Trainers in VET

A trainer is a skilled worker who introduces newly recruited employees to the company, provides training to co-workers as part of the job or mentors apprentices. Cedefop and the European Commission jointly coordinate a thematic working group on the professional development of trainers in vocational education and training (VET), which was launched in 2012. Members of the group come from ministries, national bodies and training and research centres in the Member States. The group aims to identify examples of effective policies and practice and to consider how policies can support vocational trainers in the workplace with: (a) their role and tasks; (b) the competences that they need; (c) ways of validating the competences they acquire and (d) opportunities to keep their knowledge, skills and competence up-to-date. The outcomes of the work of the group will contribute to European cooperation on vocational education and training (the Bruges Communiqué) and will be made available on this website.

The thematic working group will build on the findings of:

  • the Training of trainers network (TTnet network), a forum for key players and decision-makers involved in the training and professional development of vocational teachers and trainers, coordinated by Cedefop between 1998 and 2011;
  • the thematic group on teachers and trainers, which was comprised of experts from the Member States, and its sub-group on teachers and trainers in vocational education and training.

Why is training important?

The thematic working group aims to help countries ensure that people receive relevant, high quality training in their workplace. Learning in the workplace allows people to develop their potential throughout their careers, to keep their skills updated and, thus, to remain in employment and to advance their careers. Well-qualified and well-trained employees keep companies competitive and productive, which in turn contributes to economic growth and social welfare. Against that background, the competences of vocational trainers become important for public policy. Some countries feel the need for basic qualifications and certificates for trainers.

Competences of in-company trainers

Recent studies (Cedefop (2010), European Commission (2008), K. Volmari, S. Helakorpi & R. Frimodt (2009)) indicate that in-company trainers have relatively good vocational knowledge and competence relating to their occupation. Other findings include the fact that trainers also need other competences, such as a foreign language, communication and interpersonal skills and pedagogical competence, which they mostly acquire in the workplace or informally.

Trainers must often be able to identify the learning needs of employees in their companies, provide guidance and design relevant training plans and curricula. Trainers therefore need access to the latest information on pedagogical methods, learning styles and the specific requirements of adult learners. They need to be able to use information and communication technologies and social media to support learners.

Nowadays, working and, consequently, training call for collegiality, teamwork, networking and collaboration among trainers, other professionals and education and training institutions. Vocational teachers and trainers can benefit from cooperation just as teachers can update their knowledge of the workplace and in-company trainers can improve their pedagogical competence.

Trainers also need to be aware of the opportunities for international cooperation and mobility in training that are provided through European programmes, for example the Lifelong learning programme (2007-13).

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