Presenting Cedefop’s work at the European Parliament, the Centre’s new Director, James Calleja, said that all its activities ‘aim at emphasising the inescapable link between training, skills, qualifications and employability.’

‘Cedefop’s work is at the interface between education and training and the needs of the labour market,’ stressed Mr Calleja.

‘Employability is crucial for the future of the Union and it is necessary to ensure that the economic crisis is tackled through a responsive and skilled workforce,’ he added.

Mr Calleja noted that, when he was appointed Director in October 2013, he found ‘a vibrant European Centre, which is increasingly pivotal in the European Union’s mission to address high levels of unemployment, particularly among young people.’

He cited a recent positive external evaluation of Cedefop’s work, adding that his challenge is ‘to keep up the high standards achieved but also to ensure that Cedefop continues to provide answers to policy-makers dealing with unemployment, preventing people leaving vocational education and training early and unqualified, helping those who lack skills and competences for today’s and tomorrow’s labour market, ensuring that all types of skills are recognised, and supporting businesses who wish to provide work-based learning.’ Mr Calleja remarked that the labour market today, and more importantly that of tomorrow, demands that people continue to learn.

In conclusion, Mr Calleja highlighted three facets of a common challenge that will define Cedefop’s work in 2014:

  • adult education and learning – an area which Cedefop is strengthening so that more people find the acquisition of skills and competences closer to their work experiences;
  • European alliance for apprenticeships – Cedefop will fully support the Commission in its work on the alliance, and Member States working together to create an attractive apprenticeship culture within the 2020 education and training targets;
  • technical support to Member States in all aspects of European tools and synergies between tools – not all Member States are cruising at the same altitude on European initiatives and tools, and Cedefop proposes to intensify its support to help Member States come closer to the 2020 education and training targets.

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