The 17th annual plenary meeting of ReferNet – European network of expertise on vocational education and training, of Cedefop – European Center for the Development of Vocational Training, was held on 5 to 7 February in Thessaloniki, Greece. The partners from all EU Member States, Iceland and Norway attended this meeting.
At the opening of the event, Cedefop’s executive director, Jürgen Siebel, said that the work of national partners is essential for the agency, as they are closer to the work carried out by the Member States (EM). He added that ReferNet supports a large part of Cedefop’s work, helping to understand VET systems and adjusting the European policy agenda.
João Santos, European Commission, who participated by videoconference, expressed his satisfaction for approaching ReferNet members for the first time and presented the European Commission’s new priorities related to VET, including the New Agenda for Skills in Europe.
ReferNet’s coordinator, Sylvie Bousquet, presented the thematic sessions and several experts outlined Cedefop’s work and exchanged opinions with the participants.
It was carried out a review of the 2019 work, highlighting the results of the reports on national VET policy developments 2015-19, VET for the future of work, long-term international mobility in learning, valuing VET. It was prepared the work plan for 2020 with emphasis on the future of VET in Europe, on practical training for the new online platform to present VET policies for 2020, as well as on the European skills index, an instrument prepared for a comparative analysis of the competence systems of each EU country.
In addition, the spaces reserved for sharing information, mentoring and networking were valued.
At the end of the plenary meeting, the head of Department for VET Systems and Institutions at Cedefop, Loukas Zahilas, emphasized that the new framework partnership agreement (2020-23) signals a new stage of working with old and new partners, and the ‘partnership forums’ as privileged spaces for adjusting the work to be developed.