Vocational Education Policies in the European Union



“Green growth and utilization of digitalization will guide decision making widely in Finland and whole Europe.”

– Matti Isokallio, the Director of Satakunta Educational Federation, President of EUproVET


A lot has happened in the European Union in 2020. In the summer the Council Recommendation on vocational education and training was accepted and in the end of November the Osnabrück Declaration was accepted in the ministerial conference. In addition, the long-term budgetdecisions made in the summer and the Recovery and Resilience Facility decision made at the same time have a strong effect on vocational education.

Green growth and utilization of digitalization are key points in the decision documents and the recovery instrument. These two goals will widely guide decision making in Finland and the entire Europe in the coming years.

A Few Highlights from the Council’s Recommendation on VET and Osnabrück Declaration

There are clear numeric goals in the Council’s Recommendation on VET: the share of employed graduates from VET should be at least 82%, at least 60% of the students should be doing work-based learning during vocational education and 8% of learners benefit from a learning mobility abroad. In addition to digital skills and green skills, life-long learning and life-long employability are highlighted. The fact that active citizenship has been strongly emphasized is significant, in my opinion.

The agility and flexibility of vocational education as well as offering students opportunities to progress are emphasized on system level. From the point of view of vocational education providers, it is great that vocational education will become a part of regional innovation system.

Similar themes are largely a part of the Osnabrück ministerial conference declaration: flexibility, resiliency and quality, which are essential in vocational education. Life-long learning and sustainable development are also prominently represented in the Declaration. Naturally, the European Education Area and internationality are a common factor in Europe.

The preparation process of the Declaration was participatory. In addition to the ministers of the Member States, the Declaration was approved by the European Commission, a couple of European level organizations and the vocational education organizations and student organizations which support the European level organizations.

Together we vocational education organizations prepared our statement in which we support the Osnabrück Declaration. It was great to be a part of this preparation.

Several of the aforementioned points are such that in Finland we have already started implementing them. The time span is so long that the Council’s Recommendation on VET and Osnabrück Declaration will also affect the future government’s programme. It is worth getting to know both of these documents.

In the next few years there are more different types of EU funding available for application than ever before. I’ll let the politicians evaluate whether that is a good or a bad thing. This enables us vocational education providers to develop the region’s vitality and our own actions in a whole new way. It’s on us to be responsible developers and reformers in our own regions and internationally. In this funding, digitalization and green growth are essential drivers. With good regional and international networking and good strategic choices we can offer our own competence for the good of our regions.

The President of EUproVET, the Director of Satakunta Educational Federation Matti Isokallio in private life: I live in the countryside, the nature is always near, and it is a part of my everyday life. We eat true local food, since potatoes and root vegetables come directly from our own field.


This blog is published first by The Finnish Association for the Development of Vocational Education and Training AMKE on the 15.12.2020.

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