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The Helsinki Communiqu on Enhanced European Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training

The Helsinki Communiqu sums up the current and future challenges for VET in Europe. It carries the priorities of the Maastricht Communiqu (2004) forward. Its main objective is to improve the performance and quality as well as the image and attractiveness of VET.

Better guidance throughout life and individualised pathways with progression routes to further/ higher education feature prominently among the priorities. People should get more opportunities to develop their skills at the workplace and to have their non-formally and informally acquired competences recognised.. Standards and skills competitions are considered useful means to develop high level skills.

To deliver the VET agenda, countries should implement quality assurance measures in line with the respective European framework (CQAF) and ensure teachers and trainers are highly qualified and update their competences. More emphasis should be placed on anticipating skill needs, improving investment in VET and developing shared funding This also requires active partnership at all levels between different players, in particular the social partners and sectoral bodies.

By 2010, the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and a European credit system for VET (ECVET) are to be in place. This also requires linking national qualification frameworks or systems and sectoral qualifications to the EQF. In addition, the EUROPASS should be further developed and more widely used. To foster mutual trust, cooperation within the European Network of quality assurance (ENQA-VET) should be increased. The objective is to support mobility of students and workers by making it easier to compare qualifications and to accumulate and transfer learning outcomes.

A more strategic approach to mutual learning should support the developments. To implement the priorities, the structural funds and the Lifelong learning programme should be tapped. Improved statistical data on VET are necessary to provide a basis for comparison and evidence-based policy making within the framework of the Copenhagen Process. Involving all stakeholders, from policy makers and social partners to teachers, trainers and learners, is a prerequisite to implement the process. Cooperation among EU bodies, with the social partners and international organisations as well as exchange of experience with third countries are also considered supportive measures. The Communiqu underlines furthermore the supporting role of Cedefop and ETF in monitoring the progress in priority areas and reporting on developments.

News Details

28/11/2009
Finnish Presidency & Cedefop/Policy analysis team