Cedefop unveiled the results of a study aiming at a European methodology that will allow the comparison and analysis of the content and profile of vocational education and training (VET) qualifications.

The study 'Comparing vocational education and training qualifications: towards a European comparative methodology’ ran from 2018 to 2021, and the results were presented on 18 June 2021 at a virtual workshop, which was attended by more than 90 VET experts, stakeholders and policy-makers.

Cedefop expert Jens Bjørnåvold defined the project's main objectives, which are:

  • to develop research methodologies supporting national and international research on VET programmes and qualifications;
  • to create a toolbox for stakeholders involved in developing VET programmes and qualifications, nationally and internationally.

One of the main points in scrutiny is the analysis and comparison of content, i.e., translating skills into curricula, programmes and qualifications, to support cross-border research, dialogue and learning, as well as research within countries.

The workshop, which was moderated by Cedefop expert Anastasia Pouliou, included the presentation of the study's three-perspective model (labour market, education system, and pedagogical/epistemological perspective), its main results and lessons to be learnt, as well as its main research challenges:

  • to allow for a better mutual understanding of VET qualifications’ content and profile;
  • to strengthen the comparative methodology in terms of validity, reliability, and scalability.

Participants had the opportunity to benefit from the insight of UNESCO’s Director of Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems Division Borhene Chakroun, who, picking up on the study's main themes, shared some thoughts on the global challenges for VET and the world of work.

‘Common learning is needed, as the upcoming global handbook on defining, writing and applying learning outcomes will be important for the next period and peer learning in the EU and across the globe,’ Mr Chakroun noted, adding that ‘polarisation of the labour market has an impact on qualifications and skills – so, more surveys on enterprises are needed.’

He pointed out that ‘our underlying assumptions on VET and the world of work need to be challenged’ and that it was important to give a voice to young people by involving them in the governance of education and training.