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European Vocational Skills Week
News article6 December 2019Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion2 min read

Ever considered a career change? It’s never too late to retrain with VET


In modern society, professional pathways are not as static as they used to be. Required skills and competencies are evolving at a faster pace, and this means that workers are far more likely now to face the prospect of changing career paths during their working lives.

Why consider retraining?

It’s not uncommon for circumstances to lead workers into career paths they do not enjoy, or that don’t suit their skillset or interests. However, making such a significant change as retraining can be a daunting prospect.

Vocational education and training (VET) plays a key role in supporting, upskilling and reskilling of the workforce, enabling them to successfully manage career transitions at any age.

Entering into vocational education and training in pursuit of upskilling, reskilling or changing careers can seem like a difficult decision to make for the learner, but in assessing the various benefits of doing so, such as increased skills and more job opportunities, it can become clear that such a decision is worthwhile.

What are the benefits to employers?

From the perspective of employers and organisations, offering VET-focused opportunities can give significant advantages to the workforce, therefore benefiting the wider organisation. VET has an important role, not only in improving the employability of individuals, but in increasing the productivity, competitiveness and innovation potential of the European workforce.

Hands-on education and training demonstrates the company’s investment in the professional development of employees and indicates that they are individually valued within the organisation. This not only establishes a more widely skilled pool of talent, but in the long-term has positive effects in terms of employee motivation, engagement and retention.

On a more general level, vocational education and training tackles skills gaps by fostering acquisition of skills, competencies and qualifications that ensure employability, personal development and active European citizenship.

What support is available?

To support the provision of future skills and lifelong learning through VET, a recent survey amongst experts in the field recommended that adult learners should be supported through the provision of an “Individual Learning Account” to finance their training needs. This would in turn address existing concerns about funding and the skill gaps in Europe.

If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to take part in VET in your country, find relevant events taking place near you here.

For more information on the biggest challenges for the future of education and training in Europe, as well as benefits of VET for different organisations, visit the news articles section.