Cedefop’s first opinion survey on vocational education and training (VET), launched in 2016, provides unique new data on how European citizens perceive its attractiveness and effectiveness.

Most Europeans (71%) know what VET is and two in three (68%) have a positive opinion of it, while almost nine in 10 (87%) VET graduates are happy with the work-related skills they have acquired; finding a job is the number one reason among Europeans for choosing a VET path.

These are some of the survey results, which were presented and analysed at an expert workshop on 23 and 24 February in Thessaloniki. A total of over 35 000 face-to-face interviews were conducted with EU Member State citizens aged over 15.

The main concepts surveyed in relation to VET at upper secondary level were: awareness and knowledge; attractiveness and access; satisfaction and experience; outcomes and effectiveness.

Within these concepts, the survey provides insights in areas such as levels of participation in VET, people’s interpretation of what VET is, people’s ideas on information and guidance, factors for choosing an educational path, satisfaction with acquired key competences, perception of the education systems’ permeability and of vocational education's role in society, people’s experience of finding a job after education, and many more.

In her closing speech at the expert workshop, Cedefop Deputy Director Mara Brugia explained that 'the opinion survey is not a project in isolation; the analyses of the data, particularly the microdata, will help to inform and contextualise findings of other Cedefop work such as the project on the changing nature and role of VET in Europe.'

Ms Brugia added that 'a questionnaire for all EU Member States and people of different ages and backgrounds cannot fully fit all the different realities. What is important is that we are aware of these differences and understand them.'

Looking ahead, she expressed her hope that 'countries, but also social partners, will find our data useful and interesting to explore them further.'

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