In several European countries, fewer students now opt for initial vocational education and training (VET), preferring higher, academically oriented education. The cause and extent of this trend is unclear. Outside traditional VET, however – often at higher education levels – vocationally oriented education and training is gaining ground. 

So, falling numbers in initial VET could be deceptive. Vocational education and training in Europe is evidently finding new forms and new roles, and it is being delivered by a wider range of institutions, both public and private.

These changes were the subject of a Cedefop workshop on 25 and 26 June gathering researchers and stakeholders from across Europe. The workshop kick-started a new Cedefop project (2015-17) on the changing nature of vocational education and training.

Combining several research methods, the project will carry out a detailed comparison of VET’s standing and role with other sectors of the education and training system to gain insight on these recent trends.

The workshop’s discussions and conclusions will feed into this and other Cedefop projects, and will help to clarify concepts and methods.