ReferNet is a network of institutions created by Cedefop in 2002 to provide information on national vocational education and training (VET) systems and policies in the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway. Each national partner is a key organisation involved in VET in the country it represents. Therefore, all partners are particularly well- placed to offer first-hand information on VET’s role, purpose, governance and structure, insights into developments and trends in VET policies, and in-depth analysis of how each country is progressing in its implementation of common European policy objectives.
Sharing knowledge about vocational education and training
ReferNet collects information on, and monitors developments in, national VET policies and systems. This information is used for different purposes and products:
VET in Europe database on national VET systems helps policy makers, social partners, researchers and other stakeholders better understand similarities and differences of national VET systems through easy-to-navigate up-to-date descriptions that are structured by theme. The database also contains detailed information about each VET programme type, including qualification levels, share of work-based learning, providers, target groups, etc.
Short description are Cedefop hard copy publications contributing to better understanding of VET systems in countries that hold the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Spotlight on VET flyers are aimed at readers who need a concise overview of VET in a specific country. Along with basic information about a country’s VET qualifications and programmes, Spotlights indicate progression routes, describe distinctive features of the system and present main challenges and policy responses. The flyer format makes them easy to read at a glance.
Animated videos describing the national VET systems are produced based on the Spotlights of the EU Presidency countries, Finland, Romania, Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Malta, Slovakia, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Latvia, Italy
Thematic perspectives is a series of articles on themes that are relevant to Europe. Themes covered so far have featured among the highest priorities of the EU Presidencies and flagship initiatives. They complement the more general information provided in VET in Europe reports and Spotlights. Themes share a common structure, allowing for comparison across EU Member States, Iceland and Norway.
- Early leaving from vocational education and training 2013
- Apprenticeship-type schemes and structured work-based learning programmes 2014
- Innovation in vocational education and training 2014
- Supporting teachers and trainers for successful reforms and quality of VET – Mapping their professional development in the EU 2016
- Key competences in vocational education and training 2016
- Guidance and outreach for inactive and unemployed 2018
- Cedefop opinion survey on vocational education and training in Europe 2018
- International mobility of apprentices 2020
National news stories provide updates on recent developments in VET and VET-related labour market issues in all partner countries. They complement the news in Cedefop’s newsletters.
30 national websites share and disseminate information produced by the ReferNet network and Cedefop in national languages, focusing on national VET issues.
ReferNet partners also contribute to major Cedefop projects, including:
The report ‘Stronger VET for better lives: Cedefop’s monitoring report on vocational education and training policies 2010-14’ and National policy developments in vocational education and training which review VET and VET-related policy developments and reforms in priority areas agreed on by the EU Member States (plus Iceland and Norway), European social partners, candidate countries and the European Commission in the 2010 Bruges communiqué and the 2015 Riga conclusions; and
The IVET mobility scoreboard, a tool for monitoring developments in IVET mobility policies, identifying obstacles to mobility and suggesting ways forward.
A network where partners meet, work together and shape their future cooperation
Each year, two ReferNet partners host partnership forums (spring) and Cedefop hosts ReferNet’s plenary meeting (autumn). In May 2019, at the partnership forum organised in Valletta (Malta) and Bergen (Norway), partners discussed on how to shape ReferNet’s future from 2020 and exploiting the full potential of the network’s outputs.
ReferNet activities are cofinanced by Cedefop and Member States on an annual basis under a four-year framework partnership agreement (2016-19). Activities are of common benefit to participating countries and Cedefop.