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All about ESCO

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ESCO is a main starting point of the BioComp project. But what is ESCO? What is the aim of ESCO? And, why is it needed. The most important basic are discussed in this article.

ESCO stands for European Skills/Competencies, qualifications and Occupations. It is a European Commission project, run by Directorate General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL). It is available in an online portal and can be consulted free of charge. Its first full version (ESCO v1) was published on the 28th of July 2017. The latest version of the classification can be downloaded or retrieved through the ESCO API.

What is ESCO?

ESCO (European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations) is the European multilingual classification of Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations.  

ESCO works as a dictionary, describing, identifying and classifying professional occupations, skills, and qualifications relevant for the EU labour market and education and training.  Different online platforms are able to use ESCO for services like matching jobseekers to jobs on the basis of their skills, suggesting trainings to people who want to reskill or upskill etc.

 ESCO provides descriptions of 2942 occupations and 13.485 skills linked to these occupations, translated into 27 languages (all official EU languages plus Icelandic, Norwegian and Arabic). Over time, it will also display the qualifications awarded in the education and training systems from Member States, as well as qualifications issued by private awarding bodies. 

What is the aim of ESCO?

The aim of ESCO is to support job mobility across Europe and therefore a more integrated and efficient labour market, by offering a “common language” on occupations and skills that can be used by different stakeholders on employment and education and training topics. 

Why is ESCO needed?

People change jobs and employers more frequently than in the past, new skills are regularly needed and geographical and occupational mobility is increasing. Online talent platforms, such as job boards and social media, are transforming the way recruitment takes place. Employers and job seekers increasingly use digital tools to publish and apply for job offers or to look for and offer training opportunities. Companies and education and training providers need clear and updated information on skills and qualifications to better manage talent and to address skills gaps on education and training programmes.

ESCO concepts and descriptions can help people to understand:

  • what knowledge and skills are usually required when working in a specific occupation;
  • what knowledge, skills and competences are obtained as a result of a specific qualification;
  • what qualifications are demanded or often requested by employers from those searching for work in a specific occupation.

The use of ESCO concepts can also facilitate the transition to this ever-growing digital labour market, by offering a common “language” on occupations and skills that makes these digital tools communicate and work better together.

Do you want to know more about ESCO?

To discover more about how ESCO can be used, check out our communication materials!

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