Cedefop’s work on the future of vocational education and training (VET) was presented by Head of Department for VET Systems and Institutions Loukas Zahilas at Greece’s 4th EU jobs and mobility roadshow, on 16 December.

The virtual event was organised by the Greek Europe Direct network with the support of the Representation of the European Commission in Athens and the European Parliament’s office in Greece. European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas was among the high-level speakers. The roadshow aims at informing people about jobs and mobility opportunities, and Cedefop has been contributing to it since its launch in 2016.

In his presentation, Mr Zahilas outlined the challenges for education, training and the labour market in a year when the coronavirus pandemic disrupted everything that was taken for granted. Looking ahead, he spoke about the problems and opportunities in a fast-changing landscape in Europe: ‘Globalisation, the internet of things, the digital economy, artificial intelligence and broader technological advances are changing daily life; the future of education and work is difficult to predict, and manual/repetitive labour will disappear to a great extent.’

In the EU there are still millions of unemployed and low-skilled people, he went on. Many jobs require reskilled and upskilled workers. Even more urgent is the fact that underdeveloped continuing training systems are unable to support learning for an active workforce of nearly 3 billion people worldwide.

Mr Zahilas presented the various tools that Cedefop uses to study the impact of these changes in connection with the unexpected effects of the pandemic.

Cedefop’s research contributes to policy-making at European and national levels. Various policy initiatives that were launched in 2020, and include Cedefop’s input, are considered important: the updated European skills agenda, the proposal for a Council recommendation on VET, the European education area and the Osnabrück declaration.

Based on experience, Mr Zahilas concluded, Cedefop aims to help stakeholders create robust policies to develop VET as a solution to the changing needs of people, economies and societies. VET becomes more varied and expands to higher education levels, servicing lifelong learning needs.

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