Cedefop Executive Director Jürgen Siebel was invited to present the Agency’s activities in the context of the coronavirus crisis to the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs on 26 May.

Mr Siebel argued that, in times of economic crisis, vocational education and training (VET) can play a crucial role in preparing everyone for the inevitable transformation of the economy; it can also be a driver of change and help societies rise to the challenges ahead. He added that ‘investing in VET, and education and training in general, is the best option to inspire confidence and to show citizens we trust in the future of our economies and value their contribution.’

With the above in mind, Cedefop reacted as soon as the coronavirus started. Mr Siebel outlined the Agency’s response, which consists of instant research, evidence-based reflections and in-depth analyses.

Instant research includes the impact of coronavirus on the use of Europass, the search volume of online course/training in Google, ways that EU countries manage apprenticeships, the impact of the pandemic on lifelong guidance in Europe, also on sectors and the future of occupations, and the digital gap for VET learners at risk.

Evidence-based reflections have focused on the health sector and professionals, crowdworkers, adult refugees, tourism and automation. Mr Siebel noted that ‘in all of these research projects, we look at the impact on skills, skills provision, and at the VET policy responses in support of social and economic recovery.’

In-depth analyses include a global survey on the impact of the pandemic on learning in companies, launched in cooperation with main international organisations, a ReferNet survey on national responses to the pandemic, and the adjustment of the 2nd European skills and jobs survey to include questions related to the current crisis.

Mr Siebel concluded: ‘Because of its pivotal role in the fields of labour market, vocational training and skills intelligence, Cedefop must deliver critical input to the European Union’s coronavirus recovery efforts, starting now. We’ll help policy-makers assess the impact of the crisis on VET systems and identify how the latter can be used to overcome the former.’

The presentation was followed by an exchange of opinions on the next steps with MEPs from various political groups and countries.

You can watch the Cedefop Executive Director’s presentation here.