ETUC backs the Riga conclusions on improving vocational education and training

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) welcomes today’s adoption by EU leaders of the Riga conclusions, a new set of priorities to improve Vocational Education and Training (VET) for the period 2015-2020.

Luca Visentini, ETUC Confederal Secretary, speaking at the meeting of ministers in charge of Vocational Education and Training in Riga, said:

“We welcome the endorsement of the Riga conclusions on VET. The idea that education and training tools alone could create jobs has at last been dropped. Job creation through investment in human capital – including in education and training – is now at the core of the EU strategy for overcoming the crisis. Labour cost competition is not the answer.

“Employability doesn’t only mean giving people the opportunity to find work that fits their skills, it also means enabling them to retain their jobs in the face of changes on the labour market, and equipping unemployed people to re-enter the workforce with dignity rather than through precarious or low-paid jobs.

“The ETUC is ready to cooperate in achieving the goals we have set together today. Nevertheless, we are worried by European Commission attempts to reduce the social partners’ representation on the Governing Board of CEDEFOP. Its tripartite nature and its role in implementing the strategy we are discussing today must not be undermined.”



EU leaders today endorsed the Riga conclusions, identifying a new set of priorities for improving Vocational Education and Training (VET) during the period 2015-2020. The Latvian Presidency, EU ministers responsible for vocational education and training (VET), the European Commission, ETUC and cross-sectoral employer organisations (BusinessEurope, UEAPME and CEEP) have been cooperating on these priorities for almost a year. The Riga conclusions (2015-20) put forward five mid-term priorities to re-enforce the goals of the Bruges Communique (2010-2020), focusing on: 1) work-based learning and apprenticeships, 2) improving quality assurance mechanisms in VET; 3) enhancing access to VET and qualifications; 4) fostering key competences in VET curricula; and 5) improving initial and continuous professional development of VET teachers, trainers and mentors.