Towards a Circular Economy

Skills for the Future empowers students to develop their entrepreneurial skills and innovate solutions to challenges related to climate change, the food system, and a sustainable supply of minerals and metals.


Students supported


Mini-companies created


Teachers reached


Mentors involved

  • Circular Economy in the Food System
  • Circular Economy in the Raw Materials Sector
  • Circular Economy and Climate Change
  • Circular Economy in the Manufacturing Industry
  • Circular Economy in the Urban Mobility Sector

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

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.

Communication Training

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.

Entrepreneurship Programme

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.
Become a mentor!

With the support of industry leaders, students experience what it takes to make an idea a reality. Industry mentors share their real-life experiences to build students’ financial literacy, communications and business development skills.

Skills for the Future Partners
Jakob Sadar (20), founder and CEO of OPS Technologies, developed his innovative #businessidea during the #SkillsfortheFuture programme.💡 Today, the company is producing an eco-friendly steel polishing paste made of bovine horn parts.♻️

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Skills4FutureEU photo