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About the Toolkit

What is the VET toolkit for tackling early leaving?

Europe-wide toolkit inspired by successful VET practices in helping young people to attain at least an upper secondary qualification.

It provides practical guidance, tips, good practices and tools drawn from VET to feed into activities and policies aiming at:

  • helping young people at risk of becoming early leavers to remain in education and training and qualify;
  • helping early leavers to reintegrate into education or training and the labour market.
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Who can benefit from the toolkit?

Policy-makers and practitioners, working in a ministry, VET school, company, guidance centre, public employment service, social service, or youth organisation, looking for ways to:

  • identify early the signs of disengagement and prevent early leaving;
  • support learners at risk of dropping out;
  • improve attendance or reduce dropout;
  • monitor early leavers systematically to reach out to them in time;
  • motivate and re-engage early leavers, bringing them back to education and training;
  • advance knowledge on what makes a success in tackling leaving education early.
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Why use the VET toolkit?

The toolkit aims to provide guidance and tools in three action areas:

  • identify and monitor early leavers and learners at risk of leaving education early;
  • intervene to retain them in, or bring them back to, education or training;
  • evaluate related measures undertaken within a country, region or institution.
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What tools are available?
  • A range of tools for tackling early leaving from education and training, drawn from successful VET practices, including instruments developed as part of projects funded by the Lifelong learning and Erasmus+ programmes.
  • Selected examples of good practices with evidence on their success and ‘quick wins’ – simple activities, relatively easy to implement – that can contribute to tackling early leaving successfully.
  • Reflection tool for policy-makers to identify the strengths and weaknesses of policies put in place.
  • Evaluation plans for policy-makers or VET providers to design an appropriate monitoring and evaluation approach.
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Which tools apply best to your case?

If you…

  • would like to browse through a selection of inspiring examples, including:
    • quick wins – relatively simple activities that can contribute to tackling early leaving;
    • good practices – successful measures implemented in different EU countries to tackle early leaving;
    • tools that have been developed across Europe to help tackle early leaving:

> browse for good practices, tools and quick wins.


  • are interested in reflecting on the effectiveness of current strategies for tackling early leaving from education and training in your country, region or municipality, and receive guidance on how to improve them:

> use the reflection tool for policy-makers.


  • are in charge of a policy or measure targeted at preventing or reducing early leaving from (vocational) education and training and are interested in knowing whether this policy or measure is performing well:

> use the evaluation plans for policy makers or VET providers.

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Toolkit applications

submit your practices
Allows users to suggest good practices and successful measures.

create your evaluation plan
Allows users to download templates and instructions to evaluate policies and practices.
For VET Practitioners & Providers  – for Policy Makers.

use the reflection tool
Allows users to fill in online the reflection tool and assess their policies’ strengths and weaknesses.


  • Stay tuned for news and forthcoming events about tackling early leaving.
  • Check relevant statistics and find tips for related research publications and further reading.
  • Access at any time the completed reflection tool and measure progress made.
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Background information

Toolkit development

The toolkit content builds on the findings from a Cedefop study, specifically on its analysis of:

  • the factors leading to early leaving, with particular attention on those associated specifically with early leaving from VET
  • measures to tackle early leaving from education and training - with evidence of success

The development of the toolkit was under the responsibility of Irene Psifidou, Cedefop expert at the Department for learning and employability, headed by Antonio Ranieri and guided by an expert panel composed of six members that combined research and practical knowledge of early leaving and VET: Béatrix Charlier, Paul Downes, Marie Gitschthaler, Erna Nairz-Wirth, Becci Newton and Ward Nouwen..

The toolkit was tested at several phases of its development through interviews with policy makers and practitioners involved in the design and implementation of measures to tackle early leaving from education and training.

Development of the reflection tool for policy makers

The ‘Reflection tool for policy makers’ is based on a matrix of structural indicators developed by Paul Downes. This matrix of indicators built on the findings of Cedefop’s research study and was developed in collaboration with the expert panel.

Selection of quick wins, good practices, toolkits and tools

The selection of good practices is based on the review of measures with evidence of success conducted under Cedefop’s study. This review covered the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

The selection of quick wins was based on the factors identified by interviewees in Cedefop’s study as contributing to the success of measures. Quick wins were discussed with the expert panel that helped fine-tuning the selection.

Existing toolkits and tools were mapped as part of the development of the toolkit. The main sources were the outputs of EU-funded projects in the area of education and training and, as such, most of the toolkits and tools identified were developed by consortiums of entities from several EU countries. The expert panel helped select the toolkits and tools of the highest quality to be included in the Cedefop toolkit.

About the research study

Cedefop’s study ‘Leaving education early: putting vocational education and training centre stage’ aims to increase knowledge about:

  • the learning pathways of young students
  • the measurements of early leaving in vocational education and training (VET)
  • the factors leading to early leaving, with particular attention on those associated specifically with early leaving from VET
  • measures to tackle early leaving from education and training - with evidence of success
  • the evaluation of VET measures to tackle early leaving

The study was published in 2016 in two volumes:

The methodology of the study included quantitative and qualitative analysis. It involved 837 interviews with policy makers (national, regional and local), practitioners (school leaders, teachers, trainers, and other professionals), employers, and learners, from 16 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

About Cedefop

Cedefop is one of the EU’s decentralised agencies. Founded in 1975 and based in Greece since 1995, Cedefop supports development of European vocational education and training (VET) policies and contributes to their implementation. The agency is helping the European Commission, EU Member States and the social partners to develop the right European VET policies. Read more…

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