Europe’s future depends on its Youth’. Yet, opportunities are limited while youth unemployment, marginalization and social exclusion are threatening Europe’s greater asset for the future: young people’s human and social capital. There is still great need for MS “to continue to work together to improve their employability, their integration in the labour market, their social inclusion and participation”. (Junker Speech, EC 2015).
Equipping young Europeans with the right skills has been reaffirmed by the 2016 Council Resolution on ‘A New Skills Agenda for an Inclusive and Competitive’ Europe which stated that skills are a pathway to employability and prosperity. However, skills gaps and mismatches are striking, 40% of employers cannot find people with the skills they need, whereas students leave E&T without being sufficiently prepared to enter the labour market.
VET is valued for fostering job-specific and transversal skills, facilitating the transition into employment and maintaining and updating the skills of the workforce according to sectoral, regional and local needs. Although over 13 million learners are engaged in VET each year, forecasts in several M.S. indicate that there will be a shortage of people with VET qualifications in the future.
Yet, for many young people and their parents VET remains a second choice. VET needs to increase its attractiveness through quality provision and flexible organisation, allowing progression to higher vocational or academic learning, and closer links with the world of work.
Introducing coding and robotic skills to VET students, while strengthening the profiles of VET teachers are among the aims of the consortium. ‘Everyone should learn how to program, as it teaches you how to think’. (Steve Jobs) Promoting coding and robotics will help enrich VET provision of curricula while promoting better skills matching thus bridging the gap between Education and Training and the world of work.