In an interview given to BIBB, the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, published in their BWP magazine 3/2020, Cedefop Executive Director Jürgen Siebel talked about the challenges facing vocational education and training (VET) in Europe and Cedefop’s unique contribution in meeting them.

Mr Siebel expressed his satisfaction at Cedefop’s contribution to the creation of the European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships, which will help monitor and stimulate VET reform processes in EU Member States. He stressed, however, that more needs to be done by policy-makers, stakeholders and educational establishments to convince young people and their parents that vocational training is a good choice, especially given the current high youth unemployment levels.

The Cedefop Director was optimistic about the role of VET in overcoming the fallout of the coronavirus crisis, highlighting its suitability for meeting such challenges, as it is ‘absolutely capable of acting as a lever and enabler of transformation processes’. As he put it, 'In its capacity as an education system which is located at the interface between supply of and demand for competences on the labour market, VET will make a crucial contribution towards overcoming the economic aftermath of the pandemic.’

Mr Siebel also talked about two unique and valuable Cedefop tools – the skills forecast, and the European skills index. Acting as an early warning system, the former assists policy-makers in preventing potential labour market imbalances and guarding against outdated VET provision. Cedefop’s European skills index helps Member States understand the direction of their education programmes and labour market policy measures, allowing for transparency and comparability among EU countries, and fostering a positive competitive spirit.

Asked about the impact Brexit might have on European VET, Mr Siebel admitted that the UK’s new status as a third country will affect learning and work mobility for EU citizens; he was optimistic, however, that the outcomes of the negotiation might make cooperation in VET possible following the Norway and Iceland examples. The UK can also continue participating in global cooperation and research networking, such as Cedefop’s work with UNESCO and the ETF on analysing developments in national qualifications frameworks all over the world.

Read the full interview (English translation) for more insights into the role of VET and Cedefop’s contribution to meeting current workplace challenges. Print and audio versions of the original interview in German are also available.

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