Unesco convened the inter-agency group on technical and vocational education and training (TVET) at its headquarters in Paris on 6 October to coordinate initiatives by key players in VET.

Cedefop was represented at this high-level event by Director James Calleja and Head of Department for VET Systems and Institutions Loukas Zahilas. OECD, ILO, the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, DG EMPL and DG DEVCO of the European Commission, the European Training Foundation, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, together with permanent representations in Paris and international organisations working on skills and VET also took part.

Unesco officials led by Assistant Director-General for Education Qian Tang and David Atchoarena, Director, Division for Politics and Lifelong Learning Systems presented the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Education 2030 Agenda: the place of skills for work and entrepreneurship.

Participants then discussed increasing international cooperation to reach the skills targets in Education 2030 and on mechanisms for follow-up and next steps.

Key players presented their agencies’ strategies and potential implications of the post-2015 agenda. All agencies are focusing their resources on three key action strands: VET systems and reform impact on institutions and the provision of VET; lifelong learning opportunities in all settings and at all education levels and the challenge of identifying skills for work and entrepreneurship.

The focus on education and training quality and learning outcomes recognises the danger of concentrating on access to education and training without paying attention to whether students are learning and whether their learning translates in a better labour market and a better quality of life.

Cedefop shared the initial strategic orientations for the programming period 2017-20 discussed at its Governing Board meeting in June. Shaping VET for better provision, valuing VET to empower people and informing VET by offering labour market intelligence provided the strategic focal points which would support the EU 2020 targets, the E&T 2020 objectives as well as the Riga conclusions deliverables.

All agencies showed readiness to create a platform for cooperation and to share knowledge, evidence and initiatives that could support at country level an implementation strategy for VET quality, development and relevancy to present and future jobs.

Cedefop Director James Calleja said that the key challenge for all agencies is implementation of policies and tools at country level.

The time is ripe, he added, for the inter-agency group to ‘create an implementation partnership plan, common to all participating agencies, so that support to clusters of or individual countries can materialise through a concerted effort backed by shared information, evidence and a sustainable knowledge-broker approach. As strategic targets for VET or TVET overlap and are cross-cutting between the agencies, so should intervention as a means to strengthen the reform process needed to provide quality VET. The next step of the inter-agency group should be to design a roadmap for shared interventions on TVET in the agencies’ partner countries.’

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