As technology evolves ever faster, Europe needs workers who
are able to train and re-train in order to keep their knowledge
at the cutting edge, thus maintaining Europe’s competitiveness in
international markets. Yet, despite this urgent need, training is
often regarded as a “poor cousin” compared to other forms of education, with
poorer quality standards and lower social recognition.
It is time for a strategic vision to restore vocational training
to its rightful place, including urgent measures to improve its
quality, increase its attractiveness and bring it into line with
employers’ needs. States should begin by making the right to vocational
training a binding obligation – by signing up to the relevant parts
of the revised European Social Charter.
National strategies to boost the learning of technical and
practical skills should be rolled out, including in new areas of
expertise which are often missing from existing vocational training
programmes – such as entrepreneurship, foreign language skills or
information technology knowledge. Finally, public authorities should
make the necessary resources available, for instance by giving grants
and scholarships to students and employers who carry out this kind
of training, especially in new or innovative ways.