A series of reports is being produced as part of Cedefop’s ongoing project on the changing nature and role of vocational education and training (VET) in Europe.

The project results will be presented at a high-level conference in the context of the 3rd European vocational skills week, in Vienna in November.

Based on analysis of developments during the past two decades (1995-2015), the series’ newly released Volume 3 provides important insights into the responsiveness of national VET systems, notably in relation to changes in demography, technology and the economy.

Building on detailed national case studies, the report demonstrates how ‘big shocks’ (the fall of the Berlin wall, the economic crisis of 2008), national policy reforms and incremental developments over time have changed the character of this crucial part of the European education and training landscape.

Volume 1, published in November 2017, reviews scholarly attempts to define or explain VET and to develop a theoretical model to analyse national definitions or conceptions and how they have changed over time.

VET takes many forms and is, perhaps, the least unitary of education sectors. Based on a literature review of previous attempts to characterise it, the paper suggests using a multi-perspective framework which combines:

  • an epistemological and pedagogical perspective;
  • a system and institutional perspective;
  • a socioeconomic and labour market perspective to analyse VET.

These perspectives can help to identify appropriate learning approaches, institutional solutions and forms of cooperation to work towards.

In Volume 2, the approach is empirically tested and the different understandings of VET in 30 European countries are illustrated.

More reports will follow in the coming months.