Supporting VET teachers and trainers in a changing world: the CEDEFOP report


With the support of its ReferNet network CEDEFOP has recently  published 29 country-specific reports and a a synthesis report “Teachers and trainers in a changing world” on the roles of VET teachers and trainers. The reports deal with initial and continuous professional development of the vocational education and training (VET) teachers and trainers in both school-based and work-based environments, partnerships between schools and companies, and national and EU-funded projects on digital and green transition.

The CEDEFOP report underlines that the world of education and training is changing as a result of the COVID pandemic and recent war on Ukraine, placing responsibilities and expectations on VET teachers and trainers need future-oriented competences. Quality VET needs to be more accessible and inclusive to disadvantaged learners and this requires well-trained and motivated teachers and trainers. For instance, in addition to the need of developing digital skills, psychosocial support to learners becomes particularly important: VET cannot be separated from learners’ individual needs and challenges, including major ones such as post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). Moreover, while the war is upending Ukraine’s education system, teachers are helping to provide stability for their students, along with forms of emergency support such as humanitarian aid and providing structures to enable them achieving their goals in a secure developmental context.

The CEDEFOP report acknowledges that although the professional development of VET teachers has been put at the fore of EU policy discourse over the past decades, the actual support VET teachers and trainers receive remains uncertain. Continuous innovations and challenges have an effect not only on the competences required, but also on VET teachers’ and trainers’ wellbeing and the attractiveness of the teaching profession, which in turn affect learners’ learning outcomes. The main national challenges include an ageing VET teaching population, shortage of VET teachers, especially young ones, low attractiveness of VET in general and VET teaching in particular, weak linking of VET programmes with the labour market and long-term COVID-19 implications related to digital and inclusive VET. Low salary is pointed out as a key factor for not attracting young VET teachers. In this regard, ETUCE welcomes that the report underlines the need to maintain high investments in teachers’ and trainers’ initial and continuous professional development  as well as in improving their working conditions and career prospects. One of the conclusions of the CEDEFOP study is to facilitate the possibility of ‘dual career’ for the VET teachers to become ‘hybrid’ teachers and trainers (i.e. people who work in parallel in VET institutions and companies) to strengthen the link between VET programmes and the labour market. ETUCE reminds that such a development should be voluntary for the teachers. Instead,  governments should ensure permanent contractual status for the VET teachers, decent salary and fair working conditions which are key requisites to improve quality education and training. In conclusion, CEDEFOP suggests that accessibility barriers to continuous professional development for VET teachers and trainers should be lifted, by rather involving them in its design  and encouraging their participation through incentives such as career progression and salary increase.

ETUCE cooperated with CEDEFOP on assessing the feasibility of a pan-European survey of VET teachers and trainers. More about CEDEFOP’s upcoming event on this topic can be found here .