Cedefop-ETF conference – what do learners think?

On 1st July, Giuseppina from OBESSU participated as a speaker in the final panel discussion of the CEDEFOP-ETC conference “Enhancing European Cooperation in VET: Looking back planning ahead”. After two days of very interesting conference, Giuseppina contributed the perspective of learners on the future of skills and VET in and beyond Europe.

As European institutions place a growing emphasis on VET we, as VET learners and apprentices, need to stress once again the importance of putting us at the centre of the policy process. In fact, any decision that concerns our present and future education should be consulted with us, to make sure that we create learner-centred environments. This is particularly important when thinking of the future of skills: who is better competent than young people on the future of their jobs and our planet? Developing inclusive, green and digital skills needs to starts from learners who have clear ideas, as demonstrated by the Fridays for Future initiatives, that managed to put this issue at the centre of the political debate.

When it comes to inclusion, we took the opportunity of the conference to stress that VET and apprenticeships should never be seen as second chance, and this needs to start from massive investments in infrastructure, equipment, teacher training and accessibility tools. For our VET to be agile, resilient and future proof VET needs to not only be an economic priority but a social one, and institutions should be the first ones to change the narrative on VET. Apprenticeships and Vocational Training must not be the way out of more coherent social inclusion policies and cannot be the place in which a second chance is given to those which the system does not find enough for general education. VET must be a good quality choice. 

This cannot avoid to pass by quality mobility experiences. We expect the new Erasmus+ programme to be more inclusive of VET students and apprentices. We need to be able to secure more participation of VET learners who often times come from more disadvantaged backgrounds and have less possibilities to be mobile and learn and develop skills abroad.

These are some of the thoughts we shared at the Conference. To know more about our priorities, visit the page on this website!

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