Parliamentary Question on Vocational Training in the EU

Question by MEP Hugues Bayet (S&D):

Vocational training — which consists of training people within companies — offers an attractive solution to the problem of the lack of employability of young people in the European Union.

Indeed in Belgium, amongst the German-speaking community vocational training is enjoying considerable success. More than 90% of people who complete this type of training find a permanent job within the next six months.

1. What measures are being taken by the European Commission to promote vocational training in Member States?
2. Might the Commission adopt new measures aimed at promoting this type of training?

Answer by European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen:

The European Commission actively promotes vocational education and training in Member States and supports peer learning and exchange. In the context of the Copenhagen Process for enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training, the Commission acts in partnership with national governments, employers’ and workers’ groups and countries outside the EU to:

improve the quality of training (initial education, continuing development);
improve the quality of teachers, trainers and other professionals in the sector;
make courses more relevant to the labour market.

In June 2015, medium-term deliverables for the VET agenda were agreed for the period to 2020 in the form of Riga conclusions(1). These include the promotion of ‘work-based learning in all its forms, with special attention to apprenticeships’. The ‘European Alliance for Apprenticeships’ further seeks to increase the supply, quality and attractiveness of apprenticeships in Europe. In June, an additional 140 000 apprenticeship and training opportunities were pledged for young people as part of this initiative(2).

Targeted EU financial support is available to support the modernisation of vocational education and training, including via the European Social Fund which has earmarked EUR 7 billion (2014-2020) for the ‘development of work-based learning systems, including dual learning systems and apprenticeships schemes’ and the Erasmus+ programme includes a minimum of EUR 2.5 billion for VET until 2020. Infrastructure developments are supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Vocational and work-based training will also feature prominently in the Commission’s measures to promote skills development.