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. 

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. 

  • Breakout session 1: Transversal skills and the VET curriculum - Moderated by Anastasia Pouliou
  • Breakout session 2: The challenge of reviewing and renewing VET qualifications - Moderated by Jens Bjørnåvold
  • Breaktout session 3: New arrangements between VET and general education - Moderated by Else Husa

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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