A joint Cedefop/OECD symposium on apprenticeships for greener economies and societies took place virtually on 21 and 22 October.

The event was an opportunity for researchers, policy-makers and practitioners from around the world to explore the links between apprenticeships and the green transition – two topics that are high on the agenda of EU and OECD countries – as well as the implications for policy-making.

Discussions focused on the role of apprenticeship in green transition, with its unique features as a specific type of vocational education and training (VET). Speakers provided insights into the potential role of apprenticeships in supporting the green transition, for example through offering opportunities to young people in initial education and to adults in need of upskilling or reskilling to develop the necessary skills. Their contributions also examined how apprenticeships could change in the context of the green transition.

Welcoming the participants, Cedefop Executive Director Jürgen Siebel said: ‘The specificities of apprenticeship in relation to the green transition will reassure stakeholders advocating for a just and green transition that apprenticeships are an established, structured governance platform that they can trust to get the job done. Apprenticeships are a potential accelerator of the changes, an enabler of the green transition, rather than merely its repair shop.’

In his welcome speech, the OECD Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Stefano Scarpetta noted: ‘By combining learning in VET institutions with learning in the workplace, learners can develop a broad range of skills and acquire work experience. The close interaction between the education system and the world of work makes apprenticeships well placed to respond effectively to changing skill needs, including those related to the green transition.’

Keynote speaker Philipp Gonon (Zurich University) and the authors of six papers presented new research and analysis of practices on the overall role of apprenticeship in green transition at framework level, including in practical terms, such as changes in apprenticeship programmes. The final panel offered hands-on perspectives of those who make the green transition possible: workers, employers, apprentices and training providers. They exchanged views on the challenges and opportunities for apprenticeships linked to the green transition and acknowledged the particularities of the related skills implications at sectoral level.

This was the second joint Cedefop/OECD symposium on apprenticeship. Its proceedings will be published in 2022. The first, in Paris in 2019, was on the next steps for apprenticeship and resulted in the publication of 16 selected contributions. The current event provided an opportunity to discuss skills for the green transition, ahead of the forthcoming COP26 meeting.

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Apprenticeships for greener economies and societies – Cedefop/OECD symposium