Agile, inclusive, accessible and efficiently targeted vocational education and training (VET) is key to matching citizens’ skills to job opportunity and in keeping European labour markets dynamic and competitive in a rapidly changing globalised world.
The need for swift transitions across all sectors within Europe’s students and workforce, no matter how young or old, has been particularly visible during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent confinement, particularly within the field of digital training, re- and upskilling.
In response to the challenges facing Europe, Renew Europe welcomes the recently adopted Council Recommendation on vocational education and training (VET) for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience, endorsed today in Parliament’s VET resolution, and urges the Member States to increase investment in quality education and lifelong learning schemes for students and workers, ensuring that all citizens are equipped with the skills needed to support the Covid-19 recovery as well as the green and digital transitions.
Particularly crucial for Renew Europe in this regard are the essential role of apprenticeships in VET programmes. Renew Europe calls on the Commission to review the European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships and encourages it to work towards the creation of a European Apprenticeship Statute.
It should also be noted that in the next Erasmus+ programing period for 2021-27, it is anticipated that actions related to vocational excellence and training will be significantly reinforced.
MEP Ilana Cicuriel, (Liste Renaissance/France) has represented Renew Europe in the drafting of the resolution on the Council Recommendation. She is Member of the Committee on Culture and Education and Substitute of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. She says:
“The health and economic crisis we are going through has placed education and training at the top of Europe’s priorities: reforming our educational systems is essential to prepare citizens for the jobs of tomorrow. Parliament’s resolution aims to modernise and valorise the vocational pathway, a pathway that leads to employment. I particularly welcome the proposal to create a European Statute for Apprentice to make mobility a reality and send a strong political message: Europe is a chance for all our youth!”
MEP Dragoş Pîslaru, Coordinator of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, adds:
“Digital skills in particular are no longer a side chapter in education, but a ubiquitous feature, needed in every profession, every walk of life. Europe needs to harness and ride the digital wave successfully, with ambition and vision! This includes educating our youth in entrepreneurial mindsets and giving them the required competences to succeed on both labour but also competitive business markets”.
Furthermore, we must create access and opportunities for the most deprived to gain the skills they need to break the vicious cycles of poverty and unemployment. Digital skills could play once again a crucial role here, by opening up previously unforeseen areas of work, or facilitating, for example, the access for people with disabilities to gainful employment.”
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