The European Conference for Education and Research (ECER) is the major annual event in the education calendar, bringing together hundreds of education and training experts from all around the world. Cedefop has maintained a continuous presence at the ECER
The ECER 2009 was the largest ever, with almost 2000 participants. The scale of the event the programme runs to 233 pages, not including abstracts makes it necessary to set up parallel thematic sessions that are organised by 27 different networks. Of these, Cedefop mainly participates in VETNET, which gathers researchers on VET issues.
The work of Cedefop has always had a strong applied research component. For policy-making, establishing facts and gathering evidence is more important than examining theoretical issues, however relevant and this what the Centre aims to provide. The agency works with researchers in several ways:
- identifying findings and gaps in research, drawing implications for policy-making (e.g. the research report);
- showcasing what policy-makers can learn from vocational training research (e.g. forecasting);
- organising workshops to acquire more insight into current research (e.g. workshops on ageing workers and on green skills);
- publishing reports that provide the research community with an insight on the priorities for policy-making (e.g. the policy report)
The participation of Cedefop in the 2009 ECER perfectly illustrates the agencys varied ties to the research community, and how it promotes closer interactions between research and policy-making feeding into each other.
In the Vocational Training (VETNET) session, Pascaline Descy presented an overview of the research reports findings on how VET systems are modernising across the European Union (the executive summary of the report will be posted in early November), and Guy Tchibozo led a debate on challenges for policy and research on career guidance. Jasper van Loo took part in a symposium (Working and Learning in old age: Theory and Evidence in an Emerging European Field of Research) which built on Cedefop 2008 workshop on ageing at work.
All three stressed the value of Cedefops continued involvement with the research communitys interests, initiatives and ideas, and the importance of bringing the European and policy-making perspective into the equation.