the competitive labour market of today? Do you want to know what are things you can change in your CV and your educational background that can help you to land on a dream job? We spoke to three successful youngsters and a representative of employers and formulated some very simple steps you could do to become a dream candidate for any employer. Listen to this episode and check on whether you are doing the right thing to be on demand on the job market.
May 28, 2021
#5 - Future of education in Eastern Europe: policy to practice
How do you like education in your country to be in the future? What are the problems you see in the system now? We asked these questions to three Youth European Ambassadors in the Eastern European countries and we addressed them to a senior policy maker, Lawrence Meredith from the European Commission. Listen what questions Nency Mkrtchyan from Armenia, Elene Kobaidze from Georgia, and Vikrot-Volodymyr Demko from Ukraine asked to Director for Neighbourhood East of European Commission, Lawrence Meredith, and take note of what the future of education could look like in the Eastern Europe and beyond.
May 12, 2021
#4 - How to start a green business?
Green enterprises and green entrepreneurs, or ecopreneurs, could become a win-win solution to address current economic challenges and tackle the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. In this episode we talk with Dragana, a real ecopreneur from Serbia, and Anthony, senior expert on entrepreneurship and enterprise skills. We'll try to understand what is needed to set up a green business and succeed.  More info:
April 30, 2021
#3 - Learning online: the new normal?
The education and training system was one of the most affected during the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020. It is estimated, according to UNESCO, that the school closures affected about 70% of the total learners’ population worldwide. Most of the education providers suddenly had to shift away from the classroom in many parts of the globe, to an online learning environment. We can’t tell yet whether the adoption of online learning will continue to persist in post-pandemic reality, and how such a shift would impact the education worldwide. But in this episode we’ll try to look at the online learning and we’ll answer the question whether online learning would be the new normal for education and training globally.  We discussed with Michael Lightfoot, Education expert and Albert Canigueral, Explorer of the future of work and digital platforms For more information, go to:
March 26, 2021
#2 - Skills for tomorrow: What can you do to be ready for the postpandemic world of work?
In this episode we discuss the skills that will be needed in the future world of work and how can people be ready for the constantly changing labour market. We also touch upon the new trends in the recruitment processes and how the unemployed people can get bigger chances to get a job. Our guests are Walter Vandervelde, Professor Creativity and Innovation at Erasmus University College Brussels and with Ummuhan Bardak, Labour market expert at ETF. For more information, go to:
February 26, 2021
#1 - Inclusive education: a myth or a problem?
The Covid-19 pandemic has been the biggest disruption for the world of education and learning. Face-to-face classes stopped for more than 1.2 billion students worldwide. At least, 463 million of school learners could not be reached by digital and online learning. The need to be inclusive and give access to education becomes even more important after the crisis. But inclusive learning especially in the post-Covid world, is it a myth or a challenge to be tackled by the countries worldwide? We talk to Poornima Luthra, Teaching Faculty from Copenhagen Business School and Cristina Mereuta, Labour Market Expert from European Training Foundation. Host: Maria Lvova.  For more information, go to:
January 28, 2021