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European Vocational Skills Week
News article12 September 2019Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Hear what VET experts had to say on the biggest challenges for the future of education and training in Europe


An independent survey carried out at a vocational education and training (VET) event in Finland asked VET expert attendees a number of questions relating to the current state of education and training. They shared their future predictions, hopes and areas of concern.

Of those that took part in the poll, most expressed concerns about funding, as well as the availability of future skills in line with current skill gaps across Europe.

Modern advancements in technology continue to revolutionise working styles and the types of skills organisations need to remain competitive. Because of this unprecedented rate of change, 64% of participants stated that they felt they would need to upskill or reskill at some point in their lifetime in order to make the most of future opportunities in their career.

Attitudes towards artificial intelligence were shown to be largely positive, with over half of people (62%) believing that it would serve to enhance human potential and nobody expressing that it might pose a threat to jobs.

When asked about the most valuable skills in both the workplace and personal life, social behavioural skills were rated above all others with 38% of participants voting for them.

The second most desirable competency was readiness to learn (33%), proving more popular than problem-solving skills (18%), multilingualism (3%) and entrepreneurship (0%).

Interestingly, many of the skills traditionally considered foundational, such as numeracy, literacy and digital competencies scored very lowly in the poll, with numeracy being considered as one of the least important skills for work and personal use, receiving 0 votes.

To support the provision of future skills and lifelong learning, the study resulted in a recommendation that adult learners should be supported through the provision of an “Individual Learning Account” to finance their training needs. This would address the initial concerns about funding and skill gaps in Europe.

Looking ahead, the professionals involved in the questionnaire predicted significant changes to the training and education industry in the next decade. Their hope was that the European Union would continue to support EU member states in increasing the quality, transparency and mutual trust between education and training institutes throughout Europe.

To help promote and encourage lifelong learning, and vocational education and training, events and activities are taking place throughout Europe as part of European Vocational Skills Week 2019. Find out more about events and activities near you here.