A Cedefop delegation headed by Director James Calleja took part in a forum on vocational education and training (VET) promotion in Zagreb on 26 May and met with Croatia’s Minister for Education and Science Pavo Barišić to discuss the ongoing cooperation between the two sides, particularly in the field of apprenticeships.

Cedefop is currently conducting a thematic country review of Croatia's apprenticeship system.

At the meeting before the forum, Mr Barišić called Cedefop 'a key partner' in the implementation of VET reform in the country and expressed his desire for continued close cooperation.

Speaking at the forum, the Minister said that a series of challenges in vocational education can be overcome with cooperation of all stakeholders, many of whom were present at the event. He added that Croatia’s goal is to develop flexible curricula that can quickly respond to labour market needs and to changes and innovations in specific sectors.

In his speech, Mr Calleja stressed the elements that make a product – in this case VET – attractive: needs or skills, packaging or infrastructure, substance or experiencing VET, and outcome, in VET’s case a job/career.

He presented two Cedefop projects that feed into the debate on cooperation post-2020: the changing role and nature of VET in Europe (2016-18) and the European public opinion survey on VET (2016-17).

Mr Calleja referred to six targets for VET: higher quality in world-class provision centres and online learning; increased mobility for learners, trainers, mentors and teachers; wider use of common tools for transparency; digitalisation of content and pedagogy; teacher/trainer/mentor standards to improve attractiveness; implementation of an agreed roadmap to strengthen VET’s image.

Examples of good practices from Croatian schools were also presented at the forum.

Cedefop expert Irina Jemeljanova talked about the progress of the review of apprenticeship in Croatia, which is part of the thematic country reviews that the agency started in 2014 in its role of supporting Member States.

In Croatia so far:

  • Cedefop conducted initial background research and analysis of the current state of apprenticeship; the unified education model (Jedinstveni model obrazovanja) has been identified by its features as apprenticeship and will be the focus of the thematic review;
  • a steering group of 10 members representing main stakeholders was formed and had it first meeting on 31 March;
  • during a validation meeting, the steering group discussed the first findings;
  • interviews with stakeholders (students, graduates, VET teachers, school directors, company representatives) started in the beginning of May.