Pedro Dominginhos sees real challenges ahead

New threat to Brussels’ bazooka: “resident population manifestly insufficient to respond”

Country needs to attract foreign workers and adopt strategy of ‘reskilling’

Another cloud has suddenly become apparent over the landscape which was due to be transformed by Brussels’ bazooka of billions of payback-free euros.

Pedro Dominguinhos, president of the national commission of ‘accompaniment of the PRR (Plan for Recovery and Resilience)’ has decided that “the population existing in Portugal is manifestly insufficient to respond” to all the projects that have to be implemented.

His solution: attract foreign workers (for which immigration obstacles have already been lifted) and adopt a strategy of ‘reskilling’.

According to jornaleconomico online (JM) “the lack of workers and competences is one of the greatest challenges for the implementation not just of the PRR, but of PT2030 and other projects that businesses have in course”.

“Retaining talent” (no indication here of whether this means talented people are seen to be leaving the country suddenly) and “adopting a strategy of reskilling to prepare the business fabric for this movement of transformation” are other objectives.

“One of the greatest challenges we have” is the level of  “competences of human resources”, said Mr Dominguinhos, who managed in one fairly stark sentence to show up the PS prime minister’s assertions that ‘never before has Portugal had such qualified young people’ coming through into the employment market.

Thus, instead of this hugely competent lake of qualifications that Portugal was meant to have to choose from, “we are in front of a significant challenge”, stresses the man who took over from António Costa Silva (originally in charge of the PRR commission of accompaniment, but later ‘promoted’ to minister of economy and the Sea).

“We need to find alternative resources” (meaning people), he said, “and happily we have the financial resources to allow us to attract these people”… albeit from other countries.

“We have to have the capacity to retain and train”, Elsa Henriques, a member of the jury of Mobilising Agendas added. It is an “opportunity that is being given to companies” and these “have to take advantage to make the jump” necessary”.

Rui Rocha, director-general of CENTIMFE – the technology centre for industry and moulds, special tools and plastics – told JM that “what is being demanded of the business fabric (of this country) is permanent adaptation and a very accelerated rhythm”. The question of people is central, he told the online.

“We are not just lacking people and competences, but principally we are lacking people who can accept this transformational process that we are living through. It is very hard to implement transformation in a business if there is no involvement from the teams (…) It’s not enough to put in money, transformation needs to happen…”

Making this ‘leap towards the future’ even more ‘challenging’, he added, is the difficulty in accessing raw materials.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com