Guiding principles point to the key role of trainers (tutors, instructors, mentors) in companies who ensure high quality work-based learning and the link between education and real working life. The stronger the link, the easier is job-seeking and skill matching to the needs of companies. Competent trainers also contribute to ensuring that students will stay in education, that young and older, employed and unemployed, will come back to learning.

Trainers in companies should be supported in order to acquire new competences and develop the existing ones. At least four groups of competences are identified as necessary: technical/subject-related; company-specific; pedagogical-didactical and transversal.

The Thematic working group revealed a lot of work done in many countries in this respect: various legislative provisions, national and local approaches, programmes, initiatives and projects, which are summarised in the document. Based on those, some common guiding principles on how to support competence development of in-company trainers were identified. They are mainly addressed to education and training policy- and decision-makers but can be translated into actions for all stakeholders depending on national situations and contexts.

Guiding principles concern the following areas for action:

  • Trainers are lifelong learners: recognise their identity and work; support their lifelong learning.
  • Companies’ support is crucial for trainers’ CPD: raise awareness of benefits and get companies on board in supporting training and trainers.
  • Trainers’ competence development benefits from a systematic approach: define what trainers need, provide training and learning opportunities, recognise competences.
  • Supporting trainers in companies is a shared responsibility: ensure effective cooperation and coordination.
  • Competent trainers in companies matter: make them part of a broader agenda and use all available funds and programmes.

Guiding principles on professional development of trainers in VET are a contribution of the European Commission, Cedefop and the respective thematic working group to the objective set in the Bruges communiqué (Council of the European Union; European Commission, 2010) of collecting good practice and developing guiding principles on the changing roles, competences and professional development of VET teachers and trainers.