Vocational education and training (VET) is at the heart of the skills revolution that is indispensable for a just recovery as well as the digitalisation and ‘greening’ of Europe’s economy, Cedefop Executive Director Jürgen Siebel told participants of a high-profile event organised by the European Business Network for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (CSR Europe).

Speaking at the 'European SDG summit 2021 for climate action and a just transition', Mr Siebel noted that VET, as the engine of the twin transitions, provides people, companies and societies with the skills needed to master and shape the recovery and, thus, is a prerequisite for inclusive and sustainable growth.

The jobs automation scenario that Cedefop has been mapping out, the Agency’s Executive Director pointed out, forecasts that the impact of automation will be most pronounced at the lower end of the labour market, and that brings the need to re- and upskill to the forefront.

‘Already before the pandemic, 128 million adults were in need of up- and reskilling (46% of adults in EU+UK), while three in four surveyed companies experienced changing skill needs due to the pandemic,’ Mr Siebel said and, illustrating the importance of forecasting future skill demand, he added that ‘to maximise VET’s potential, skills intelligence will play a vital part.’

Discussing the ambitious targets the European Union has set in relation to skills, the Cedefop Executive Director underlined the need for EU Member States, social partners and VET providers to give adult learning a kickstart and noted that the Agency will greatly contribute to that effort by providing its forward-looking perspective that is essential for reinventing:

  • VET, so that so that it becomes an enabler of a just transition; and
  • skills intelligence, making it people-centred rather than expert-focused.

Finally, he pledged that Cedefop will work to assist developing more innovative partnerships, breaking policy silos, systematically linking expertise and information, and learning from successes and failures.