Policy measures cannot alone attract people to vocational education and training (VET), yet there are several ways in which policy can influence learners’ and employers’ perception of VET. The high-profile Hungarian Presidency conference, Improving the image and quality of vocational education and training (Budapest 17-18 May) explores how to best achieve this.

Youth unemployment is very high in Europe (close to 21%), yet young people still tend to leave education and training too early, increasing their risk of poverty and unemployment – with obvious social costs. Vocational education and training can contribute both to social inclusion and to economic development, and – as Cedefop’s recent research shows – it pays real dividends to individuals. But to become more attractive, vocational education and training must pay attention to issues of quality.

Cedefop is contributing to this conference with presentations on VET on higher qualification levels – the subject of a forthcoming publication – and on making initial vocational training more attractive. Another Cedefop study will be mapping, comparing and evaluating current policy initiatives and measures to increase the attractiveness of VET across Europe.