Young people and vocational education and training (VET) was the theme of Cedefop’s presence at the 2022 Thessaloniki International Fair (10-18 September). Cedefop Executive Director Jürgen Siebel was among the speakers at a high-level conference on ‘Today’s skills for tomorrow’, and young people gave their views on VET at a separate recording session organised by the Agency.

The drop-in recording session, on 17 September, in the context of the European Year of Youth 2022, gave VET students and graduates the chance to say what prompted them to follow this path and how it helps them to get the right skills for a professional career.

Cedefop Head of Communication Gerd-Oskar Bausewein welcomed the young contributors, thanking them for joining the event and for sharing their VET story. ‘Your voice counts,’ he said, adding: ‘You can be proud of the path you have taken. I wish you every success in your vocational training and all the best in your future life.’

Students talked about VET being their first choice or a complementary path to university studies with the aim to get the skills needed in today’s demanding labour market. Graduates stressed how the combination of theoretical and practical elements, with work experience in companies, helped them get ready for a career. They all enthused about the quality and prospects of VET courses, ranging from graphic design to robotics and from pharmacy assistant to economics.

The session was hosted by the European Commission’s representation in Greece.

Working for the younger generation

Cedefop Executive Director Jürgen Siebel had the opportunity to present the Agency's work and priorities to a considerable audience at a high-profile conference, also organised by the Representation, on 10 September, to celebrate the European Year of Youth.

Participants in the debate included European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, the Greek ministers for Education, Niki Kerameus, Digital Governance, Kyriakos Pierrakakis, and Labour, Kostis Hatzidakis, and DG Employment Director for Employment and Social Governance Barbara Kauffmann.

Mr Siebel noted that Cedefop's work was very much linked to the needs of Europe's younger generation and the event's theme.

'We look at what works well and what needs to change in VET. We help societies and people make the right choices when faced with important questions, such as:

  • what types of education and training are most needed in the future?
  • how can we make sure that people apart from being trained for an occupation (for example a care worker or an electrician) also have the skills they need to continue learning in their career, to be able to cope with future changes in work?

Hence, what we do, providing solutions to make VET relevant to the labour market and help unlock its potential, is by definition future-oriented,' Mr Siebel said.