The future of vocational education and training (VET) was the theme of Cedefop’s 6th Brussels seminar with the rotating EU Presidencies, on 13 December.

Organised in cooperation with the Austrian EU Presidency, it attracted over 70 participants from a wide range of Brussels-based organisations.

Austrian Presidency's Chair of the Education Committee Franziska Staber and Cedefop's Head of Department for VET Systems and Institutions Loukas Zahilas welcomed the participants. A Cedefop video with stakeholders’ views on European vocational education and training’s future challenges, presenting interviews of learners, teachers, parents and policy-makers, set the scene for the discussions and presentations on the future of VET.

Cedefop expert Jens Bjornavold said that in European VET we have two competing narratives: the first considering that VET is declining and losing out to general and academic education and the second seeing an expansion of VET to higher levels, forming the backbone of lifelong learning.

Work in a flagship Cedefop project analysed developments of the last 20 years resulting in various scenarios outlining potential paths that European VET will take in the years to come. Representatives of Austria and Denmark commented on these scenarios.

Overall, the scenarios are considered to provide significant added value and were much welcomed by participants.

In her statement, the European Commission's Dana Bachmann underlined how the study findings can be used to support future European cooperation in VET. Mr Zahilas closed the event stressing that the main idea was not to predict the future but rather to illustrate the implications of different choices and decisions.