Vocational education and training (VET) reform is opening up new routes for people into employment and for enterprises to develop the skills of their workforce to compete. However, reform still has some way to go for VET to meet 21st century expectations. But progress is being made, argues Cedefop Director James Calleja* on the occasion of the European agency’s 40th anniversary.
The challenges of the 21st century require new approaches to learning for work. Vocational education and training (VET) in Europe is evolving, but we need a clearer vision of what modern VET systems should look like.
This was the central message of Cedefop Director James Calleja’s* presentation to the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs committee, in Brussels today.
Κατά την πρώτη του επίσκεψη στο Cedefop ο νέος υφυπουργός Παιδείας Γεώργιος Γεωργαντάς διεμήνυσε στους υπευθύνους του οργανισμού τη διάθεσή του για ουσιαστικότερη συνεργασία με στόχο την επίλυση των προβλημάτων που αντιμετωπίζει η επαγγελματική εκπαίδευση στην Ελλάδα.
Η συμβολή του Cedefop στην ανάπτυξη της επαγγελματικής εκπαίδευσης και κατάρτισης και η συνεργασία με τις ελληνικές αρχές και οργανισμούς ήταν το θέμα κοινής συνεδρίασης των κοινοβουλευτικών επιτροπών Μορφωτικών Υποθέσεων και Κοινωνικών Υποθέσεων, στην οποία αντιπροσωπεία του ευρωπαϊκού κέντρου παρουσίασε το έργο του και απάντησε σε ερωτήσεις βουλευτών.
Cedefop presented its work to the Greek Parliament, for the first time, on 23 October. A delegation headed by Director James Calleja addressed MPs of the Education and Social Affairs select committees and answered questions on the agency’s contribution to the development of vocational education and training (VET) and its cooperation with Greek authorities and VET institutions.
‘Europe’s true problem is not one of a deficit of skills, but primarily a deficit of creation of good quality jobs,’ Cedefop Director James Calleja told the European Parliament of Enterprises on Thursday in Brussels.
The issue of permeability between different sections of education was the subject of two speeches Cedefop Director James Calleja gave at international conferences in September.
Last May, Cedefop held an expert workshop on how credit transfer systems can open doors between vocational and higher education. Participants investigated how credit transfer systems work in practice, and sought complementary and alternative solutions to the challenges these systems face.
Cedefop report finds that to best serve individuals, validation of non-formal and informal learning must take experience of companies into account.
Head of Area Enhanced Cooperation in VET and Lifelong Learning Mara Brugia has been appointed to the post of Deputy Director by Cedefop’s Governing Board. Ms Brugia will take up her new duties on 1 September 2014. She will replace outgoing Deputy Director Christian Lettmayr who is retiring at the end of August.
Qualifications that correspond to level 5 of the European qualifications framework (EQF) appeal to learners as they open up prospects on several fronts - immediate employment, career advancement, and further learning.
Early findings of a Europe-wide Cedefop study of the effect of vocational education and training (VET) on the dropout rate reveal that this effect is largely positive.
A new Cedefop project, which will look into the apprenticeship systems of Lithuania and Malta, has been launched. The project, to be completed in 2015, is in support of the European alliance for apprenticeships and will involve government ministries, vocational education and training (VET) institutions, social partners and other stakeholders in both countries.
At a high-level dinner, organised by weekly newspaper European Voice in Brussels on 20 May, Cedefop Director James Calleja said that ‘educational reform must have relatively the same speed as developments in the labour market’ to make it easier for young people to move from education to employment.
Apprenticeships and similar work-based schemes have proven to make it easier for young people to move from education to work. But not all countries have highly-developed apprenticeship schemes, and many wish to benefit from others’ experience. A Cedefop event on 7 and 8 May helped to pave the way towards new partnerships for apprenticeship between EU countries.
To reduce high unemployment among their young people, countries are looking to others for help. In countries, such as Germany, the Netherlands and Austria youth unemployment has remained relatively low. This is attributed in part to their apprenticeships or ‘dual’ systems and so interest in them has increased.
In vocational training, but also for general economic growth needed for employment, European policies are catalysts for innovation, according to Cedefop Director James Calleja.
Italy has high numbers of young people participating in initial vocational education and training compared to the EU average. According to indicators compiled by Cedefop (the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training), in 2012, 60% of all upper secondary students in Italy were vocational students, above the EU average of 50.3% and higher than in Germany (48.6%) and France (44.6%).
Although around 45% of employees participate in continuing vocational training courses provided by enterprises, adult participation in lifelong learning in 2012 in France was only 5.7%. This is well below the European average of 9.0% and a long way from the European target of 15% to be reached by 2020. According to indicators compiled by Cedefop (the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training), adult participation in lifelong learning in France is also below Spain (10.7%) and Italy (6.6%), but slightly above Germany (7.9%).
In Germany, students in initial vocational education and training (IVET) accounted for 48.6% of all upper secondary students in 2012, close to the EU average of 50.3%, but below Italy’s 60% according to indicators compiled by Cedefop (the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training). The main difference between Germany’s IVET students and other countries is that 88.2% are enrolled in combined work- and school-based programmes, compared to only 27% in the EU as a whole.