Conference report: Transitions to VET and the labour market

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The European Perspective BIBB CEREQ Conference.



A European conference on the theme of "Transitions in VET and Work, the European Perspective" was held in Brussels on 7 February 2017. The two research centres responsible for organising the conference, long-standing partners BIBB and Céreq, brought together eleven European institutions for this occasion.

These organisations were invited to take part in the debates and to tell of their expectations in terms of vocational training policies in Europe.

The first part of this debate addressed the theme of «Transition and access as an issue in German and French VET » .  The directors of the German and French institutes presented in turn the results of their research on the effects on the school-to-work transition of initial and continuing vocational training and apprenticeships.


The director of Céreq, Alberto Lopez, drew on his institute's Génération surveys, set up to track the trajectories of young people in the early years of their working lives, to outline the situation in France in respect of young people's school-to-work transition. These surveys, which were introduced 15 years ago, provide a means of analysing the dynamic links between work, education/training and jobs.


Professor Reinhold Weiß, deputy director of the BIBB and head of academic research, then described the situation in Germany.

"The organisation of the transition from VET (vocational education and training) to work," he stressed, "is a major topic for the BIBB". As a federal institute, the centre produces statistics annually on the subject and also carries out surveys on the process of labour market integration.

Both institutes and their directors pointed to the need to strengthen research capacities and partnerships in Europe on this question of transition.


Detlef Eckert, Director Skills, DG Employment, European Commission, then spoke on the subject of "Transition and access in Education and Training: the New Skill Agenda for Europe." He outlined the measures the European Commission has taken in order to make the vocational training system more attractive and thus to remedy the shortage of young people with technical skills.

Mona Granato (BIBB), Alexandra Mergener (BIBB) and Emmanuel Quenson (Céreq) then presented some selected results and empirical data on the subject of: Transitions and access: research findings and relevance from Germany and France.


Emmanuel Quenson, Scientific Director of Céreq.


 Dr. Mona Granato and Alexandra Mergener, Bibb researchers.

The results of the statistical analyses carried out using data from BIBB's surveys on the transition in the German dual system show that the situation remains difficult, even for those with the highest grades and particularly for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, because of the shortage of training places offered by firms. There is also a convergence problem: many firms cannot find trainees, while some sectors have difficulties in attracting apprentices.

Thus in Germany, as in the other countries with a dual system, the problem of the transition rears its head at the end of compulsory education, that is in the first phase of transition (initial threshold') as young people are enrolling on VET programmes.

In France,  it is the second phase that poses problems, during the transition from VET to the labour market. The results of Céreq's Génération surveys show that the French VET system has to deal with an ever larger number of young people looking for work. Finding a job takes longer today and young people remain unemployed for longer periods during the first three years of their working lives.

In both France and Germany, the level of qualification is a particularly important indicator for employers and those with nothing more than a lower secondary school certificate tend to be stigmatised in the labour market.


In the afternoon, a round table brought together international experts in training. 


Prof.Stefano Sacchi,Président de Istituto Nazionale per l'Analisi delle Politiche Pubbliche (INAPP)

  • Thiébaut Weber, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
  • Danuta Jaz?owiecka, Member of the European Parliament, Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
  • Maxime Cerutti, BusinessEurope
  • James Calleja, Director, European Centre for the Development of Vocational training (Cedefop)


The debate, chaired by Professor Pilar Pineda, of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, focused on the following theme: Innovating VET: which evidences do politics and practice need?

The debate highlighted the importance of strengthening the links between researchers and policy markers in order to satisfy the needs for qualitative data and analyses. The need to disseminate research results and politicians' preference for concise memoranda and publications were also emphasised.


European Network meeting

Increased cooperation between European peers.


The day finished with an informal meeting of European partners seeking to boost cooperation between national (public) research institutes whose area of specialisation is VET and questions related to the labour market. The plan for BIBB and Céreq to work together in a network was warmly welcomed by all the participants.

Several similar initiatives have been carried through in the past and many formal and informal contacts have already been established between the institutes invited to take part. The idea here is to systematise these existing links to form a single global network that would function as a privileged partnership'. Even if they meet some promoters, neither the BIBB nor Céreq has any ambition to act as leader of the group. All the organisations represented should act as equal partners by taking the lead on individual initiatives and being proactive in putting forward proposals.


The following institutions took part in the meeting:

  1. The National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine (NAES of Ukraine)
  2. National Agency for Qualification and VET ANQEP (Portugal)
  3. National Centre of Expertise in Vocational Education & Training in the Netherlands (ECBO)
  4. Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training SFIVET
  5. INAPP Istituto Nazionale per l'Analisi delle Politiche Pubbliche.
  6. Educational research Institute (IBE) Poland
  7. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
  8. Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) Germany
  9. French Centre for Research on Education, Training and Employment (Céreq)
  10. IBW Austria - Research & Development in VET 
  11. The Austrian Institute for Research on Vocational Training (ÖIBF)


See also:

A joint effort by BIBB and Céreq to strengthen research at the European level

Cooperation between Céreq and Bibb

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Conference report: Transitions to VET and the labour market,