Cedefop’s policy learning forum on the definition and writing of learning outcomes will explore the way learning outcomes approaches are applied in initial vocational education and training (IVET) throughout Europe. It will be the first in a series of events that aim to open up for a continuous process of sharing and learning in this area. The PLF will focus on the following questions:

  • How are learning outcomes expectations defined and articulated?
  • What is the content and profile of intended learning outcomes?
  • Who are involved in the definition and articulation of learning outcomes?
  • Why has a particular approach been chosen and to what extent is this embedded in particular education and/or employment policies?

Cedefop’s research shows that there is no single way of defining and applying learning outcomes but that an increasing amount of experience and expertise is now generated at national and sectoral level. The forum will exploit this experience and expertise and seek to identify main challenges and opportunities in this area. The focus of the event will be on qualifications from initial VET (EQF levels 3-4). Taking national standards and/or curricula as a starting point, the forum will explore how these have been defined and described using a learning outcomes/competence based approach. Three concrete qualifications cases from the crafts, industry and service sectors will be used:

  • Plumbing (Heating and cooling)
  • Machine operator (CNC)
  • Tourism/travel sales and services

The forum will gather experts and other stakeholders including Social Partners directly involved in the definition, writing and review of learning outcomes for VET. This ‘hands-on approach’ allows for an informed exchange of experiences potentially adding substantial value to existing national policies and practises. Prior to the event, Cedefop will distribute background material, reflecting Cedefop’s comparative research in the area.

For further information on the policy learning forum, contact:

For logistical questions: Joanne Basiakou joanne.basiakou [at] (Joanne Basiakou)
For content-related questions: Slava Pevec Grm Slava.Pevec-Grm [at] (Slava Pevec Grm) and Jens Bjornavold jens.bjornavold [at] (Jens Bjornavold)


Cedefop organises a validation workshop to discuss the preliminary findings of the ongoing research on the role of VET in reducing early leaving from education and training. Selected policies and measures from fifteen European countries are examined in-depth during this second year of the research.

Key stakeholders and policy makers from Europe will debate on a set of success indicators and criteria for policy transfer to different countries and contexts.

The findings of this project aim to support the European Commission, Member States, social partners and other stakeholders in their effort to implement EU policies to reduce early school leaving and to achieve the EU target by 2020.

The conclusions of this workshop together with the findings of the study will be published in 2016 in a Cedefop research paper and two policy briefs, one for national and local policy makers and another one for EU level policy makers.

Participation to this event is by invitation only.


Skills are a key driver of labour market success, competitiveness and social inclusion for individuals, enterprises and societies. High-level skills are not only a prerequisite for employment, higher wages, productivity, innovation and continued economic growth; they also empower individuals to be active and productive members of society.

Skills, however, need to keep up with rapid technological progress, organizational change in the workplace and labour market change. At the same time, there is a growing concern with the so-called gaps between the skills provided by education and training systems, the needs of the current and future labour markets, and the extent to which such skill mismatches are a cause of high young unemployment rates. There is also growing evidence about the fact that the skills of EU employees are underused in workplaces that do not fully harness people’s potential.

The aim of this workshop was to bring together researchers working on the issues of skills and skill mismatch. Topics included (but were not limited to):

  • Trends in educational and skill mismatches
  • Skill shortages and the impact of skill mismatches for enterprises
  • Job search, job quality and skill/educational mismatch
  • Economic and welfare (e.g. job satisfaction) consequences of skill/educational mismatch for individuals, firms and macro economies
  • Technological progress/ organizational change and skills utilization (and mismatch)
  • The relation of job tasks and skill utilization
  • Labour market mobility and skill mismatch
  • Impact of wage systems and working conditions on skill mismatch
  • Gender differences in cognitive and non-cognitive skills
  • Training provision, skills development and skill mismatch
  • Impact of the business cycle and of economic recessions on skill mismatch

A selection of papers presented at the workshop were considered for publication in a special volume of the journal Research in Labor Economics (RLE).

Access to european skills and job survey

Authors of accepted papers could request early access to the Cedefop European Skills and Jobs Survey conditional on committing to submit a scientific paper that made use of the data for presentation at the workshop and subject to agreeing to the terms-of-use as stated in a confidentiality agreement which needed to be signed prior to receipt of the microdata.

The European Skills and Jobs Survey was a new cross-sectional dataset collected by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) in April-June 2014. The survey collected information on the skills, jobs and skill mismatch over time of about 49,000 adult employees in the 28 EU Member States. For more information on the survey click here.


Cedefop’s second apprenticeship conference, on 9 and 10 November in Thessaloniki, is addressed to a wide range of stakeholders with a role in supporting small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in increasing their offer on apprenticeships.

The conference is a learning experience. Participants will learn from:

  • success stories: how SMEs take the lead and set apprenticeship programmes – the conference special guest, Jason Holt, is a leading SME employer that set up the UK’s sole provider of government-accredited training to the wider jewellery sector;
  • national practices put in place by industry, social partners, public authorities, and other bodies that have a role in supporting SMEs;
  • messages brought forward by the employers’ representatives at European and national levels.

The conference is an opportunity for participants to identify ideas that may be turned into cross-country partnerships, and find partners.

It is also an opportunity for participants to understand how they may finance their ideas and turn them into reality. The following funding opportunities will be presented:

  • an Erasmus+ call for proposals, which aims at supporting SMEs engaging in apprenticeships;
  • ESF (to continue/further develop their projects in supporting SMEs to provide training, including apprenticeship placements; also possibilities for the SMEs themselves to access ESF to provide training, including apprenticeship placements);
  • European Investment Bank.



On 19 November 2015, Cedefop, Eurofound,  and the EESC will hold a joint event to present recent findings and initiatives on work organisation and workplace learning, including the results of Eurofound’s 3rd European Company Survey and Cedefop’s European Skills and Jobs Survey.

The half-day event will bring together up to 200 representatives from national authorities, European institutions, enterprises, trade unions, civil society and academia to explore and debate work organisation and skill development practices that benefit both employers and employees.

The event marks the 40 year anniversary of Cedefop and Eurofound - the two longest established EU Agencies - and recognises the EESC’s support in setting up the Agencies as well as its strong tripartite role in EU policymaking. Both Agencies are tripartite organisations with a governing structure of employers, trade unions and governments.

Keynote speakers will include:

  • Nicolas Schmit, President of the Council of the EU Employment Ministers
  • Pavel Trantina, President of the EESC Section on Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC)

Registration is now closed.

Event Venue: European Economic and Social Committee, Rue Belliard 99, Brussels, Jacques Delors building, ROOM JDE 62

Event Contact: Corinna Frey, Stakeholder Relations corinna.frey [at]


In June 2015 EU ministers in charge of VET of EU Member States acknowledged the importance of promoting responsive vocational education and training (VET) systems able to strengthen the international competitiveness of the labour force (Riga Conclusions 2015).
Consequently, national VET programmes and qualifications must be developed with a direct reference to global technological and economic requirements and developments.

The November Conference organised by Cedefop offers an opportunity to discuss the quality and relevance of VET in the context of globalisation. It will explore how globalisation influences the review and renewal of VET content and the way it is defined and described. It will look at the synergies and competition between European and International sectoral standards and qualifications with national ones.

The following questions will be addressed:

  • How are national VET systems being influenced by global developments?
  • How are different national VET systems dealing with the challenge of globalisation?
  • Which economic sectors use international solutions and which do not?
  • How far are international VET programmes and qualifications competing with national ones?
  • Are international VET standards and curricula a way to go?
  • How can national authorities benefit from the quality and standards of international sectors and qualifications?
  • Can international sectors awarding international qualifications respond to national criteria establishing education and training programmes?

National perspectives and solutions on developing relations between the public sector, the sectoral bodies and multi‐national companies, will be discussed including mechanisms to recognise skills and qualifications that can assure quality and instill confidence. The role of economic sectors as ICT, welding, banking and finance, food and drink, automotive, social work in driving these developments will be given particular attention.

The event aims at discussing these and other issues and seeks to illustrate how solutions need to be sought at the interface of local needs and global requirements.


At this event Cedefop will present its new European Skills and Jobs (ESJ) survey and discuss results from its overall research agenda on skill mismatch.

The aim of the conference was to stimulate discussion and identify key policy priorities, challenges, and applicable solutions to the problem of skill mismatch, with particular emphasis on the role of public-private partnerships and of supportive public policies. Experts in skills and skill mismatch, along with representatives of governments, social partners, education and training, and the labour market engaged in a series of discussions structured around two key thematic pillars:

  1. Future challenges for VET: Impact of technology and workplace change on skill needs
  2. Fostering partnerships in the workplace: rising up to the challenge of skill mismatch

Relevant to these pillars, the major issues considered and discussed during the conference regarded:

  • strengthening the effectiveness of public policies (e.g. work-based learning, ALMPs) to facilitate transitions from school to work and unemployment back to work;
  • improving the efficiency and responsiveness of public training programmes to labour market needs;
  • ensuring that the benefits of new technologies are transformed into more and better jobs and lower wage inequality;
  • improving the responsiveness of VET systems and institutions to innovations and changing skill needs, so as to better anticipate and tackle skill shortages;
  • allowing VET providers to act as catalysts of enhanced social cooperation in tackling skill mismatch;
  • developing and using the skills of the workforce by redesigning jobs, adopting better human resource management practices and raising job quality.

The objective of the conference was to inform policies that could stimulate skills demand through innovation and better jobs and be effectively matched to the skills of young and adult workers, as stated in the revised priorities for VET agreed by the European Commission, Member States and social partners at Riga in June 2015 (‘Riga Conclusions’).

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