About Skills for the Future
Skills for the Future is a groundbreaking secondary education programme, fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs in Europe; empowering them with the insights, skills and confidence to innovate solutions to the numerous and complex challenges ahead.
Skills for the Future is an initiative of EIT RawMaterials, EIT Food, EIT Climate, EIT Urban Mobility, and EIT Manufacturing, five Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), which are part of a larger network supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to spur innovation and entrepreneurship to overcome some of Europe’s greatest challenges. The project is executed in partnership with Junior Achievement Europe, a leader in entrepreneurial education that connects students across the continent with industry mentors.
Through challenge-based learning, Skills for the Future empowered almost 2600 students across Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, and Slovenia from 2019 to 2021. In each country, students are brought into the EIT ecosystem of industry, academia, and research as they focus on specific themes: urban mobility in Bulgaria, climate change in Hungary, food in Italy, manufacturing in Portugal, and raw materials in Slovenia.
Bringing together a unique combination of academic expertise, hands-on problem solving and mentorship from industry leaders, Skills for the Future offers students and their teachers a new mode of learning that centers students as the source of ingenuity and vision.
With mentorship from industry leaders, more than 1000 students across the EU take on the challenge to build a more sustainable European society. Skills for the Future is comprised of four main elements:
- Idea Camps
- Communication Training
- EU Skills for the Future Summit
- Entrepreneurship Programme
At the beginning of the academic term in each country, 100 students from approximately 20 schools gather for an intensive 24 to 48-hour innovation exercise. Student teams tackle real-world challenges set by industry leaders who then serve as mentors as students brainstorm, research and develop innovative products or services to meet the challenge.
After developing their innovations, Idea Camp teams receive expert guidance and hands-on coaching to pitch their ideas to investors and the public. With insights from academics, science journalists and successful entrepreneurs, students learn to translate complex, scientific ideas into compelling narratives.
EU Skills for the Future Summit
Following the Idea Camps, the top student teams from each country gather to showcase their innovations and collaborate across cultures to develop a vision for a sustainable Europe. At the summit, students receive further training to identify their core skills and qualities and how to utilise them effectively as part of a team. Meanwhile, their teachers receive training to incorporate challenge-based learning in their classrooms.
During the remainder of the academic year, approximately 300 students in each country work in teams to create mini-companies offering products or services that solve challenges related to raw materials, food and climate change. Some students may choose to further develop innovations generated during Idea Camps, while others will innovate new products or services. Student teams are paired with industry mentors who work with the students as they develop their entrepreneurial instincts, financial literacy, business development and communications skills. At the end of the school year, student mini-companies compete in national and European competitions.
About Girls Go Circular
Girls Go Circular supports schoolgirls, and more broadly, any student, to develop their digital and leadership skills while learning about the circular economy and finding solutions for a sustainable future. The project’s methodology is based on a learning-by-doing approach which engages students in different activities such as online research, entrepreneurial role-plays or challenge-based exercises.
The online learning platform developed in the framework of the project – the “Circular Learning Space” – offers students the option of choosing between different learning modules on topics like e-waste, climate change, food, or robotics. These modules are based on a learning-by-doing approach, transferring knowledge and skills through an interactive, challenge-based structure, offers the participating students the opportunity to:
- Acquire knowledge on the circular economy,
- Gain insights into the steps taken by businesses towards the circular economy,
- Improve their digital and entrepreneurial skills,
- Come up with their own solution to societal and environmental challenges.
The Girls Go Circular project supports Action 13 – Encourage women’s participation in STEM of the European Commission’s Digital Education Action Plan and empowers schoolgirls in European countries defined as modest and moderate innovators (according to the European Innovation Scoreboard) to become future leaders and entrepreneurs.
Women and Girls in STEM Forum
Bringing together policymakers, industry leaders, and students to advance the European agenda on gender equality in STEM education and careers.
Every year, Girls Go Circular – in collaboration with the European Commission, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC) – organises the Women and Girls in STEM Forum. This annual event has become a platform for leading voices of students, teachers, mentors, policymakers, researchers and industry working towards a truly equal and inclusive future of Europe. Over the past two years, the Women and Girls in STEM Forum has attracted over 1,500 participants to identify key actions to bridge the gender gap in STEM and ICT, dismantle gender stereotypes and empower girls to pursue career dreams in science and technology.
Girls and young women have a pivotal role in the event and inspire their peers and the audience, engaging in discussions on eliminating gender bias from STEM with EU policymakers, scientists, and entrepreneurs and sharing success stories to inspire the future EU action on these themes. The Women and Girls in STEM Forum also celebrates the participation of thousands of girls from 13 European countries in the Girls Go Circular project and offer them the opportunity to receive mentoring from leading professionals.
Get to know more about EIT, EIT Climate-KIC, Skills for the Future and Girls Go Circular clicking on the below links: