Lithuanian Minister for Education and Science Audronė Pitrėnienė acknowledged Cedefop's thematic country reviews on apprenticeships in a meeting with Cedefop Director James Calleja in Vilnius on 20 May.

Cedefop conducted an in-depth review of the apprenticeship schemes in Lithuania in 2014-15. Ms Pitrėnienė said that the review process has prompted a wider dialogue with stakeholders to promote work-based learning. She spoke of the challenges vocational education and training (VET) reforms pose, particularly in securing adequate financial resources and in speeding up reform processes themselves.

Mr Calleja said that Cedefop stands to gain from directly supporting Member States and social partners as these experiences provide a reality check to ideas, recommendations and proposals on how to improve VET’s image, on what makes learning more accessible to all age groups and on how to create structures that ensure skills for jobs run parallel with skills for life.

The two later addressed an international conference on apprenticeships and work-based learning organised by the Ministry of Education and Science. Ms Pitrėnienė stressed her commitment to continuing promoting a culture for apprenticeships and work-based learning.

Mr Calleja argued that ‘in VET we need to work in a simpler, sharper and smarter way.’ Transparency of tools and processes must go hand in hand with qualifications which are occupation-, progression- and employability-oriented. Parity of esteem, dignified work and career prospects should be a foundation of VET provision at all learning levels.

The Cedefop Director added: ‘A new VET culture is needed more than ever to attract learners to learning environments which provide a window to jobs and better quality of life, and for employers higher trust in quality and relevance of learning processes.’

The conference, which targeted VET providers, social partners and policy-makers, was also addressed by Austrian, Latvian and Estonian speakers. The Baltic Alliance for Apprenticeships is an active commitment changing the image of VET and work-based learning and serving as a platform for stakeholders to pool resources and offer alternative pathways to learning and employability.

Mr Calleja was also interviewed by Lithuanian television. You can watch the report here in Lithuanian (from 18:50).