Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) provide two thirds of private sector employment in the EU and yet 92% have never taken up an apprentice. Even though SMEs have different needs regarding skills training, their challenges are very much alike across the countries. A pilot model of business support to get apprenticeships into European SMEs is welcome. Provided the right conditions are met and the right support is available, SMEs can offer high quality apprenticeships.
A total of 2 170 skills credentials were issued by the Skills Validation Consortium in Brussels in 2018. With this outstanding performance the Brussels Region successfully met the targets of the Training plan 2020, which aimed at issuing 2 000 skills credentials per year by 2020.
Large-scale implementation of a five-year major skills investment plan (PIC -Plan d’investissement dans les compétences) is taking off in 2019. Launched in September 2017, the plan foresees a total of EUR 15 billion to fund the training of one million young people and one million jobseekers.
The beginning of 2019 brought a new project Sprong an D’Léier, which addresses young people who after the school year has started (after 1 November of each school year), are without any apprenticeship contract or are not satisfied by their choice of profession. The objective is to help such young people to find an apprenticeship contract for the following school year.
The landscape of the national vocational education and training (VET) system is changing, no less due to the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution. The Ministry for Innovation and Technology supports active involvement of all VET stakeholders in this process through the newly established VET Innovation Council.
A National Forum for Skills Anticipation report highlights changes in competences and skills that will be needed in 2035. Important future skills include customer-oriented development of services and knowledge of sustainable development. The labour market will require digital, information evaluation and problem-solving skills.
The Observatory of Occupations of the State Public Employment Service (SEPE) has published its 2018 Forecast and identification of training needs report. It addresses skill mismatches in the labour market to ensure that the public training offer responds to current and future demands of the national production system.
Continuing digitisation poses new challenges for professionals, with an impact on vocational education and training. In order to prepare industrial-technical apprentices for the world of Industry 4.0 right from the start, the chambers of commerce and industry (IHKs) have developed an interdisciplinary training programme that is offered nationwide from 2019.
Validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes was introduced in 2011 (for professional qualifications at EQF levels 2-4) and in 2012 (for higher education at EQF levels 5-7).
The Swedish Agency for Higher Vocational Education decided in January 2019 which programmes are to be added to the HVET portfolio over the next few years. More than 14 000 new study places were added for 2019. The expansion of higher vocational education in Sweden continues!