Forslag til rådsrekommandasjon om yrkesutdanning og -opplæring me hensyn til bærekraftig konkurranseevne, sosial rettferdighet og motstandskraft
Proposal for a Council recommendation on vocational education and training (VET) for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience
Dansk departementsnotat offentliggjort 15.9.2020
BAKGRUNN (fra kommisjonsforslaget, engelsk utgave)
Reasons for and objectives of the proposal
The proposal for a Council Recommendation on vocational education and training (VET) for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience was announced in the Communication "A Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions" of 14 January 2020. It is an important part of the ongoing implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights strengthening principle 1 “education, training and lifelong learning”.
The “Common vocational training policy” as defined in the Treaty of Rome, has been taken forward by the launch of the Copenhagen process in 2002 bringing together Member States, social partners, the Commission and was supported also by associations of VET providers. VET accounts for about half of the upper secondary graduates in the European Union. It is catering for the preparation of young people to successfully enter working life and for the upskilling and reskilling needs of people of working age for multiple purposes: for people in employment to help them to continuously upgrade their skills, adjust them to the changing work requirements or negotiate job changes, and for the unemployed to help them acquire the skills needed to re-enter the labour market; and more generally to empower the learners with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to thrive in their professional, social and personal development. The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously disrupted standard education and training activities, including VET across Europe. Despite the fact that Member States have quickly moved towards digital learning solutions, the containment measures and ensuing crisis have put the resilience of the system to the test. The situation in VET was further aggravated by the fact that practical training – in form of work-based learning and apprenticeships – has been suspended in most sectors.
The economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis offers an opportunity to accelerate reforms in VET and strengthen its resilience, notably by digitising learning offers and methods and agile adaptation to changing labour market needs. This includes paying attention to the need to ensure access to digital tools and technologies for every learner, teacher and trainer, as well as appropriate guidance measures. Digital tools such as simulators, virtual and augmented reality have the potential to increase the accessibility and efficiency of training, notably for small and medium-sized companies providing apprenticeship places. Inter-company training centres and Centres of Vocational Excellence can also play an important role here.
The pandemic is expected to lead to the deepest recession in the EU’s history and young people entering the workforce at this time will find it harder to secure their first job. Earlier crises have shown that young people are indeed likely to be hit hardest. Further strengthening of VET systems is therefore crucial for the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, as VET has proven to be an essential part of the efforts to support youth employment in the previous economic and financial crisis. Notably apprenticeships, work-based learning, but also short-term VET programmes targeting unemployed people, proved to be a pathway to increased employability and easier access or return to the labour market. The present proposal will contribute to high quality offers, in particular, of apprenticeships and other vocational programmes under the Youth Guarantee by ensuring their labour market relevance, digitalisation and environmental sustainability of VET. It will also call for reinforced support for apprenticeships and the European Alliance for Apprenticeships to renew and boost commitment to quality and affective apprenticeships opportunities.
Modernisation of VET systems is also warranted as the world of work and skills is changing. On-going developments such as automation and digitalisation of production and services continue to reshape the labour markets. In addition, the broader twin transitions towards a more digital and greener economy will require VET to adapt so that vocational learners acquire the skills needed for the green and digital transitions, while also reconfirming and strengthening the central role of VET in the lifelong learning continuum. Here especially also cross-cutting learning, bridging the gap between formally separated or parallel areas of learning e.g. the health and the environmental sector, is essential.
With the policy framework for European cooperation in education and training and specific priorities for VET ending in 2020, there is an opportunity to define a new and more ambitious Union policy on VET that responds to the challenges described above. The overall objective should be to modernise the EU’s VET policy to meet the large upskilling and reskilling needs driven by the common ambition to be fit for the challenges of the 21st century, in particular to support the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and contribute to building a more sustainable, fair and resilient European Union.
The proposal is firmly embedded in other upcoming Commission policy initiatives, notably the Commission Communication on the European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience, on the Communication on Youth Employment Support - A Bridge to Jobs for the next generation8, the Digital Education Action Plan, the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), and the European Education Area, which cover all levels and types of education and training.