Hosted under the Croatian and the German Presidencies of the EU in cooperation with the European Commission, the joint online Cedefop-ETF conference, on 30 June and 1 July, will review the achievements in European cooperation in vocational education and training (VET) between 2015 and 20. It will also debate Cedefop’s and ETF’s overall evidence, data and intelligence on the key challenges for VET going forward.

The event, organised on the eve of setting new priorities for VET, will bring together high-level representatives of the European Commission, the Croatian and German Presidencies of the EU, policy-makers, social partners, and national and international experts.

The participants will discuss and reflect on:

  • findings from Cedefop and ETF analysis on VET policy developments and implementation during the latest policy cycle agreed in 2015 (Riga Conclusions);
  • key challenges and future priorities for VET.

The two EU agencies have published a synthesis report of the progress in common priorities for 2015-20 to coincide with the conference. According to the report, work in 2015-19 shows continuity with earlier national strategies and initiatives. It confirms the recent focus on apprenticeships and other forms of work-based learning, and increasing attention to widening access to VET and qualifications. The report also presents measures taken in VET teacher and trainer professional development, key competence provision and quality assurance, including actions to make use of information on skills intelligence.

Cedefop has also published a series of reports on national VET policy developments since 2015 in the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway. The reports are based on information collected from Cedefop's European network of expertise on VET (ReferNet), the Directors General for Vocational Education and Training and other sources.

During the conference, the two agencies will release a joint discussion paper on ‘The importance of being vocational – challenges and opportunities for VET in the next decade’. The paper supports the idea that, considering the future trends and the changing world of work, the emphasis of VET policy also needs to change. While further developing initial VET should remain an essential aim, European policy needs to strengthen the focus on advancing continuing VET to meet the economic and societal challenges of the next decade.