Cedefop released the European skills index (ESI) at a launch event in Brussels on 27 September 2018.

Cedefop has been working on compiling a skills index since 2013. Three key dimensions were considered in the development of the European skills index: (a) skills development; (b) skills activation; and (c) skills matching.

These three areas capture various aspects of a country’s skills system. In particular, skills development represents the training and education activities that take place in a country, and their immediate outputs in terms of skills developed and/or attained. Skills activation assesses the transition from education to the labour market, while skills matching captures the extent to which skills are effectively used at work and in the labour market in general. Overall, the European skills index measures the comparative performance of EU countries’ individual skills system.

The event aimed to introduce the European skills index, as well as present and discuss the results of the 2018 release. Country rankings were presented along with examples of how this tool can be used to explore a country’s skills system and identify areas with improvement prospects. The relationship of a skills system to policy-relevant key employment measures was also discussed. A panel debate looked at the implications of the index results for skills and labour market policies, and discussed how the European skills index could be used as a policy tool.


Please find below the related documents: agenda, PPT presentations and our Briefing note.


Cedefop Policy Learning Forums (PLFs) are an opportunity for countries to generate knowledge and they act as a site of consensus-building around shared problems.

One of the main outcomes of Cedefop 2017 PLF on apprenticeships is the shared need, across and within countries, for a clear vision of apprenticeship with implications for the way it is defined and placed in national education and training systems. Today, there are many different interpretations of apprenticeships, even in the same national context. Reflecting on apprenticeship’s purpose and function may be a starting point to build a shared understanding of the term and a clear vision for the policies.

Two fundamentally different function groups of apprenticeships emerge in the EU28 plus Norway and Iceland, according to a forthcoming Cedefop study[1]:

  1. Apprenticeship as an education and training system is aimed at providing people with full competency and capability in an apprenticeable occupation or trade (education and training function);
  2. Apprenticeship as a type of VET delivery is aimed at providing a diverse way to achieving formal VET qualifications by bringing people into the labour market (mixed education and training and employment functions).

The vast majority of the schemes analysed in Cedefop study come close to the features of function group B, including almost all schemes in place in the countries involved in Cedefop TCRs and flash TCRs on apprenticeships (TCR countries).

Cedefop 2018 PLF on apprenticeships starts from here: participants are called to reflect on and learn more about how apprenticeships differ in terms of purpose, function and organisation. While the 2018 PLF, like the 2017 event, principally addresses the TCR countries, it also involves experts and policy makers from non-TCR countries that have in place schemes close to the B as well as the A group or that are in transition from one group to the other.  They will be invited to support the policy learning exercise.

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • reflect on the different apprenticeship purposes and functions and discuss evolving approaches;
  • learn how countries with similar and different approaches organise apprenticeships, such as, for instance: a) training alternation and its form, b) joint design of curricula, c) sharing of responsibility between the education and training and the labour market sides, d) relationship between the apprentice and the company;
  • learn about the outcomes of the third round of TCRs and of the flash TCRs.

Discussions should lead to the following expected outcomes:

  • increased awareness of the substantial differences in approaching apprenticeships;
  • become familiar with modes of organising apprenticeships in countries with similar and different approaches;
  • learn about changes and developments in EU countries, particularly the TCR and flash TCR countries.

This PLF will take place in Cedefop (Thessaloniki, Greece), on the 18th and 19th October.

The event is linked to the European vocational skills week 2018 of which Cedefop is a partner.

[1] Cedefop, Apprenticeships: a Cross-National Overview, 2018

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