launched the European strategy for enhanced cooperation in Vocational Education and Training (VET), commonly referred to as
the “Copenhagen process”, involving the EU countries, Norway and Iceland. The progress and priorities of cooperation have been assessed and reviewed
at two-year intervals and produced the
The long-term strategic objectives for the current decade (2011-2020) were defined in the Bruges Communiqué in 2010. The Bruges communiqué combines a long term vision until 2020 with
a set of 22 short-term deliverables to be put in place by 2014.
The results of the review of the Bruges Communiqué were published in the
that include five priority
areas for the period 2015 to 2020. The priorities are known as the medium-term deliverables, which aim to:
promote work-based learning in all its forms, with special attention to apprenticeships, by involving social
partners, companies, chambers and VET providers, as well as by stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship;
further develop quality assurance mechanisms in VET in line with the European quality assurance
in VET recommendation and, as part of quality assurance systems, establish continuous information and
feedback loops in initial VET and continuing VET systems based on learning outcomes;
enhance access to VET and qualifications for all through more flexible and permeable systems, notably
by offering efficient and integrated guidance services and making available validation of non-formal and informal learning;
further strengthen key competences in VET curricula and provide more effective opportunities to acquire
or develop those skills through initial VET and continuing VET;
introduce systematic approaches to, and opportunities for, initial and continuous professional development
of VET teachers, trainers and mentors in both school and work-based settings.
ReferNet agencies have completed annual surveys since 2012 to monitor national progress towards these short-term deliverables. Cedefop has subsequently produced
three reports on policy development and implementation, based on ReferNet and other contributions, detailed below.
This report covers member states’ progress towards the Bruges short-term deliverables in the period 2010-2014. The report finds that the Bruges
communiqué has inspired reforms to VET systems in more than two thirds of EU/EEA countries; however, the communiqué has had a lower influence in countries with well-developed VET systems.
Specific areas of success include development and implementation of national qualifications frameworks, and introduction
and strengthening of apprenticeships, as well as making VET in general more inclusive. Many countries have been prioritising
increasing employer engagement in VET, enhancing quality and opportunities to acquire basic and key skills, but challenges remain
in securing and monitoring quality processes, and using labour market information and tracking of learners to inform VET provision.
The economic crisis and high unemployment has resulted in a strong focus on young people’s transition to work, which has meant fewer
resources have been spent on areas such as promoting lifelong learning and mobility, and encouraging creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Other areas of VET that have seen little progress are professional development opportunities for VET teachers and trainers, and validation of non-formal and informal learning.
“Stronger VET for better lives” is available for download from the Cedefop website.
This Cedefop working paper from December 2012 shows that attention across Europe has focused on helping young people remain in, and return to, education
and training through work-based learning routes. Countries have furthermore advanced in setting up qualifications frameworks and devising
approaches to assure quality in VET, but much work is still in the planning stage. More attention to the professional development of VET staff,
better monitoring of VET labour market outcomes, and considering incentives where appropriate, could help progress in the coming years. Progress
is visible regarding the European quality assurance reference framework for vocational education and training (EQAVET) and reducing early leaving
from education and training, but many policy measures are still in the planning stage. Areas where there has been less action so far require further
attention, such as monitoring labour market outcomes and informing VET provision, using incentives, and the professional development of teachers and trainers.
European tools and principles will need to interact and become more coherent to benefit European citizens fully.
Trends in VET policy in Europe 2010-12” can be downloaded in full from the Cedefop website.
This policy report was published on 7 December 2010. It evaluates progress since the beginning of the Copenhagen process until
A bridge to the future: European policy for vocational education and training 2002-10” is available from the Cedefop website.