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Eurobarometer: Vocational education and training boosts job prospects but needs an image makeover with young
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Brussels, 30 September 2011 – Vocational education and training, which nearly half of all Europeans choose to enrol in after their compulsory education, has a generally positive image among most age groups, linked to the high quality of training on offer and the strong job prospects that this brings. However, only 27% of young people aged 15-24 say they would recommend it to their peers, which shows that more needs to be done to improve the image and attractiveness of vocational educational and training within this crucial age group. These are among the key findings of a Eurobarometer survey on "Attitudes towards vocational education and training" presented by the European Commission today. The survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 27 000 people across all the Member States. Country-by-country findings are available (see link below).

    Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education

    Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education

    Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: “I believe all of us would prefer to fly in an aeroplane with a well-trained pilot rather than a well-educated pilot. Our objective is to achieve the right blend of education and training to suit the vocational world. Investing in vocational education and training is also one of the best ways of combating youth unemployment. By creating high quality training, we enable young people to boost their personal development and to acquire the kind of specific and transferable skills which employers need. But in spite of its advantages vocational education and training is failing to attract enough young people. We must continue to improve career guidance and better communicate the high demand for vocational professions to young people."

    According to the Eurobarometer report, 47% of EU citizens were or are currently enrolled in vocational education and training. There are, however, large differences between countries: as many as 76% in the Netherlands, 70% in Slovakia and 66% in the Czech Republic have experienced vocational education and training, while this is the case for only 24% in Portugal and Spain and 27% in Malta.

    When asked about the image of vocational education and training in their country, 71% said it was positive and 23% viewed it as negative. The highest share of positive responses was recorded in Malta (92%), Finland (90%) and Austria (88%), with the least in Slovenia and the Netherlands (both 50%), Hungary and Belgium (both 59%).

    For summary of main findings, see MEMO/11/654

    For more information

    Full Eurobarometer report, summary and survey findings country-by-country

    European Commission: Vocational education and training

    European Commission: Leonardo da Vinci programme


    Vocational education and training in Europe

    Across Europe around 50% of all students in upper secondary education receive vocational education and training, which makes it the most popular choice after compulsory education. While there are large differences between countries, average enrolment figures have been in decline over recent years and the sector needs to modernise in order to continue to offer relevant training. The European Commission advocates targeted investment and modernisation of vocational education and training because a strong system has a strong impact on competitiveness and helps to reduce early school leaving.

    European co-operation

    In December 2010, Education Ministers from 33 European countries (EU-27, Croatia, FYROM , Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey), together with representatives of employers and unions and the European Commission, adopted the 'Bruges Communiqué', a package of measures to increase the quality of vocational training in Europe by making it more accessible and relevant to the needs of the labour market (IP/10/1673). They agreed on shared objectives for the next decade and an action plan for the coming four years. The Bruges Communiqué is the latest revision of the Copenhagen Process for European co-operation on vocational education and training.

    Through the Leonardo da Vinci programme the EU has helped more than 600 000 young people since 1995 to go on training placements abroad. It has also funded 110 000 exchanges for trainers and more than 3 000 projects aimed at modernising the sector.

    Next steps

    On 7 October, Commissioner Vassiliou will present future EU priorities for education and vocational training at WorldSkills London 2011, the world’s largest, international skills competition. The event takes place from 5-8 October at ExCeL London and brings together 1,000 young people from more than 55 countries and regions to compete in 46 skill areas. For a programme of European Commission events during WorldSkills 2011.



    Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58)

    Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)


    For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973 1971.
    Please note: all amounts expressed in sterling are for information purposes only.

    Last update: 04/10/2011  |Top