On the 10/12/2019, the closing conference of the European project FRESH (Agrifood Open Educational Resources for Human Capital Managers) was held in Paris. This project was launched in 2017 and is funded by the European Commission’s ERASMUS+ programme. It aims to strengthen the competitiveness of companies in the European agri-food sector by providing very practical training to HR managers in the implementation of a salary and recruitment strategy tailored to their needs. This event was the opportunity for the French and European representatives of the agri-food and training sectors to assess the actions and tools put in place.
Even today, few companies still consider human resources as a real lever for competitiveness and growth. They are still very often perceived as non-strategic support functions. According to a survey of HRDs conducted in several European countries participating in the FRESH project (Spain, Greece, France, Cyprus and Slovenia), 39% of EU companies are affected by the mismatch between the skills sought and their real needs. The HR managers interviewed also reported a lack of training and tools in terms of attracting and retaining talents, but also in terms of engaging employees.
This, among others, was some of the topics debated and talked in the Final Conference in Paris. During the Conference, all partners of the FRESH project from the respective countries, 3 associations of agri-food companies (ANIA for France, FEDACOVA for Spain and SEVT for Greece), an expert in Human Resources Management (Fundación Equipo Humano in Spain), an information technology developer (EDITC in Cyprus) and 2 vocational training centers (BIC Ljubljana and NEC Cerknica), Slovenians all 2) exposed the results obtained throughout the 2 years of implementation.
Some of the outputs were the European Standard of Professional Competences (NEC); an overview of the HR needs for the HR manager in the agro-food sector in partners’ countries (Spain, France, Slovenia and Greece) (NEC); the development of a curriculum on strategic HRM for small businesses in the agro-food sector (FEH) and the presentation of the Open Source Learning Management System (LMS) (EDITC). The results obtained will allow digital training, particularly adapted to the needs of SMEs which are faced with a highly competitive labor market, in a context of high skill needs. These tools enabled them to build a real HR strategy to attract and retain talents.
A final cocktail took place where both attendants and FRESH partners were able to debate and exchange ideas of future possible challenges faced by the sector, including further strategies at HR level ; lifelong learning systems in companies and possible solutions for skills mismatch and differences among EU countries.