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Cooperation in vocational education and training (VET)



Conclusions on the future priorities for enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training (VET)


Addressed to the European Commission and European Union (EU) countries, they put forward ideas for voluntary measures to improve the quality and efficiency of vocational education and training (VET) in the EU.


The conclusions identified 4 priority areas to be addressed, in addition to the priorities and guidelines set out in the Copenhagen process.

  • 2.

    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 access to and participation in VET should be open to all, particularly 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.
  • 3.

    Developing the links between VET and the labour market

    • 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. Social partners and economic stakeholders need to be involved in developing VET policies.
    • Guidance and counselling services should be improved, to ease the transition from training to employment.
    • Mechanisms to promote adult training should also be improved to further career opportunities as well as business competitiveness. 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. Lastly, the role of higher education in VET and in relation to labour market integration should be strengthened.
  • 4.

    More 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 strategy for European cooperation in the field of education and training and its implementation.
    • VET should be better linked to policies concerning other education levels, multilingualism and youth. In addition, collaboration with non-EU 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 4 priority areas. They should use both private and public funding to promote national level reforms and implement EU tools. They should continue improving the scope and quality of VET statistics 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 non-EU 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.


In 2010, the Commission proposed a new impetus for cooperation in vocational education and training which contributes both to its over-arching Europe 2020 strategy and the Education and Training Strategic Framework, known as ET 2020, thus carrying forward many of the ideas in the 2009 conclusions.

A joint Council and Commission report, issued in December 2015, outlines EU priorities for education and training in the 2016-2020 period.

For more information, see:


Informal learning: learning that is not curriculum-based and does not result in qualifications. The teacher is someone with more experience than the individual being taught e.g. a parent teaching the alphabet to a child.

Non-formal learning: organised learning (e.g. led by a teacher or a person with more experience than the individual being taught) which may or may not be based on a curriculum. It builds on an individual student’s skills but does not result in a formal qualification, e.g. the scout movement.


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)


Council conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020) (OJ C 119, 28.5.2009, pp. 2-10)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — A new impetus for European cooperation in Vocational Education and Training to support the Europe 2020 strategy (COM(2010) 296 final, 9.6.2010)

2015 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020) — New priorities for European cooperation in education and training (OJ C 417, 15.12.2015, pp. 25-35)

last update 21.11.2016