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ReferNet is a network of institutions created by Cedefop in 2002 to provide information on national vocational education and training (VET) systems and policies in the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway. Each national partner is a key organisation involved in VET in the country it represents. Therefore, all partners are particularly well- placed to offer first-hand information on VET’s role, purpose, governance and structure, insights into developments and trends in VET policies, and in-depth analysis of how each country is progressing in its implementation of common European policy objectives.

ReferNet network

Why should you be interested in ReferNet?
Whenever you need information on national and European VET issues, you can easily access a wealth of reports, publications and other sources of information:

  • VET in Europe country reports describe national VET systems for young people and adults in all ReferNet partner countries. Each national partner provides a report on the main features of their national VET system in the country’s socioeconomic context. The reports explain how qualifications are developed and which programmes lead to these qualifications. They also inform on how countries encourage VET provision and participation. Reports are peer-reviewed and designed to present a comprehensive picture of a country’s VET system to a wider public of non-experts in VET.
  • Spotlights on VET summarise key features, challenges and developments of the national VET systems and are meant for readers who need a concise introduction to VET in a specific country. Besides basic information, spotlights also describe unique features of the system and present main challenges. For Presidency countries, spotlights are published in hard copy in four languages (English, French, German and the national language(s)). Their flyer format allows for easy reading and sharing.
  • Short descriptions of national VET systems provide the most up-to-date review of the VET system in the country holding the EU Presidency. They are based on the VET in Europe – Country reports. To make them easily accessible to a wider public, Cedefop publishes them in several languages.
  • Thematic focuses (articles or surveys)
    Which topics are the highest on the EU vocational education and training agenda?
    On this page Cedefop proposes series of articles which focus on themes selected for their actuality and relevance in Europe. These topics have generally featured among the highest priorities of the European Union Presidencies as regards vocational education and training.
    Thematic focuses complement general information on VET systems provided in ‘VET in Europe country reports’ and ‘ Spotlights’. Each article has been prepared by a member of Cedefop’s ReferNet network and follows guidelines and a common template prepared by Cedefop for all ReferNet partners. In this way Thematic focuses not only provide national overviews on some of the most relevant VET topics but also allow for comparison across EU member States, Iceland and Norway. They are co-financed by the European Union and national ReferNet partner institutions.
    Young people have been hit particularly hard by the crisis. The first two Thematic focuses address issues that can help empower them: Combating early leaving from education and training; and expanding and improving apprenticeship.
    - Early leaving from vocational education and training
    - Apprenticeship-type schemes and work-based learning structured programmes
  • National news on VET inform on the latest developments in vocational education and training, and employment and labour market issues in all partner countries. They complement the news in Cedefop Newsletters
  • Bibliographic references are ReferNet’s contribution to developing and maintaining Cedefop’s bibliographic database (VET-Bib) which stores the largest collection of VET literature in Europe (over 80 000 records).
  • ReferNet national websites share and disseminate information produced by the ReferNet network and Cedefop in national languages, focusing on national VET issues.
  • Policy reporting questionnaires completed by ReferNet partners give information on policy developments and reforms in VET, particularly in relation to agreed European priorities. Cedefop uses these responses to provide regular updates to the European Commission on progress in the Member States in the different VET policy areas. The information ReferNet delivers also feeds into Cedefop’s policy reports, which help ministers responsible for VET to decide on common future priorities.
    By subscribing to RSS feeds you can receive news and information from ReferNet national websites and Cedefop.

ReferNet: a network where partners meet, work together and shape their future cooperation

On Monday 15 October 2012, ReferNet celebrated its first 10 years of work with a special event in Thessaloniki. The celebration was an opportunity to highlight the network’s unique contributions and achievements. Participants included ReferNet partners from all over Europe, high-level VET stakeholders, academics, researchers and experts.

Each year, two ReferNet partners host regional meetings (spring) and Cedefop hosts ReferNet’s plenary meeting (autumn). In April 2014, at the regional meetings organised in Stockholm (Sweden) and Bled (Slovenia), partners discussed overall cooperation towards high-quality reporting on VET policy in Europe, exchanged information on the role of apprenticeships in national VET, and decided on the activities planned for the year.

Next appointment: ReferNet regional meetings in Spring 2015!

More about ReferNet

ReferNet activities are cofinanced by Cedefop and Member States on an annual basis under a framework partnership agreement. Activities are of common benefit to participating countries and Cedefop.

In 2015, a new call for proposals will be launched to select ReferNet partners for a new cooperation period (2016-19).

Contact at Cedefop
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