A glimpse of the ASA’s activity during 2023 and a look towards 2024

The year 2023, offered ASA significant opportunities to plan and implement broad initiatives and foster networking that resonate with its core objectives and mission.

The ASA’s focus stayed on the upskilling and reskilling of automotive professionals, fostering intelligence development, and encouraging dialogue among partners and stakeholders in the automotive domain at all levels: regional, national, and European levels.

Some of the ASA initiatives are summarized below to offer a flavour about a dynamic and rich year dedicated to skills which set the direction for the various and numerous plans for 2024!

Update from Projects

The year commenced with the full launch of two new projects: PASS (Project for the Assessment and Support of Key Skills/Competences) and FLAMENCO (Forward Looking Approaches to Green Mobility Ecosystem Network Collaboration).

PASS centers on evaluating and reinforcing essential competencies among students and employees within the automotive and mobility ecosystem and beyond. The project aims to enhance lifelong learning and career paths by developing specialized tools for assessing, training, and piloting initiatives on key skills and competencies. In February, the project partners completed the desk research phase, resulting in a comprehensive study on current key competence methodologies. Read the full report here. Currently the project aims to pilot the developed assessment models and assess more than 100 individuals together with 10 assessors which will be trained.

Additionally, FLAMENCO Project, a collaboration among multiple partners: ACEA, APTE, ASA, EDUCAM, ISCN, ITC, OLIFE, Transilvania IT Cluster, TUG and VSB-TUO who is also the coordinator – conducted targeted events and a comprehensive survey involving over 100 respondents to analyze collaboration needs..

It will pilot forward-looking approaches to facilitate sustainable collaboration in skills intelligence within the Automotive-Mobility Ecosystem and beyond. The outcomes of this project will support the work of ASA and its sub-working groups and will be advocated as recommended models within other Pact for Skills communities.

Project FLAMENCO proposed an improved ASA structure and ways of working for ASA members which will be piloted and further improved during the year of 2024. You can study the new ASA structure and other related models here: Results – FLAMENCO (project-flamenco.eu).

Figure 1: New ASA Structure

Regarding the new ASA Structure, all previous activities will be merged and categorized under the new 4 topics of: 1) technological topics; 2) education & training & promotion of initial/LLL learning; 3) regional collaboration & implementation; and 4) diversity & attractiveness & social elements. The ASA partners will have possibility to join the topic committees to steer the working groups and task forces within the topics. The ASA partners will also have the opportunity, within the topics, to propose and launch new working groups and task forces to jointly collaborate with other members on collective goals. The collaboration may include concrete activities from the different types of activities such as:

Figure 2: Groups Possible Activities

Other projects continued to bring their results such as aLIFEca, ALBATTS, or CYBERENG.

Project ALBATTS as a blueprint project co-funded by ERASMUS+ shows how multiple partners work on collective goals regarding skills intelligence and re-/up-skilling in the battery sector. This brings mutual benefits and concrete results, such as:

October 17th marked the date of the final conference of the project aLIFEca, which took place at the Congress Center at NEWTON University in Prague. The event was dedicated to project results overview. The aLIFEca MOOC course is available for free of charge at the Learning Platform – to access the course, go here and register.

The project CYBERENG developed a set of intellectual outputs leading towards the definition of new skills/competences and knowledge, training material of EuroSPI/ASA Certified Cyber Security Manager and Engineer. The content has been co-developed and reviewed in partnership with SOQRATES which is a group of leading automotive and electronics companies and consultants that work together in areas of ASPICE, functional safety, cybersecurity, and new areas such as machine learning and AI in future. More details: HERE.

Project RESIST brought to the mobility professionals valuable outputs. Courses from the RESIST Project may be found on the ASA Learning Platform: Decarbonisation in the industry, Energy savings, Circular Economy Fundamentals, Cyber security for employees, Understanding Digital Transformation. Guidelines for SMEs in the MTA ecosystem, Introduction to Cyber-Security.  Access to the courses is available when registering to the platform.

The whole list of projects and initiatives associated with ASA may be found here: INITIATIVES – AUTOMOTIVE SKILLS ALLIANCE (automotive-skills-alliance.eu).

Events and Study Visits

ASA views various events and study visits as an excellent means to exchange knowledge and expertise while showcasing real-life successful initiatives. In line with this approach, the Automotive Skills Alliance and Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH collaborated to organize the first ASA Study visit to the Stuttgart Region on June 14-15. The agenda announced various activities, including a visit to Bosch GMBH to explore the Mission to Move program within the Bosch learning company. Additionally, participants toured the assembly line at Mercedes-Benz AG, engaging in discussions about future workforce upskilling requirements. At the Motor Vehicle Competence Center of the Stuttgart Region Chamber of Crafts, attendees exchanged insights on Vocational Education and Training (VET) and apprenticeships. For more details about the event, read the extended article in the ASA Website NEWS section.

ASA also supported and helped to organize Batteries Teachers and Trainers forum formerly organized by project ALBATTS and now sustained via ERASMUS+ project CaBaTT. There were already 2 events organized, events focused on provision of state of the art information on EU battery sector to the VET teachers so that the knowledge can be transferred to the students. One event was organized in Sweden, Skelleftea and revolved around battery manufacturing and Northvolt gigafactory and the second event was organized in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic by ŠKODA Auto and ŠKODA Academy and revolved around electric vehicles manufacturing and electromobility. The last event was organized in Bergen, Norway and offered programme focused on battery use in maritime applications.

Regional Development  

Within a complex framework of transforming the automotive-mobility landscape, regional synergies and exchange of best practices remain instrumental for the process of transition in the sector. That is why the ASA’s approach to collaboration and the implementation of initiatives is closely tied to regional development. In the evolution of the automotive-mobility ecosystem, European regions hold significant importance. By working together with the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and its Automotive Regions Alliance (ARA), regions underscore the need to take into account the territorial impact of European regulations.

Throughout 2023, ASA regions worked together on how to best approach the issue of skills in their respective territories. Building on the ASA network support, regions met several times at different occasions, such as the Regional Implementation working group meetings, study visit, the ARA annual conference in Pamplona and other ASA events and conferences. Regions of ASA, particularly Basilicata, Castilla-y-León, Grand Est, Lodzkie, Moravia-Silesia, Stuttgart regions under the lead partner, Trnava region organized the second ASA workshop during the European Week of Regions and Cities. The workshop, featured political representatives from regions, the President of the Basilicata Region, and experts notably from the Adecco Group and Lodz region. The objective was to develop ideas on how to get on with green and digital transition, skills and training for sustainable automotive and energy sectors and consequences of transition on skills needs and employment.

On a more practical note, ASA regions have been introduced opportunities to utilize results of the ASA projects, notably widening the training offered in the battery fields and brining regional stakeholders in battery sector together thanks to the ALBATTS projects. Building on the ASA-wide partnership base, regions are the first to be introduced to opportunities to build bottom-up actions in cooperation with the companies or organizations involved in the ASA.

Moreover, the political support of the regional position was reinforced through a collaboration agreement with the Automotive Regions Alliance (ARA). Since the establishment of the ARA last year in Leipzig, the ASA has been considered a pragmatic body of collaboration on the skills agenda, which is one of the basic topic pillars of the just and sustainable transition of the automotive-mobility ecosystem. This year in November, a Working Agreement on a Strategic Partnership for a Just and Sustainable Transition of European Automotive Regions was signed in Pamplona between ARA, ASA, and the CoR automotive intergroup (CoRAI). Signing parties express their support for up- and reskilling in the European automotive ecosystem and call for the EU – wide cooperation of the automotive regions and partners from industry, SMEs, education providers, policymakers, social partners. The regional collaboration shall be built on projects and best practice exchange, based on the ASA skills intelligence while jointly calling for Just Transition Mechanism for automotive regions fully reflecting on budgetary needs of affected territories.

In 2024, regions of ASA expressed their strong interest in continuing the cooperation, within the ASA and beyond. Within the new structure and in light of ongoing and newly approved ASA projects, regions will have chance to deepen the cooperation, in sense of further exploring various technical topics but also group around organization of an interesting events or event propose new ideas for working together. Together with the CoR´s  networks, ASA regions will continue collaboration for advocating strong Europe, that will carry the messages of the European Year of Skills in the future.

EU Support and Collaboration

All along the year, ASA’s initiatives have been supported by the European Commission, showing once again the strong focus and openness to cooperation that the EU offers to the Skills development topics and the high attention provided to the European professionals. In Summer, ASA ‘s president and vice-president were glad to meet with Commissioners Nicolas Schmit and Thierry Breton. Together with other automotive sector representatives, they discussed how to facilitate the social aspects of the transitions as well as the challenges faced by the ecosystem in this fast-moving transformational trend. Skills development through educational programs and training remain crucial in addressing the anticipated skills needs and preparing the future workforce for the common purpose of “not leaving anyone behind in this transition” as mentioned multiple times by the Commission.

Strategic Partnerships

The Automotive Skills Alliance (ASA) and European Battery Alliance Academy (EBAA) of EIT InnoEnergy have signed, in November 2022,  a Memorandum of Understanding on a strategic partnership that will upskill and provide additional skills to the current mobility and battery industry to meet the demands of the growing sector. As one of the results of the collaboration partners reviewed each other the databases (one from ALBATTS project, other from EBAA) of job roles and skills description in the battery sector to ensure content-wise alignment. ASA and EIT Skills Institute (formed EBAA) also focused in 2023 to ensure connected training courses offer. The first result of this activity is a set of free training courses included in the Learning Platform.

In November 2023, a Working Agreement was signed between the Automotive Skills Alliance (ASA), the Automotive Regions Alliance (ARA), and the Interregional Group “Future of the Automotive Industry” of the European Committee of the Regions (CoRAI). This strategic document shows a common vision and a positive step towards a sustainable green and digital transition in the European regions and marks a step forward for the automotive industry and significant advancement for all automotive regions regarding support and cooperation towards strong regional sustainable development in Europe. Find out more- LINK.

Other important events

Apart of the projects, study visits initiatives and collaborative actions with the European Commission, ASA participated in multiple events during 2023. Some examples are listed below:

  • 3 March 2023 – The roundtable on social dimension of the Transition Pathways for Mobility, was organized in Brussels, Belgium, by the European Commission The event aimed to identify the actions needed to achieve the twin transition and to give a better understanding of the scale of the transition. Participants in the meeting were industry associations from the domain, national and European social partners, regions and European Institutions.
  • 5 June 2023 – The ASA President and Vice-President were glad to meet with Commissioners Nicolas Schmit and Thierry Breton in Brussels. Together with other automotive representatives, they discussed how to facilitate the social aspects of the transitions. Education and training are considered to  remain crucial in addressing the anticipated skills needs and preparing the future workforce.
  • 7 June 2023 – 2nd Plenary Session of the Batteries Europe, Brussels, Belgium – The ASA President participated in an interesting panel discussion focused on the importance of skills, training and education in the battery sector. During the discussions, he highlighted also the available training offers (MOOCs) in the battery sector that are accessible for free. These battery training courses were developed in collaboration of ALBATTS – Alliance for Batteries Technology, Training and Skills project, EIT InnoEnergy Skills Institute and the Automotive Skills Alliance.
  • 8-9 June 2023 – Making Skills Count, Brussels, Belgium – The conference was organized by the European Commission as flagship event of the Year of Skills. It brought together key stakeholders to discuss well-timed topics, share ideas and initiatives in order to address skills related challenges, to support up-/re-skilling activities and European lifelong learning culture.  Jakub Stolfa represented Automotive Skills Alliance at the personal meeting of Pact for Skills  Large-scale Partnership (PfS LSP) organized during the conference, and to shared best practices among PfS from different industrial ecosystems.
  • 19 June 2023Cedefop’s 14th Brussels seminar, Online – The event addressed one of the European topics of interest: the skills necessary to boost innovation, the role of vocational education and training (VET) and skills anticipation approaches to meet the goals of the European Green Deal (EGD) and of the Green Deal Industrial Plan. Anders Norberg and Jakub Stolfa, ERASMUS+ ALBATTS and Automotive Skills Alliance presented during the panel battery-related topics and results of the ALBATTS project.
  • 11 July 2023 –  Driving Skills Transformation In A Changing Industry, Online – The Roundtable was organised by the FAMN – French Automotive & Mobility Network : the French mobility sector Brussels-based representation, which brings together the PFA – Plateforme automobile and four mobility clusters based in France (CARA Transport & Mobility SystemsID4CARNextMovePôle Véhicule du Futur). In the context of the European Year of Skills, ASA actively participated in the event and supported the discussion, bringing in messages regarding the global approach to the challenges presented by the need to match the green transition with new skills.
  • 31 August 2023 – EuroSPI 2023, Grenoble, France – The ASA President had the pleasure to have a keynote speech in front of the EuroSPI community, consisting of the automotive industry, education, and research organizations. He presented a vision of collaboration on the skills agenda, introduced the Automotive Skills Alliance and the FLAMENCO project, and involved in discussions around further topics and ways of collaboration via ASA. There were also interesting presentations and workshops during the conference focusing on the latest news in automotive SYS/SW development and quality and related skills needs.
  • 21 September 2023 – Mangualde Visit, Portugal – ASA President, Jakub Stolfa and ASA Vice-President, Anders Norberg visited the Mangualde municipality, one of the members that supported ASA initiatives over time. The event included visits  to Agrupamento de Escolas de Mangualde, Mangual Técnica, and Stellantis plant. ASA representatives had the opportunity to discover best learning practices of the STEM education and decided together with their host organization on further actions that can be implemented together to support re-/up-skilling initiatives for the benefit of the automotive ecosystem.
  • 18 October 2023 – EARPA FORM Forum, Brussels, Belgium – At the EARPA- European Automotive Research Partners Association FORM Forum, Jakub Stolfa, President of the ASA, participated in a panel on Skills for sustainability, for the Automotive and Mobility sector. Great insights were exchanged with the other speakers A clear call for action was identified at the end of the event for EARPA and its members as it is essential to jointly discuss and develop skills needed for a resilient and sustainable mobility system for all.
  • 9 November 2023 – 2nd Automotive Regions Alliance Annual Conference, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain – A Working Agreement was signed between the Automotive Skills Alliance (ASA), the Automotive Regions alliance (ARA), and the Interregional Group “Future of the Automotive Industry” of the European Committee of the Regions (CoRAI). This strategic document shows a common vision to jointly ensure a just and sustainable transition of the European automotive regions. 
Looking ahead to 2024…

In 2024, the emphasis remains on perpetuating ongoing initiatives while actively seeking and executing fresh initiatives to cultivate skills that equip professionals within the automotive-mobility ecosystem for the digital and green shift. The ASA partners will engage in upcoming events, the Pact for Skills activities, new project proposal ideas, project initiations, such as the TRIREME Blueprint project for Automotive-Mobility Ecosystem, upcoming use of the results from existing projects, tools for up-/re-skilling, such as Skills Hub, finding solutions to common challenges and further exciting activities coming from the ASA collaboration. Selected activities are summarized in the following overview of events, projects and collaboration.

Events: The agenda includes new study visits (e.g. in Grand Est) to exchange experiences, two Batt VET Forums aiming to broaden the horizons for European professionals in battery sector, stakeholder forums like the H2 VET Forum to disseminate the latest updates in the field, exchange on the best practices and challenges on the regional level during the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as the collaboration with ARA on specific actions will be taken on the regional level.

Projects: New projects will kick off. One example in this respect is the TRIREME blueprint Project – the 4 year ERASMUS+ project that is planned to start in Q1 2024. The coordinator of the project is ASA; the full project partners are composed of 31 ASA partners. Its main objectives are to support a strategic approach to sectoral cooperation on skills, to define Skills Intelligence Strategy, to define the “core” curricula and training programmes and to design a long-term action plan for the progressive roll-out of the project’s deliverables after the project’s closure. The TRIREME project scope is to follow up on the previous work done by DRIVES, ALBATTS, and other blueprint projects, and to work on updated skills intelligence and training courses for the whole Automotive-Mobility Ecosystem, while focusing on the topics such as Digitalization; Sustainability and Circular Economy; Resilience of Value Chain, or New Business Models.

Twin transition and its social aspects on the workforce in the ecosystem will be an essential part of the project. The project will also analyze and reflect on current educational and training challenges and needs, such as flexibility of the training system, new methods of course delivery, training effectiveness, and so on. The important part of the whole project is the rollout of the project results to the European automotive region, as well as to gather best practices and support peer learning activities among regions.

Collaboration: Next year, the focus also goes on internal collaboration as ASA plans to roll out new methodologies identified within the FLAMENCO project which brings fresh and effective approaches to collaboration among the ASA Partners.