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Promoting key competences through upper secondary VET

Preliminary observations from Cedefop’s ReferNet network reports show that most EU Member States have in place measures promoting key competences in upper secondary vocational education and training (VET).

However, data do not yet confirm that these measures help learners improve their competences, especially horizontal skills such as learning to learn, social and civic responsibility, and cultural expression.

The 2006 EU recommendation on key competences underpins the need to implement measures promoting key competences for lifelong learning. The Riga conclusions (2015) ask for more effective opportunities to acquire or develop these skills through initial and continuing VET. 

The ReferNet reports are designed as factsheets, informing on systematic national approaches to, and opportunities for, acquisition of key competences in upper secondary VET in the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway.

VET  addresses key competences less systematically than general education. For example, in Belgium, young people in secondary VET are often in more difficult social situations than those undertaking general education and have major shortcomings in key competences upon graduation.

The New skills agenda for Europe (2016) has signalled a need to review the 2006 recommendation to help more people acquire the core set of skills necessary to work and live in the 21st century.

The reports on key competences, prepared by ReferNet partners, are part of the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series and complement other available general information on national VET systems.


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