BWP 3/2020

Vocational Education and Training in Europe

BWP 3/2020

Germany assumed the Presidency of the EU Council on 1 July 2020 with the motto “Together for Europe’s recovery”. How can we continue to develop the European Education Area and strengthen vocational education and training in the member states in order to shape the change occurring in economy and society? The articles in this issue draw conclusions from what has been achieved thus far and highlight the future prospects. The main emphasis is on fostering transparency and on networking between national education systems at different levels—at the level of EU policy governance, via transparency instruments such as qualification frameworks, the ESCO and Europass, and via cooperation agreements between institutions and stakeholders operating locally.


Special Focus

Jürgen Siebel

“Vocational education and training is a crucial lever for successfully coping with transformation processes”

Interview with Dr. Jürgen Siebel on the challenges facing vocational education and training in Europe

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In 2020, vocational education and training in Europe will need to take stock and make new plans. Many strategy papers and initiatives are oriented towards this year. The new European Commission’s work programme for the next five years has been available since January. New perspectives will open up for VET as a result of this plan and in the wake of Brexit. The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) has acted as a reference centre for the EU since its establishment in 1975. It observes the development of VET systems and supports representatives from the fields of policy, practice and research in the further development of VET in Europe. In this interview, Cedefop’s Executive Director Dr. JÜRGEN SIEBEL outlines his assessment of current and future challenges and provides insights into the work carried out by the centre.  
Norbert Schöbel

High quality and sustainable apprentice training in the European Union

Milestones, initial conclusions and future challenges

  This article describes the two most important milestones in the European Union’s support for apprenticeship training — the foundation of the European Training Alliance in 2013 and the creation of a European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships in 2018. After drawing initial conclusions on what has been achieved thus far, it goes on to explore future challenges including with regard to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
Jörg Markowitsch, Philipp Grollmann, Jens Bjørnåvold

Vocational Education and Training 2035 – three scenarios for vocational education and training in Europe

  Will vocational education and training in Europe increasingly become a marginal phenomenon as a result of the informatisation of society, the polarisation of the labour market, the overall trend towards higher education and the growing significance of general competencies? Or will VET enjoy a renaissance in future following the establishment of higher vocational education and training and by virtue of concerted policy endeavours to combat youth unemployment and the skilled worker shortage, such as the European Alliance for Apprenticeships? This article presents scenarios for the future of vocational education and training currently being discussed in Europe which were developed within the scope of a CEDEFOP project.  
Thomas Felkl, Angela Kennecke

The e-CF – a sector framework for professional competences in IT

Findings from the application of the e-CF in the modernisation of IT occupations

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Sector frameworks are gaining in significance as part of the endeavour to make national qualification profiles more transparent in European comparative terms and to render them more readily understandable. The European e-Competence Framework (e-CF) represents such an instrument for the IT sector. When the IT occupations were revised, it was used as a supplementary reference in order to map the skills, knowledge and competencies contained in the new general training plans. This article provides an initial introduction to the development and structure of the e-CF. It also states the findings and outcomes that have emerged from the revision process and illustrates areas of potential for application and further development.  
Hannelore Mottweiler

What is ESCO?

Function of and discussion on a new transparency instrument in European (vocational) education policy

  After a period of development of just over eight years, the European Commission launched ESCO (European Taxonomy of Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations) in 2018. ESCO is a new platform for the comparability and linking of occupations, competencies and qualifications right across Europe. This article provides a summary of the structure, function and aims of ESCO in its capacity as a new transparency instrument for European VET policy. It also addresses issues relating to a possible impact on governance for national vocational education and training. The article concludes by previewing a new BIBB project which will carry out a comparative analysis of the relevance and function of ESCO for selected EU member states.  
Franziska Bopp

The new Europass Portal

Areas of potential and challenges of a complex project

  Europass is celebrating the fifteenth year of its existence with a completely updated portal with new functions and a new look. The EU Commission has been working since 2018 to bring the instrument up to speed regarding to the demands of digitalisation and to enhance synergies with other European instruments and portals. This article looks at the objectives of the new platform and at the expanded services which are now available and relates the latter to previous Europass documents. It also explains the ways in which the portal correlates with other European instruments and networks.  
Andreas Saniter, Elisabeth Rouiller

The piloting of practical work-based training

Experiences from the Erasmus+ project ICSAS

  Practical work-based training at a company is a core element of dual vocational education and training. How can its benefits be made tangible, including for European countries which have previously only offered training that is entirely school based? This article explains the issue by taking the Erasmus+ project ICSAS (Integrating Companies in a Sustainable Apprenticeship System) as an example. The concept of practical work-based training was trialled and evaluated in shoe factories in Portugal and Romania during the course of a one-year pilot phase. The project partners in both countries have applied for official recognition of the dual method for the sector of the shoe industry. The Romanian education and training authorities have already implemented this request.  
Vera Hark, Michael Schwarz, Oliver Diehl

Building bridges in the European and global UNESCO-UNEVOC network

The “Bridging Innovation and Learning in TVET (BILT)” project

  Digitalisation, climate change, migration and a continuous requirement for qualified skilled workers are creating major challenges for vocational education and training in European countries. They all face the task of developing attractive occupational profiles which offer good prospects for entry to the labour market. Transnational networking is a necessity in Europe and can also help build bridges in other regions of the world. But how can relevant innovative solutions be successfully shared, and how can we work together to create new approaches? The BILT project is making a contribution in this regard by acting as an innovation platform.  

From research and practice

Monika Bethscheider, Anne Knappe

Providing training staff with training in areas that go beyond occupation-related topics

How can readiness to take part in continuing training be increased?

  Training staff involved in the vocational training of young people are constantly confronted with new requirements. Nevertheless, it is difficult to persuade trainers to take part in training if the programmes on offer do not deal directly with professional and occupation-related issues. Such a circumstance was also revealed during the piloting of a training scheme developed by the Office for Transitions to Training and Work (“überaus”) to look at the demands which may emerge when providing training to refugees. This article traces the acquisition process and asks which starting points training providers can use in order to increase willingness to take part in vocational pedagogy training programmes. It becomes clear that personal contacts have a major part to play in this process.  
Bodo Rödel, Susanne Grimm

The limits of openness

Dissemination, acceptance and use of Open Educational Resources at vocational schools

  The idea of making knowledge publicly available is gaining in popularity. Examples include providing Open Access to academic research contents, adopting an Open Source approach to codes for computer programmes and using the concept of Open Science to release research data and study results. However, how much willingness is there to share teaching/learning materials in the form of Open Educational Resources (OER)? This article presents the initial results from a survey of vocational schools.  
Julian Baldus

Part-time training

The Vocational Education and Training Modernisation Act delivers new impetuses

  The Vocational Education and Training Modernisation Act (BBiMoG) entered into force on 1 January 2020. The opportunity for part-time vocational education and training has been redefined and expanded in terms of content via a separate provision contained within the Vocational Training Act (BBiG) and the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code (HwO). This article presents the main innovations, states the prerequisites which trainees will need to meet in order to avail themselves of this possibility, and outlines possible part-time models.  


Heike Krämer

Broadly based training with numerous options for specialisation

The training occupation of audiovisual media producer has been updated

  The occupation of audiovisual media producer has been modernised to provide a more flexible structure and new contents in order to facilitate more tailored training in the field of audiovisual media. Particular consideration has been accorded to the new developments in the area of digital media (online and social media) and in networked production. A significantly greater degree of importance has been attached to the topics of designing visual and sound products, content creation and media law. This article presents the key reforms.  

Profile of an occupation – textile production mechanic

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In the spring of 2020, nearly one in two companies in the German clothing and fashion industry became involved in helping to fill the supply gap for protective face coverings. By the end of April, production output had already reached 22 million masks a week and was still rising. One textile occupation is particularly crucial to the manufacture of the non-woven material required to make the masks — the textile production mechanic.

The Board of BIBB

Thomas Vollmer

Report on the decision-making capacity of the Board

Despite the corona pandemic (SARS-CoV-2) and the restrictions the outbreak entails, the Board and its sub-committees are still able to work and make decisions thanks to the opportunities afforded by digital communications and written circulation procedures. This report provides information on the main resolutions adopted by the Board in the second quarter of 2020.