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Cooperation in vocational education and training (VET)

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Cooperation in vocational education and training (VET)

These conclusions encourage European Union (EU) countries and the European Commission to enhance European cooperation in the field of vocational education and training (VET) by adopting measures under four priority areas: implementation of common tools, promotion of quality and attractiveness of VET, development of links with the labour market and enhancement of European cooperation.


Conclusions of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, on the future priorities for enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training (VET) (OJ C 18, 24.1.2009, pp. 6-10)


These conclusions provide for voluntary measures whereby EU countries may cooperate in order to enhance the quality and efficiency of vocational education and training (VET). They identified four priority areas for the period 2008-10 that were to be dealt with, in addition to the priorities and guidelines set out in the Copenhagen process.

Implementing common European tools and schemes to promote cooperation in VET

National qualifications systems and frameworks that are based on learning outcomes need to be set up in line with the European Qualifications Framework. It is essential that these as well as the European Credit system for VET (ECVET) and European Quality Assurance Reference Framework (EQARF) are implemented. To this end, pilot projects, coherent methods and tools, including tools to validate informal and non-formal learning outcomes, as well as quality assurance instruments should be developed.

Promoting the quality and attractiveness of VET systems

The attractiveness of VET should be promoted to all target groups, in particular among students, adults and enterprises. At the same time, it should be ensured that access to and participation in VET is open to all, with due regard given to people or groups at risk of exclusion. Similarly, information, lifelong guidance and counselling services should be made more accessible. Paths enabling the progress from one qualifications level to another should also be made easier.

Common tools should be created to promote the quality of VET systems. In particular, quality assurance mechanisms should be developed through the future EQARF. VET policies should be based on consistent data, the collection of which must be improved. In addition, more should be invested in the training of VET trainers, language learning adapted to VET should be developed, innovation and creativity in VET should be promoted, and the permeability and continuity of learning paths between different levels of education should be enhanced.

Developing the links between VET and the labour market

In order to improve the links between VET and the labour market, it is essential to continue developing forward-planning mechanisms that centre on jobs and skills, recognising possible skill shortages. Simultaneously, the participation of social partners and economic stakeholders in developing VET policies needs to be ensured.

Guidance and counselling services should be improved, so that the transition from training to employment may occur more smoothly. The mechanisms that promote adult training should also be improved to further career opportunities as well as business competitiveness. Furthermore, efforts should be made to proceed with the validation and recognition of informal and non-formal learning outcomes. The mobility of people in work-related training should also be given a boost, in particular by strengthening the appropriate EU programmes. Finally, the role of higher education in VET and in relation to labour market integration should be strengthened.

Enhancing European cooperation

Peer learning activities should be made more effective and their results used to form national policies in VET. It should also be ensured that priorities linked to VET are well integrated and visible within the future strategic framework for European cooperation in the field of education and training. VET should be better linked to policies concerning other education levels, multilingualism and youth. In addition, collaboration with third countries and international organisations needs to be strengthened.

The Commission and EU countries are encouraged to implement, within the limits of their respective competences, the measures established under these four priority areas. They should use appropriate means of funding, both private and public, in order to further national level reforms and implement Community tools. They should also continue enhancing the scope and quality of VET statistics as well as developing a clearer VET element for the coherent framework of indicators and benchmarks. In addition, they should continue developing activities concerning future skills needs.

The Commission and EU countries should exchange information and collaborate on VET with third countries. Cedefop (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training) and the European Training Foundation (ETF) are also closely involved in supporting the Commission on VET-related issues.

last update 22.09.2015