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Cedefop undertakes research and develops tools to empower the role of VET to the fight against early leaving from education and training (ELET)

Why is it important to tackle early leaving from education and training?

Early leaving from education and training (ELET) implies multiple costs to individuals and society. Young people between 18 to 24 year-old with less than upper-secondary qualification who are early leavers tend to have:

  • Low income levels
  • High unemployment rates which grew markedly during the last economic crisis
  • Poor health conditions putting their lives at risk and generating high costs to the state welfare systems
  • Are at greater risk to become NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) and socially excluded

Additionally, a large proportion of the low-skilled adults are early leavers from education and training. Fighting ELET is a key element of the Education and Training 2020 Strategic Framework, represented in the commitment of the EU countries to:

What is the role of VET in tackling ELET?

In many countries, VET suffers from high rates of drop outs; however, evidence shows that high quality, inclusive and flexible VET provision may prevent and remedy ELET. Cedefop data shows that VET can:

  • Be a safety net for those at-risk learners in general education, offering an alternative pathway and securing their retention in and graduation from education and training;
  • Offer a more practical, work-oriented route towards a qualification, can magnetize early leavers back to education and training.

Read more about the role of VET in tackling ELET in our two-volume study “Leaving education early: putting vocational education and training centre stage

Volume I: investigating
causes and extent

Volume II: evaluating
policy impact







For further reading, see our Publications section.

What is Cedefop doing to tackle ELET?

Cedefop has been constantly supporting the Member States, social partners and the European Commission in tackling ELET, by:

  • Undertaking research and releasing relevant publications about this important matter;
  • Organising Policy Learning Forums (PLF), workshops and other events about this topic;
  • Networking to promote peer learning by exchanging examples of good practices;
  • Developing tools to empower the role of VET to the fight against ELET…

 Cedefop has designed a Europe-wide toolkit inspired by successful VET practices to tackle ELET.

Why was it created? To help:

  • Young people at risk of becoming early leavers to remain in education and training
  • Early leavers to reintegrate into education or training and the labour market.

Who could find it useful? Those who are:

  • Policy makers and VET practitioners involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of VET policies and practices to tackle ELET;
  • Working in a ministry, VET school, company, guidance centre, public employment service, social service, or youth organisation.

For what it could be useful? To help you:

  • Identify early leavers and learners at risk of leaving education early
  • Intervene to retain them in or bring them back to the system
  • Evaluate the measures undertaken within a country, region or institution

How can I take part? You can:

Go to the toolkit and discover more than 250+ resources relevant for 27 countries, including:

  • a selection of the most successful VET practices to tackle ELET;
  • an overview of profiles of learners at risk and protective factors;
  • inspiring intervention approaches;
  • reflection tools and evaluation plans for policy makers and learning providers;
  • updated statistics;
  • relevant publications;
  • and much more.

Become an ambassador to be part of our community of 60+ ambassadors from 18 countries actively contributing to tackle ELET in Europe by:

  • Helping disseminate the toolkit in their country / region/ institution and engaging with new users;
  • Suggesting good practices, tools, related publications and news, while disseminating widely the outcomes of your work on tackling ELET;
  • Acquiring new knowledge of good practices in other countries by exchanging ideas and experiences on what makes tackling ELET successful;
  • Contributing to online discussions, web seminars and Cedefop related events.

Submit your good practices and tools to be added to the toolkit;
Contact the team to give feedback on the toolkit or to send an enquiry about any other topic.


Project contacts

Irene Psifidou
Project Manager