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About Cedefop

Cedefop: helping develop the right policies to provide the right skills

Cedefop, (the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training) founded (1) in 1975 and based in Greece since 1995, supports development of European vocational education and training (VET) policies and contributes to their implementation.

Why is that important?

Europe’s strategy for 2020 (2) is a route for smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth through knowledge and innovation, which sets an employment rate target of 75%.

The success of this strategy depends on the skills of Europe’s workforce. Enterprises need people with the skills required to compete and provide high-quality goods and services.

People need the right qualifications to find jobs. People with low levels of or no qualification are nearly three times more likely to be unemployed than those with high qualifications. In the EU, around 75 million people, nearly a third of the working population, have low levels of or no qualification. Too many young people, around 15%, leave school without any qualifications.

VET provides people with skills.

Around half of the EU’s population acquires their first job-related skills through VET. Many more go on to develop those skills and to learn new ones through continuing training and other learning at the workplace. This is increasingly important as Europe’s workforce is getting older, but changes to technology and jobs are coming faster.

If the EU is to have the right skills to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow, training must be of high quality. The right polices need to be in place to ensure that people learn the right things; that their skills, no matter if they have acquired them in the formal training system or by working are recognised and that they can have the training they need when they need it.

Cedefop is helping the European Commission, EU Member States and the social partners to develop the right European VET policies.

What Cedefop does

The right VET policies depend on understanding how economies, societies and people are changing.

Cedefop works to strengthen European cooperation and provide the evidence on which to base European VET policy. Cedefop’s added value is the high quality of its comparative analyses and expertise gathered through research and networking, which are used to:

  • Provide technical advice and propose ideas for VET policies;
  • Fill knowledge gaps and generating new insights that identify trends in and challenges for VET
  • Increase awareness of VET’s image and importance; 
  • Bring together policy-makers, social partners, researchers and practitioners to share ideas and debate the best ways to improve VET policies;
  • Support and encourage joint European approaches, principles and tools to improve VET.

Cedefop works closely with the European Commission, Member States’ governments, representatives of employers and trade unions, VET researchers and practitioners. It provides them with up-to-date information on developments in VET as well as opportunities for policy debate.

Cedefop disseminates its information through its website, publications, networks, study visits, conferences and seminars. Cedefop’s activities are guided by its mission and medium-term priorities.


(1) Council of the European Union. Council Regulation of 10 February 1975 establishing the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) EEC No 337/75, Official Journal of the European Communities, L 39, 13.2.1975 as last amended by Council Regulation EC No 2051/2004. [cited 23.5.2011].

(2) European Commission. Europe 2020: A European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Available from Internet: [cited 26.4.2010] and Europe 2020: a new European strategy for jobs and growth: European Council Presidency conclusions 25-26 March 2010. Available from Internet: [cited 4.11.2010].


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