High quality and inclusive continuing vocational education and training (CVET) is a priority for the next decade, and skills intelligence fit for the future is essential to achieve this goal.

This was the main message put forward by Cedefop Executive Director Jürgen Siebel during a conference organised by the Slovenian EU Presidency, entitled ‘Adult learning and education: the resilient response to future challenges’.

Citing a position paper that Cedefop alongside the European Training Foundation published last year under the title ‘The importance of being vocational: challenges and opportunities for VET in the next decade’, Mr Siebel argued that there are internal ‘tensions’ that have been affecting vocational education and training (VET) in many European systems:

  • Participation in CVET, and lifelong learning more generally, remains too low, and we risk not achieving the new policy targets for 2030.
  • The market dilemma. Despite the difficulties in finding the skills that are needed, in a rapidly changing economy and labour market, workers have little incentive to invest in new job-specific skills because they might leave their current job soon. Employers also have little incentive because it may be less costly to automate jobs and tasks rather than train.

Mr Siebel noted that Cedefop’s response to this emerging environment is to reinforce its work and tools on skills intelligence and make it fit for the future of work and learning, by leveraging skills forecasts, skills surveys, big data analysis and other methods to map and anticipate skill trends.

As he added, ‘next generation skills intelligence will be shaped on the basis of three main characteristics’:

  • more focus on transitions – learning not only skills for a job but also for a career or for a career change;
  • developing more user-focused intelligence;
  • better outreach and communication.

Finally, the Cedefop Executive Director said that the 'Learning in work survey' the Agency is now developing will shed more light on crucial issues such as how people learn (from colleagues, bosses, by making mistakes, by experimenting etc.) and what the roles are of the workplace, the organisation and the wider social context.