Tuesday, 30 June 2020 

(Programme in Brussels time)


Introduction of participants to the virtual event

14.00 – 15.00

Session 1. Opening remarks

Jürgen Siebel, Executive Director, Cedefop and
Cesare Onestini, Director, ETF

Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights

Blaženka Divjak, Minister for Science and Education, Croatia

Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister for Education and Research, Germany

Niki Kerameus, Minister for Education and Religious Affairs, Greece 

Chair: Jürgen Siebel, Cedefop

15.00 – 15.30


15.30 – 16.10

Session 2. Key findings from the Riga 2015 – 2020 cycle of European cooperation in VET

George Kostakis, Coordinator VET policies and systems, Cedefop;

Georgios Zisimos, Senior specialist in EU education and training policies, ETF

Short testimonies from Croatia and Germany on how EU cooperation helped VET reforms at national level

Nino Buić, Assistant Director, Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education, Croatia

Sabine Schueller, Policy officer, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany

Chair: Irina Jemeljanova, Cedefop

Co-host: Iraklis Pliakis, Cedefop 

16.10 – 16.30


16.30 – 17.00

Session 3. Discussion: What do we make out of the Riga findings?

Chair: Irina Jemeljanova, Cedefop

Co-host: Iraklis Pliakis, Cedefop

17.00 End of Day 1


Wednesday, 1 July 2020

(Programme in Brussels time)

9.00 – 9.30​

Participants accessing the virtual event

9.30 – 10.00

Session 4. Looking ahead: challenges and opportunities for VET in the next decade

Mara Brugia, Deputy Director, Cedefop

Anastasia Fetsi, Head of Operations Department, European Training Foundation

Chair: Antonio Ranieri, Cedefop

Co-host: Loukas Zahilas, Cedefop


Guidance for the workshops

Irina Jemeljanova, Cedefop

10.00 – 10.15


10.15 – 11.45

Session 5. Looking ahead – Discussion in four parallel workshops

Following the discussion on their topics, participants of each workshop will propose up to two key messages (suggestions for action) to feed into the European cooperation in VET in the coming years.


Workshop 1: Transparency and permeability for stronger VET

SpeakerEduard Staudecker, Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, Austria​

Speaker: Külli All, Ministry of Education and Research, Estonia

Transparency and permeability measures and tools contribute to learners’ smooth transition in the education and training systems and to the labour market. The European cooperation to develop common tools and instruments has improved understanding among Member States on how their (vocational) education and training systems are organised and function. The comprehensive national qualifications frameworks implemented across the EU improved access, progression and mobility and supported recognition of VET qualifications, while their impact is growing. Effective validation arrangements help citizens identify their skills, have the outcomes of their non-formal and informal learning recognised, and motivate them to up-/reskill. Countries have reinforced their work in this area including a stronger focus on CVET to address the challenges they face. VET systems across the EU have increasingly less clear-cut borders between VET for young people and adults, initial and continuing training; this calls for a stronger focus on a lifelong learning perspective and effective interaction between all sectors of education and training systems

Chair: Anastasia Pouliou, Cedefop

Co-host: Nikolaos Georgiadis, Cedefop



Workshop 2: VET for labour market integration and social inclusion

Speaker: Mladen Perazic, Chamber of Economy (CEM), Montenegro

Speaker: Mary Lyons, SOLAS, Ireland 

As the most heterogeneous type of education and training, VET is best suited to reach a wide range of learners. Provision of skills for the labour market goes hand in hand with engaging more people in training, reskilling and upskilling. The lifelong learning perspective calls on VET systems to accommodate training of adults, people with disabilities and vulnerable groups in their core business. Upskilling and reskilling, lifelong guidance and validation, improving access to VET, equal opportunities, and NEETs should be primary targets in inclusive VET systems. Apart from developments in Member States, there is evidence that partner countries also address the labour market integration of young people, particularly looking into the potential of skills development for addressing social vulnerabilities.

Chair: Cristina Mereuta, ETF

Co-host: Lidia Salvatore, Cedefop


Workshop 3: VET and skills for the Green Deal and new digital age

Speaker: Sigrid Tani, KHK, Estonia 

Speaker: Alptug Calik, Public employment service Adana, Turkey

Speaker: Stelina Chatzichristou, Cedefop

The success of the EU becoming a climate neutral economy by 2050 is strongly associated with the development of its human capital.  The Green Deal in times of digital transformation is more than a political commitment towards a more sustainable economy and society. It is about developing a highly skilled workforce that will drive the transition and enable European businesses to expand and maintain their competitiveness. A greener and more digital future can go hand in hand. VET can be in the driving seat of this transformation. It takes new partnerships at national and international level, upgraded VET curricula to accommodate the development of skills and competences for digitalisation and greening of economy, advanced skills intelligence systems and feedback loops. Such transition would need flexibility for changes in occupational and qualification profiles. Working in sectors, we can study the impact of digitalisation and other global change drivers, including climate, on skills demand. Promotion of digital skills and learning contribute to a more smooth transition to digital economy. The COVID19 crisis has accelerated these developments.

Chair: Arjen Deij, ETF

Co-host: Dmitrijs Kulss, Cedefop


Workshop 4: Excellence and attractiveness of VET

Speaker: Sampo Suihko, OMNIA, Finland

Speaker: Ilze Buligina, Ministry of Education and Science, Latvia

The EU vision for VET by 2030 puts excellence in the forefront. Excellent VET is attractive, inclusive, responsive, flexible and innovative. Individuals acquire skills, competences and qualifications that improve their employability, adaptability, personal development and active citizenship from a lifelong learning perspective. Excellent VET is provided in modern infrastructure, using up-to-date standards and curricula and by competent and motivated teachers and trainers. It is based on strong cooperation between the world of work and the world of education, between VET schools and enterprises, between teachers in schools and trainers in companies. Centres for vocational excellence, an important component of the EU VET agenda, demonstrate their potential for supporting this cooperation and adding excellence to the VET system. Strengthening work-based learning, including apprenticeships, and expanding VET to higher levels diversifies learning pathways and makes it more attractive. Social partners play an active role in shaping and making decisions about VET.

Chair: Irene Psifidou, Cedefop

Co-host: Georgios Zisimos, ETF

11.45 – 13.00

Lunch break

13.00 - 13.30

Session 6. Skills agenda and new EU policy on vocational education and training

Manuela Geleng, Director DGEMPL, European Commission

Chair: Loukas Zahilas, Cedefop

Co-host: George Kostakis, Cedefop

13.30 - 14.15

Session 7. Panel discussion: The way forward

Dana-Carmen Bachmann, European Commission

Katarina Grgec, Ministry of Science and Education, Croatia

Peter Thiele, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany

Antonio Leite, Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional, Portugal

Barbara Dorn, Confederation of German Employers' Associations, Chairperson of Cedefop Management Board

Ludovic Voet, European Trade Union Confederation

Giuseppina Tucci, Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions 

Chair: Loukas Zahilas, Cedefop

Co-host: George Kostakis, Cedefop

14.15 – 14.30

Session 8. Closing remarks

Margaritis Schinas, Vice President, European Commission

Jürgen Siebel, Executive Director, Cedefop

Cesare Onestini, Director, ETF