Firms differ in the ways they organise the workplace. Productivity differences between establishments have been linked to the different managerial practices adopted and types of workplace settings in place (High Performance Workplaces). The bundles of workplace practices adopted by establishments affect the quality of the work environment and the well-being of employees. Good workplaces experience less turnover and higher levels of employee engagement thus providing a link between the quality of the working life and business performance. Depending on their managerial strategy and the workplace practices they have in place, establishments design their jobs differently and have different success in leveraging the skills of their workforce. The mobilisation of human resources requires the right incentives to be in place. These may involve utilising various forms of union and non-union workers’ representation (such as works councils) or various forms of direct employee involvement. In turn, a better use of human resources can lead to efficiency gains through process innovation (for example, less machine downtime, better maintenance, improved work processes and customer care) and through a better exploitation of business opportunities, for example following improvements in product (or service) design, product (or service) innovation, or novel marketing methods. These differences at the workplace level can result in large variations in productivity between establishments, which are highly persistent, and contribute significantly to disparities in economic performance over time and across countries. Differences in productivity across establishments also drive cross-sectional wage inequality.

The aim of the conference is to bring together researchers studying organisational issues from an international comparative perspective. Contributions based on all sources of enterprise data are welcomed.

Two keynote lectures will be delivered by Professor Kathryn Shaw (Stanford University and IZA) and Professor Christopher Warhurst (University of Warwick).

Possible topics might cover (but are not limited to):

• The effects of the adoption of managerial strategies and workplace practices on wages and other business outcomes
• The effect direct and indirect employee involvement on business outcomes
• The interplay between the adoption of general management practices and bundles of workplace practices
• The relationship between job complexity and job tasks and skills use and the adoption of workplace practices
• The importance of trust in the workplace
• The effects of employee involvement on skill utilisation
• Associations between bundles of workplace practices, skills strategies and innovation
• Associations between bundles of workplace practices, skills strategies and productivity

The Program Committee will select and invite about 20 papers.

A selection of papers presented at the workshop will be included in a volume of the journal Research in Labor Economics (RLE).

The event will be streamed (real time)



The 2020 annual meeting of Cedefop community of apprenticeship experts will take place in the form of a virtual event on Wednesday 16 September 2020 from 09.30 to 13.00 CET.

The main objectives of this year virtual annual meeting are to take stock of the 2020 activities and look forward to the strategic orientation of the community for 2021 onwards.

A summary of the virtual annual meeting outcomes will be published after the event.

Participation is restricted to the members of Cedefop community of apprenticeship experts.


Cedefop third Policy Learning Forum on apprenticeships will take place in the form of a virtual event on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 September 2020 from 09.30 to 13.00 CET on both days.

Participants will have the opportunity to discuss with representatives of all the countries involved in Cedefop Thematic and flash Thematic Country Reviews on apprenticeships, i.e. French Speaking Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Lithuania, Slovenia and Sweden. Cedefop invited also representatives from Belgium-Flemish Community and Romania, which are currently participating in the bench-learning process promoted by the European Commission, together with French Speaking Belgium, Malta and Greece. This reflects Cedefop intention to open up this peer learning opportunity to a wider range of countries who are undergoing an exercise to reflect and improve their apprenticeship systems and schemes.

Like the 2017 and 2018 PLFs, the objective of the 2020 virtual PLF is to offer participants the possibility of peer learning, by sharing knowledge and reflecting on the experience of other countries. This virtual event is also a chance for the PLF community to keep in contact and get in touch with new countries working on apprenticeship.

The focus of the 2020 virtual PLF will be on apprenticeship governance and in-company training design and deliver.

The summary of the virtual PLF outcomes is available below.


This year, Cedefop is organising its CareersNet annual meeting in cooperation with the German Federal Employment Agency.

CareersNet, Cedefop’s network of independent national experts for lifelong guidance and career development, convenes on the 8th and 9th of October for the fourth annual network meeting - a first virtual event. Each year the meeting is hosted at different national venues in Europe, promoting cooperation in the guidance policy field. This year, the virtual meeting is organised in cooperation with the German Federal Employment Agency, who will open the meeting together with Cedefop representatives from the Department for Learning and Employability (DLE).

This year’s timely theme is ‘Rethinking professionalism of career practitioners in the digital context’. Focus is on professionalism and the status, opportunities, difficulties, challenges of, and innovations in, integration of ICT and digitalisation in lifelong guidance systems, services – in connection with broader societal developments. Participants will have an opportunity to share their experiences, debate and discuss key issues and developments for policy, particularly in light of the impact of COVID-19 on guidance delivery across education, training and employment settings, and experiences faced by users and career learners.

Around 45 participants will meet and discuss thematic issues online with Cedefop’s CareersNet experts, including invited speakers from the University of Applied Labour Studies of the German Federal Employment Agency, the European Commission, and the European Training Foundation (ETF). In their closed session, members will also discuss network management issues and developments that took place since the last annual meeting in Rome last September (2019). They will also be informed on the latest developments in the Department's Guidance project area.

Event participation is restricted to the members of Cedefop’s CareersNet and invited organisations. Event materials and interesting resources such as slide presentations, will be available following the event. Please see the updated agenda below.



Welcome Session
Lifelong Career Guidance Strategy of the Federal Employment Agency, Michael van der Cammen (Federal Employment Agency, Germany)

Session 1: Current development in guidance and counselling in Germany
Professionalism of career guidance and counselling in Germany: status and challenges from the establishing digitalisation, Peter Weber (University of Applied Labour Studies, German Federal Employment Agency)

Session 2: Changes in guidance policy and practice in Europe
The expanding and evolving role of ICT in career guidance practice and policy, Raimo Vuorinen (Finland)
Digital-first strategies and guidance: implications for job and competence profiles of Public Employment Services' counsellors, Susanne Kraatz (Germany)

Session 3: Education, training and new opportunities and challenges for practitioners
New horizons of counselling and guidance in the German PES: current projects and study programmes, Matthias Rübner (University of Applied Labour Studies, German Federal Employment Agency)
Education and training for career practice in education and employment in Portugal: realities and horizons - Challenges, during the corona crisis, Hélia Moura (Portugal)

Session 4: Digital innovations in guidance
The development of a national digital career guidance service that aligns expectations in the national quality framework: the Norwegian example, Erik H. Haug (Norway)
CareerChat: the art of AI and the human interface in career development, Füsun Akkök (Turkey), Deirdre Hughes (UK), George Bekiaridis
New Europass: portfolio aspects and future developments, Koen Nomden and Hrvoje Grganović (European Commission)

Session 5: Guidance systems and frameworks for professionalism
The value of the national Programme Recognition Framework (PRF) for guidance counsellor training, incorporating ICT and online delivery of guidance, Jennifer McKenzie (Ireland)
Digital badges for a validation skills framework for career practitioners: a case in Italy, Giulio Iannis (Italy)

Session 6: Rethinking labour market information
Labour market information and information management in the modern labour markets - Lessons to be learned by guidance professionals, Tibor Bors Borbély-Pecze (Hungary)


Cedefop and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) are organising the third Policy Learning Forum on upskilling pathways: a vision for the future. The event will take place in the form of a virtual event on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 November 2020, from 09:30 to 13:00 CET on both days.

Policy Learning Fora (PLF) on upskilling pathways are a series of policy learning events on the topic aimed at providing a platform for countries to come together to learn from one another and explore common challenges in upskilling adults with low level of skills.

Upskilling pathways is about pulling together resources and creating the right synergies for supporting every (low skilled) adult towards an individual path to empowerment. It is about creating a comprehensive approach to the upskilling and reskilling of the low skilled adult population. This approach should be able to address their needs in a coordinated and coherent way and ensure that they have all the tools and support to embark in sustainable learning pathways leading to their full potential and fulfilment.

The Cedefop analytical framework presented and discussed at the second Policy Learning Forum on upskilling pathways has been developed to sustain this unique vision of upskilling pathways for low-skilled adults. Aim of the third Policy Learning Forum on upskilling pathways: a vision for the future, is to progress further with support to implementation of upskilling pathways and to translate the analytical framework into practice.


The workshop provided an opportunity for policy-makers, stakeholders, experts and researchers to discuss the challenges and choices facing European VET today. Building on systematic research carried out by Cedefop in recent years, the workshop complements the ongoing political discussion on the future of European VET evidenced in the July 2020 Skills Agenda, the proposal for a VET Council recommendation and the 2020 Osnabrück declaration.     

The workshop built on the findings of the recently published Cedefop report VET in Europe 1995-2035. From a long-term perspective on European VET developments, the report brings together two major Cedefop research projects: The changing nature and role of VET in Europe (2015-18) and the The future of vocational education and training (VET) (2019-22).

The workshop aimed to instigate a discussion on the overall direction European VET is taking.

Presentations and discussions during the first day of the workshop (26 November) provided a general picture of recent developments. Please watch the discussions that took place in the plenary of the first day (video).

The second day (27 November) allowed for an in-depth discussion of the way VET skills and competences are changing and how this influences their delivery. Please watch the discussions that took place in the plenary of the second day (video), and breakout sessions of the second day:


The 18th ReferNet annual plenary meeting will take place virtually on 2-3-4 December 2020.

It will bring together national representatives for ReferNet, ReferNet partners, Cedefop experts involved in ReferNet activities, as well as representatives of the European Commission and the European Training Foundation.

The objectives of the meeting are:

  • to inform ReferNet partners and national representatives of the latest EU VET policy developments, particularly the Osnabrück declaration and its impact on the network’s activities;
  • to review the 2020 ReferNet deliverables and prepare the 2021 work plan;
  • to organise a knowledge-sharing platform on VET topics originating from the Osnabrück declaration, to be piloted by ReferNet partners;
  • to provide opportunities for informal meetings which will promote the network’s spirit of collaboration and partnership, help newcomers become acquainted with existing partners and Cedefop experts, and familiarise themselves with the network’s operation.

Cedefop’s webinar ‘Making excellence inclusive: towards a new Cedefop survey of VET teachers and trainers’ took place on 3 February 2021 from 09:00 to 13:00 CET.


Participants included European policy-makers, social partners and invited experts.

Empirical evidence on teachers, learners and principals in VET as well as on in-company trainers are scarce in the EU. To close this gap, Cedefop launched a feasibility study for a survey on these target populations in initial vocational education and training (IVET) at ISCED level 3.

The webinar aimed to:

  • reflect on the added value and scope of a new European survey on VET principals, teachers, learners and in-company trainers;
  • identify research and data gaps to support evidence-based policy making;
  • seek for potential synergies with existing surveys for teachers and trainers.

Participants discussed existing research and data gaps, as well as challenges that VET teachers and in-company trainers in Europe face in:  

  • promoting excellence in VET and preparing learners for professional and personal success;
  • supporting learners at risk including marginalised learners and creating inclusive learning and working environments;
  • working in digital environments also imposed by COVID-19 and making use of digital advancements (e.g. virtual reality, artificial intelligence, etc.) in teaching, learning and assessment processes.

Next steps

The conclusions of this webinar will support and feed into the feasibility study of a new Cedefop survey of VET principals, teachers, learners and in-company trainers.

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