At an international conference staged by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), educational experts from the fields of politics and research highlighted the significance of cooperation between social partners and the state in vocational education and training (VET).
The around 60 participants attending the two day event underlined that this was important both for VET in Europe today and with regard to the future design of such systems.
The main emphasis of the first day of the Siegburg Conference was on BIBB's research project "Development of national training standards – stakeholders, procedures and design in European comparative terms". Within the scope of this project, BIBB is addressing core areas of an initiative by the European Union (EU) Commission, which in October 2017 presented a proposal for a European Framework for "Quality and Effective Apprenticeships". This laid out 14 criteria for company-based vocational education and training.
The studies conducted as part of the BIBB research project produced a broad basis of information and analysis relating to the two key criteria of "regulatory framework" and "involvement of social partners". The investigations carried out by BIBB are based on a comparison of the evolution and development process for training standards in six European countries – Switzerland, Denmark, Austria, Germany, Portugal and Slovakia.
Central aspects of the analyses and questions relating to the conditions for specific implementation of the criteria—especially against the background of the different forms of vocational education and training in the EU—were the object of detailed discussion in several.
Summing up the debates which had taken place in the workshops, Anja Trier Wang stressed elements such as the significance of social partner "ownership" for VET, and the importance of a clear distribution of roles amongst the stakeholder groups.
An investigation by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) into the future of vocational education and training in Europe provided the foundation for the second part of the conference. Jens Björnavold presented three "development scenarios" on the basis of an analysis of trends during the period from 1995 to 2015. These were "pluralist VET", "characteristic VET" and "marginalised VET" and/or VET for a particular purpose.
The main objective of the CEDEFOP study is to use the scenarios to begin a dialogue on the future of European cooperation in the area of vocational education and training. Collaboration between the social partners and the state is of fundamental significance in this regard, a view which was confirmed by a panel comprising Dana Bachmann (EU Commission), Professor Dr. Hubert Ertl (BIBB), Cesare Onestini (European Training Foundation - ETF) and Peter Thiele (Federal Ministry of Education and Research - BMBF).