At a meeting of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels on 25 January, Cedefop Director James Calleja outlined the priorities of the 2018 work programme and gave a review of the previous year.

Mr Calleja reported that in 2018 the EESC and Cedefop will join forces to support the initiative Upskilling pathways: learning opportunities for adults.

A first joint policy-learning forum will take place at the EESC in February followed by an activity in Lisbon in which businesses will meet vocational education and training (VET) providers to promote work-based learning. Employers, trade unions, youth organisations and policy-makers will take part in both events.

Mr Calleja reiterated Cedefop’s motto ‘think European, act local’, saying that this is an efficient way to ensure implementation of European policies that impact young as well as adult learners and workers. Education and training is all about upskilling and reskilling for employability.

It is employment, he stressed, that gives people scope for development, recognition, status and better quality of life. Education and training’s social dimension is at the heart of lifelong learning, a process needed to secure employment.

Mr Calleja delved into the priorities for 2018: support for the New skills agenda for Europe; finalisation of the flagship project on the changing nature and role of VET, which feeds into the Europe-wide debate on the future of VET; policy-learning forums on work-based learning and apprenticeships; learning pathways for low-skilled adults; delivery of online timely labour market intelligence; and capacity building in skills anticipation and governance.

Cedefop and Eurofound will finalise and test the questionnaire for the next European company survey.

The Cedefop Director shared success stories from 2017: an excellent result of a staff engagement survey with a total of 72% favourable replies; a budget execution of almost 100% (99.9%); a completed work programme; 38 publications; reaching the milestone of 100 million Europass CVs compiled since 2005; over 1.3 million Cedefop website page views; more than 11 000 followers on Facebook, 6 300 on Twitter and 63 000 downloads of Cedefop briefing notes.

‘2017 has seen the best of times at Cedefop, with staff responding positively and professionally to challenges posed by external factors; 2018 promises to be a time for transformation and intensified support to our stakeholders, particularly social partners and Member States keen on reforming VET,’ said Mr Calleja.