Cedefop Head of Department for VET Systems and Institutions Loukas Zahilas presented the agency’s work on the changing nature and role of vocational education and training (VET) at the Taitaja2019 international seminar, in Joensuu, Finland, on 22 May.

The seminar ran in parallel with the national skills competition, an event similar in size to EuroSkills, bringing together over 400 competitors from 43 skill categories to compete in their own fields. Some skills had international competitors and students from upper secondary schools and universities of applied sciences. The President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö was among the visitors.

More than 100 participants from over 20 nationalities, including Russia, the USA, Arab countries, Brazil, China and India, attended the seminar. Many of these countries, along with the EU Member States, also sent visiting competitors to the national Finnish championships to practice and measure their own skills.

Mr Zahilas gave a keynote speech and participated in a panel discussion at the seminar, which focused on future developments in VET and looked into facts and data but also solutions that Finland has started putting in place.

In his presentation, Mr Zahilas discussed the challenges and opportunities globalisation, artificial intelligence and broader technological developments bring to education and training systems and the need for meaningful responses. He also outlined the outcomes of the Cedefop project on the changing nature and role of VET in Europe.

The panel discussion was on developing future competences in Europe and the other participants were the President of Skills Finland Seija Rasku and the Vice President of WorldSkills Jos de Goey.