The workshop will ‘kick-start’ the new (2015-2017) Cedefop work on the changing role of vocational education and training. This work, to be based on a combination of different research methodologies, aims to provide an in-depth and detailed insight into the overall standing and role of vocational education and training compared to other sectors of the education and training system. In many countries we now observe that the number of candidates attending initial VET is diminishing, reflecting the perceived attractiveness of higher, academic oriented education. As a consequence, the lack of skilled workers is becoming a problem in certain parts of the economy. At the same time we can observe that the character and profile of VET is changing, for example by the introduction of advanced vocational courses at higher levels (levels 5-8 of the EQF). This combination of threats and opportunities signals that VET is undergoing fundamental changes. Gathering a limited number of researchers and key stakeholders from different parts of Europe, the workshop will provide an opportunity to reflect systematically on the challenges and opportunities facing VET and how these differ between countries. The workshop will provide inputs to Cedefop’s planned research activities and help to clarify their conceptual and methodological orientation.