Event rationale and objectives

The economic downturn has led to a marked increase in long-term unemployment. In 2015 there were almost 4 million more European citizens out of work for over one year compared to 2007. Although recently employment growth has somewhat improved, in 2015 nearly half of the jobless in the EU were long-term unemployed (LTU), affecting almost 11 million people (4.5% of the active EU population). Close to two-thirds of them (6.8 million) have been out of work for over two years (very long-term unemployed, VLTU).

Addressing long-term unemployment is one of the key challenges of the EU’s jobs and growth agenda, as its persistence and higher risk of skills deterioration are barriers to labour market integration and lead to social exclusion. The recent Council recommendation on the labour market integration of the long-term unemployed and the European Commission’s New Skills Agenda for Europe call for a multi-faceted strategy that combines macroeconomic policy with better activation and skills policies. Such policies should include better skills profiling and validation, identification of skill needs in the local economy and targeted training combined with individualized career guidance and counselling. They depart from ‘work-first’ approaches to activation.

The aim of the policy learning forum (PLF) was to inform approaches to VET within activation measures that put upskilling and skill matching centre stage. The forum sought to ‘put policy into practice’ by moving beyond theory and empirical analysis and towards a deeper understanding of features, mechanisms and triggers underpinning effectiveness of innovative practices from across the EU. The PLF served as a platform for debate and mutual learning for key stakeholders involved in the design and delivery of VET and skill matching programs as part of activation policies.

Methodology of the policy learning forum

Following a similar format to other successful PLFs organised by Cedefop, the PLF on ‘Vocational training for the long-term unemployed’ required active participation from all participants, both before and during the forum:

  • case study presenters submitted a short written input summarising features of vocational training measures for the long-term unemployed in their organisation or country and lessons learned from practice;
  • case-study presenters were asked to deliver more in-depth information to Cedefop to be used for short (one page) schematic summaries of the initiatives they will present at the forum;
  • during the forum, participants were expected to contribute to the debate and exchange experiences.

The PLF was build on Cedefop’s publication on ‘Tackling unemployment while addressing skill mismatch: Lessons from policy and practice in EU countries


This seminar will focus on addressing and preventing low skills, a driving force of the core skills strategies in the EU.

This seminar, organised in cooperation with the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU, will focus on addressing and preventing low skills, a driving force of the core skills strategies in the EU. It will serve as a platform for policy-makers, social partners and other VET and labour market stakeholders to discuss factors which impact on the average skills level of workers, such as early leaving from E&T, long-term unemployment, ageing, skills mismatch, socioeconomic background, migrant status and gender. Discussions will also focus on how to encourage the development of systems to address the issue of low skills, a key objective of the Recommendation ‘Upskilling Pathways: New Opportunities for Adults’.

Participants' profile: Brussels-based stakeholders from the Permanent Representations of Member States to the EU, European Commission, the European Parliament, European business and sector associations, trade union and employee organisations.

Please find below the agenda of the event with further information.


The first policy learning forum (PLF) on apprenticeships is linked to the thematic country reviews on apprenticeships (TCRs), which Cedefop launched in 2014. With the TCRs Cedefop supports cooperation at European level among Member States, and interacts with individual countries that wish to develop quality apprenticeships, in line with EU policies. To date there have been three rounds of TCRs:

  • the first round included Malta and Lithuania, and was concluded in 2015;
  • the second round, with Greece, Italy and Slovenia, was concluded in mid-2017;
  • the third round is in progress; it includes Cyprus and Croatia, and kicked off in early 2017. In this round, Cedefop is piloting a lighter version of the TCRs on apprenticeships (flash TCRs) in Belgium (French-speaking Community) and Sweden.

Cedefop’s PLFs are an opportunity for countries to generate knowledge and build consensus around shared problems. The 2017 PLF on apprenticeships addresses the countries that are either involved at different stages of a TCR/flash TCR on apprenticeships, or have expressed an interest to participate in a future round. Stakeholders and national experts directly involved in the TCR exercises have been invited to contribute to the PLF, which will take place in Cedefop (Thessaloniki, Greece) on 7 and 8 September 2017.

Participants will have an opportunity to:

  • discuss how the TCR countries have used/will use the knowledge generated by the TCR to devise domestic policies: the five countries from the first two rounds that have completed the TCR exercise (MT, LT, EL, IT, SI) will play a prominent role in these discussions;
  • reflect on several shared problems, and formulate knowledge-based solutions;
  • Take part in an exercise on apprenticeship cost-benefit analysis.
  • Discussions are expected to result in:
  • advice on how the TCRs should/could formulate solutions and policy recommendations in an environment where knowledge/expertise on policy issues but may be politically contested, despite being a critical resource in policy-making;
  • consensus building around shared problems;
  • better understanding of the divergences and convergences between labour market and education and training actors (regarding communication, policy expectations, etc.).

European vocational skills week




Cedefop is developing a fully-fledged system for analysing online vacancies across the EU.

By exploring job vacancies (OJVs) as a promising source of labour market information, Cedefop intends to set up a pan-European system for collecting real-time labour market intelligence. Assessing the availability and accessibility of information on the landscape of job-portals and the use of online job-vacancies in 28 EU Member States (“Landscaping exercise”) constitutes an important first step in the exercise. The Expert Workshop brings together International Country Experts (ICEs) who have been collecting information on the OJV landscape in their countries. It serves as a framework for discussing the comparative analyses of the first results of this work and investigating the implications of the findings for the following data collection and analysis.

The Expert Workshop seeks to deepen the insights of the Landscaping Activity by:

  • Reflecting on the Landscaping Activity and its challenges with the ICEs and Cedefop representatives;
  • Understanding the function of online job-portals in different countries;
  • Identifying the critical aspects and the possible gaps in individual or group of countries;
  • Establishing a common approach for finalising the Country Reports;
  • Exploring the role of EURES and global job-portals in relation to national and international job portals.
Working with us
Competitive procedure with negotiation ref. 161016/4301
Closing date