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The Latest EU VET policy and the future of VET

The Latest EU VET policy and the future of VET.

The Latest EU VET policy and the future of VET webinar was organised by Ecorys within the framework of their activities delivered as part of the Community of European VET practitioners on EPALE, under the aegis of the Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs (DG EMPL). The webinar took place on 26.01.2021 and it brought together over 100 VET practitioners and stakeholders from across Europe, from different types of organisations and institutions, providing a good representation of the European VET landscape.

The webinar featured presentations from DG EMPL’s Jan Varchola and Luca Pirozzi about the newest policy documents in the field of VET – providing an overview of:

  • the new Council Recommendation on vocational education and training (VET) for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience;
  • the Osnabrück Declaration on vocational education and training as an enabler of recovery and transitions to digital and green economies;
  • opportunities provided by the new Erasmus programme in this regard, with a particular focus on the new Erasmus accreditation system for mobility activities (KA1), on the opportunities for international mobility for VET learners and staff, as well as on the different formats for cooperation and exchange of good practices, under Key Action 2. 

The focus of the presentations was on the new elements in the policy documents, focusing on the EU’s vision and objectives for VET and on the implications at national level and support from the European Commission.

The presentations were followed by a panel discussion with VET experts Andrew McCoshan and Monika Auzinger, moderated by Ecorys’ Jenny Molyneux. The discussion touched upon fundamental themes for the future of VET, such as drivers of change in society and what is needed to future-proof VET – zooming in on digitalisation, CVET (new lifelong learning culture), micro-credentials; and innovative and sustainable VET (focusing on innovation in VET to meet environmental challenges, linking into innovation strategies and Centres of Vocational Excellence). Andrew and Monika discussed not only how VET can change in order to adapt and keep up with societal change, but how it could become a trailblazer and anticipate future labour market needs, including a reflection on VET’s status and reputation in the education landscape in many Member States. The principles embedded into the policy documents presented by DG EMPL in the first part of the webinar, such as inclusiveness, quality and flexibility were reflected in the panel discussion.

The question-and-answer session was opened up to the floor with a word-cloud exercise focussing on the question: “In one word, how can the European Commission support VET practitioners?”. The main answers included terms such as ‘flexibility’, ‘guidance’, ‘listening’. The questions and answers session ranged from practical issues about the policies and programmes presented, to questions about the socio-cultural aspect of sustainable development and the future of work-based learning in a digitalised world.

You can watch a recording of the webinar, access all the background materials and join the debate of European VET practitioners on the future of VET, through joining the Community of European VET practitioners on EPALE: https://epale.ec.europa.eu/en/practitioners-in-vet.

More activities and information will be shared on the Community in the coming months, so stay tuned!

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SDG 4.7 states: "Target 4.7 by 2030 ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture's contribution to sustainable development".
In spite of being nearly halfway through the Agenda 2030, I still feel that SDG 4.7 is far from being successfully integrated across all Adulte Education programmes. This is a particular problem with VET. The "labour landscape" needs to be better considered from the Sustainable Developlment four-pillar point of view (economic, cultural, social and environmental) if we are to attaing the SDGs.  
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