The Council recommendation on key competences (2018), the Bruges communiqué (2011), and the Riga conclusions (2015) have supported the development of key competences in VET in Europe in the past decade.

The 2020 European skills agenda, the Council recommendation on VET (2020),  the Osnabrück declaration on VET (2020) and the Digital education action plan (2021-2027) gave new impetus to this process.

The first principle of the 2020 VET recommendation is that VET programmes should ‘offer a balanced mix of vocational including technical skills well aligned to all economic cycles, evolving jobs and working methods and key competences, including solid basic skills, digital, transversal, green and other life skills which provide strong foundations for resilience, lifelong learning, lifelong employability, social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development’.

One of the main actions of the 2020 European skills agenda refers to the adoption and implementation of the Council recommendation on VET, placing a special focus on making VET future-proof, promoting skills related to the twin transitions (green and digital) and fostering entrepreneurial and transversal skills.

The 2018 Council recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning defines eight key competences that all learners – including VET learners – should acquire:

  1. literacy;
  2. multilingual;
  3. mathematical, science, technology and engineering;
  4. digital;
  5. personal, social and learning to learn;
  6. citizenship;
  7. entrepreneurship;
  8. cultural awareness and expression.

Cedefop has supported the review of the this recommendation process with its expertise, including (but not limited to):

In 2020, Cedefop also presented the results of its research on key competences in initial VET: digital, multilingual and literacy.