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ACCA welcomes the publication of the long-awaited “New Skills Agenda for Europe”


10 Jun 2016


Euro & Finance
Social Europe & Jobs

-       The new EU  strategy is a vital step in improving the skills that young people need to start or develop a successful career, says the global accountancy body-

Dr Mary Bishop , Director of Learning at ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) says: “ACCA fully shares the underlying philosophy of the new EU skills strategy, which is about  bridging the gap between the labour market and education. At a time where skills are so decisive for innovation capacity, productivity and competitiveness, it was worrying to hear at a recent conference organised by ACCA and PwC with MEP Dlabajova and the Dutch Presidency  that 72% of CEOs are concerned about finding staff with key skills, and that many SMEs are also facing the same issue. “

ACCA acknowledges that addressing the skills gap is a long process and not an easy task, requiring a lot of political willingness. But we also see the new Skills Agenda as a good stimulating step towards bringing member states and people together to share best practices and cooperate.

Mary Bishop explains: “The key priorities  identified in the new skills agenda are very close to ACCA’s heart. Improving the quality and relevance of skills acquisition, making skills and qualifications more visible and comparable, reaching a better understanding of skills needs and trends in the labour market to facilitate career choices - all these elements are all crucial for giving today's young people the workplace skills they will need”.

As a global professional body,  ACCA supports the facilitation of portability, understanding and comparability of qualifications. We would therefore welcome further better benchmarking of the skills needed in the current, dynamic workplace environment, and look forward to the forthcoming proposals on Europass.

Mary Bishop underlines: “In particular, we feel that improving the information available to young people about their career choices is of central importance. While going to university is one route that school leavers can take, those young people who do not choose that path should also be informed about alternative options for entering professions. We see this improvement as involving the provision of more guided support, rather than simply providing greater quantities of information.”

ACCA also welcomes the strong focus on developing the digital skills that will enable young people to access digital education.

Mary Bishop points out:  “Exploring the creation of e-learning courses for the dissemination of basic entrepreneurial knowledge is core to ACCA’s philosophy. In 2015, we launched our own global online learning platform - ACCA-X - allowing anyone, anywhere in the world, to access finance and accounting courses. We just celebrated its first anniversary with about 100,000 enrolments worldwide, reaching learners in 230 countries and territories . However, we are aware that there is a significant un-served group of learners who are unable to access the courses due to a lack of digital or reading skills”.

It is also important to remember that digitisation impacts on the whole skills agenda. For example, the principles behind the free provision of the ACCA-X Introductory and Intermediate courses were to give people considering a career in accounting  a chance to learn the basic principles of accounting, to experience some of the tasks undertaken in the workplace, and to understand the requirements of a professional qualification. We feel that this gives people a solid basis on which to base their career decision, and gives them skills that they can use in any future career . We thus feel that a review of the skills framework, particularly if carried out alongside a survey of best practice, would be really valuable”, Mary Bishop adds.

Developing appropriate skills for the workplace is key to effective use of resources and competitiveness, and this is true across the global work landscape. We look forward to future collaboration with the European Commission and other stakeholders on access to professions, especially  through digital learning”, Mary Bishop concludes.


For further information:

Cecile Bonino , tel: +32 (0) 2 286 11 37or

Notes to Editors

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. It offers business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 178,000 members and 455,000 students in 181 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 95 offices and centres and more than 7,110 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. It believes that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. ACCA’s core values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and it ensures that through its range of qualifications, it prepares accountants for business. ACCA seeks to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating its qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. More information is here:


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