Friends and stakeholders, Commission representatives, Governing Board members and present and former staff were invited to the festive event on 11 June.
In his speech before opening the anniversary exhibition, European Commission Director-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Michel Servoz said that employment recovery depends on skills, vocational education and training, and apprenticeships.
Cedefop Director James Calleja noted that 'what Cedefop does, improving and promoting learning for work, has proved to be important over the past 40 years and promises to be even more important for the next and for future generations.' He added that continuing to improve VET is essential to put all of Europe on the road to a strong and sustainable economic recovery.
In a video message, European Parliament President Martin Schulz underlined that 'the main challenge Cedefop now faces is that of elevating vocational training back to the level of respect it enjoyed many decades ago, while at the same time addressing today's realities, especially the need for a very adaptable workforce,' adding that Europe will be counting on Cedefop's input.
Greek Alternate Minister for Administrative Reform George Katrougalos argued that 'in developing VET, Cedefop is deeply rooted in social values at a time and context where we all need to do much more to strengthen social Europe.'
Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris thanked Cedefop for its work, stating that during his term, cooperation between the municipality and the agency has taken on a new dimension.
Representing Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen, the member of her Cabinet Julie Fionda referred to the Commissioner's aim for VET to be recognised as 'first choice and not a second option' by parents and young people.
Cedefop's conference on 12 June, under its anniversary motto 'old roots for new routes,' looked at how VET has developed into its present role and discussed its future orientations up to 2020.
Opening the conference, Mr Servoz stressed that job creation is very much at the top of the European agenda and clearly linked to VET and skills.
Quality, work-based learning and vocational education and training attractiveness were among the issues debated.
The anniversary exhibition charts the political and social circumstances which led to Cedefop’s establishment in 1975, and the events that have shaped its work over the past four decades - first in Berlin and then in Thessaloniki.
Through images, texts and artefacts, the exhibition illustrates Cedefop’s eventful history and the main themes of its work, including vocational education and training research, policy analysis and support for mobility. Following its inauguration at the 11 June event, it is on display at Cedefop’s premises as of 15 June.