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Vocational education and training for recovery

Jürgen Siebel to DGVT and EESC SOC

Cedefop’s key role in helping develop vocational education and training (VET) policies that will be crucial for the post-pandemic green, digital and fair recovery was highlighted by the Agency’s Executive Director, Jürgen Siebel, in two high-profile meetings, on 10 and 11 March.

Addressing the EU Member States’ Directors General for Vocational Education and Training meeting, Mr Siebel stressed that continuing vocational education and training (CVET) must be turned into a real game changer in the post-coronavirus era, with reskilling and upskilling of the workforce playing a major part.

In order for VET is to be future-oriented and support the recovery, it needs to anticipate long-term and adapt to short-term changes, he said, adding that the pandemic showed that people, businesses and institutions need targeted information for their careers, skills and workforce development.

Mr Siebel explained how Cedefop is serving precisely that need by upgrading its skills intelligence: ‘Faster and more frequent changes require real-time, smarter and more people-centred skills intelligence. In the past decade, Cedefop has established a range of methods and tools; now we are taking this to the next level; and we certainly have some cool products in our pipeline.’

He announced that the official kick-off for this next-level work will be a conference on 13 April and noted that Cedefop focuses on three additional key ingredients that make CVET a standard path for all adults:

  • a systematic approach featuring comprehensive and coordinated policy measures to drive adult participation in skills development;
  • an analytical framework to help make upskilling pathways a reality;
  • research on how VET qualifications can empower people to manage their position within the ‘new normal’, which is characterised by radically changing skill demands and sectoral dynamics.

Briefing the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Mr Siebel presented data on Cedefop’s very strong performance in 2020, despite the coronavirus crisis, as well as the its activities in response to the pandemic, as they are presented in a real-time interactive document. ‘The crisis tested our resilience, but also gave us a chance to prove our agility and flexibility,’ he said.

He also laid out Cedefop's post-2020 strategy, which is in line with, and shaping, the EU policy framework, focusing on skills intelligence and on lifelong VET and CVET as the ‘new normal.'

Mr Siebel talked of Cedefop’s fresh approaches that are based on newly formulated values, more stakeholder involvement and developing greater synergies, while he explained the synergies and cooperative links with other EU agencies and international organisations, which help achieve economies of scale.

Commenting on the European economy’s post-pandemic prospects, the Cedefop Executive Director pointed out that ‘recovery funds are there and investing in VET and CVET is the way forward to deal with transitions in the economy and the labour market.'

The President of the EESC’s SOC Section, Laurenţiu Plosceanu, who chaired the meeting, praised Cedefop’s work and pledged the Committee’s continued support: ‘You can count on our interest and support. We count on your input, which is of very high value not only for our generation but also for the ones to come.’