At the request of the European Parliament, the European Commission directly managed 18 small scale pilot projects in 7 Member States to test local partnerships for Youth Guarantee schemes (EP Preparatory Action).
The projects aimed to provide Member States with practical experience for implementing their national Youth Guarantee schemes.
The projects were launched between August and December 2013 and ran for one year in Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Given these challenges, a much more prominent role has been attributed to VET in the overall growth and jobs agenda. The contribution of VET, particularly work-based learning and apprenticeships, to fight youth unemployment, to ensure better match between training and labour market needs and to ease transitions to employment is now more widely recognised. As an indication of the urgency of reforms in this sector, a considerable number of country specific recommendations adopted within the European Semester are related to VET. The Rethinking Education Communication (2012)9 stressed the need to invest in building world-class VET systems and increase participation in work-based learning. The European Alliance for Apprenticeships, Youth Guarantee as well as the Youth employment initiative – all launched in 2013 – confirmed the crucial role of VET in increasing the employability of young people. Learning in the workplace is also an effective way to re-train and up-skill adults. Ensuring learning opportunities for all, especially disadvantaged groups, remains a major challenge, as the renewed adult learning agenda underlined. The potential of continuing VET, which can respond flexibly to short-term needs and helps improve citizens’ employability and enterprises’ competitiveness, is not yet fully used. The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has identified growth and job creation as the first priority objective of the European Commission (2014-2019). Development of skills and competences of the European workforce is key to this objective, including promotion of quality VET and lifelong learning. Candidate Countries also share these aspirations.
Facts and figures
- Nearly 3000 academics, teachers and field experts took part in about 60 events as part of a 6 million euro project to improve VET in Turkey.
- 3000 workers and 2000 employers participated in a 4.8 million euro project to strengthen SMEs’ in-work training capacity.
Curricula were revised and updated for training programmes in different fields, such as justice, health, agriculture and the maritime sector. All relevant social partners were involved in the review, given their expertise and knowledge of the skills that are needed in the labour market.
Training was organised for the staff imparting vocational education in order to improve their pedagogical competence, and some had the opportunity to take part in study visits to several EU countries, so they could get an insight of good practices in European VET schools.