Policy priorities for performance-based funding (PBF) in vocational education and training (VET), the proposed Skills Agenda for Europe and a mobility scoreboard were among the topics discussed at the meeting of Directors General for vocational education and training (DGVT), hosted by the Netherlands EU Presidency in Amsterdam (15-16 February).

The Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker welcomed the participants on behalf of the Dutch Presidency. Cedefop Director James Calleja, Loukas Zahilas, Head of Department for VET systems and institutions and Lore Schmid, Assistant to the Directorate, presented Cedefop’s views and work in the plenary session on the mobility scoreboard and in the parallel sessions.

The DGVT agenda included the presentation of a background document on the proposed Skills Agenda for Europe, a presentation and discussion on the results of Cedefop’s feasibility study on a mobility scoreboard, an update on the partnerships between VET providers and businesses at national and regional level, information on the work of adult learning coordinators and the concept for a European VET week earmarked for December 2016.

The host country presented the work on performance-based funding (PBF) and excellence in the Dutch VET system and discussed in break-out sessions which policy priorities are suited for PBF in VET and which criteria can be used to select appropriate topics/indicators. The question posed for discussion was: How can we encourage VET institutions to develop programmes for excellence amongst VET students and how can governments stimulate VET providers so that they can guide their students to a higher qualification level?

On the second day of the meeting participants had the opportunity to visit the Jean School which is an initiative of House of Denim and ROC van Amsterdam. House of Denim is a platform for innovation and craftsmanship in the denim industry and was founded by James Veenhoff and Mariette Hoitink. ROC van Amsterdam is one of the largest institutes for vocational education in the Netherlands connecting and inspiring experts throughout the global industry and initiating projects relating to education, innovation, enterprise and connections. It is an independent foundation based in Amsterdam.

Cedefop’s Director considers the Dutch DGVT as an excellent example of research, analyses and policy meeting practitioners and hands-on VET environments. Mr Calleja said: ‘This was a DGVT meeting with a difference. Participants had the chance to discuss and share opinions on day one, but also the opportunity, on day two, to experience VET in practice in environments in which a public and private partnership created the right setting for access to employability and visibility by the employer and the learner of future employment. I thought that the students and teachers’ motivation was high and this made VET more attractive and relevant to their lives and their profession.’