How To: Vocational Training (VET) in Pandemics


When considering the issues that more affect the society, it is clear that the pandemic is hitting young people particularly. It is increasing the impact of social inequalities and the digital divide, plus an increasingly negative impact on youth mental health.

In the context of the pandemic, it is not just learning modalities, that changed drastically due to lockdown. It is the role itself of schools and teachers which faced a real challenge. With lockdowns all over Europe, vocational education and training (VET) schools had to convert physical classrooms and work-based learning spaces into digital learning environments overnight. In this context, the virtual class became a place for the community. With that, other issues arise. For example, keeping the attention, boost the motivation and good spirit of students.

Vocational Education and Training

The Erasmus+ Programme delivered almost €3 billion to VET over the period 2014-2020. Every year, around 130,000 VET learners and 20,000 VET staff benefit from Erasmus+ mobility opportunities. In addition, almost 500 projects each year are financed under the Erasmus+ Strategic partnerships.

Vocational education and training responds to the needs of the economy, but also provides learners with skills important for personal development and active citizenship. It can boost enterprise performance, competitiveness, research and innovation and is a central aspect of successful employment and social policy.

There can be initial or continuing VET.

Initial VET (I-VET)

Is usually carried out at upper secondary level before students begin working life. It takes place either in a school-based environment (mainly in the classroom) or in a work-based setting, such as training centres and companies. This varies from country to country, depending on national education and training systems, and economic structures.

Continuing VET (C-VET)

Takes place after initial education and training, or after beginning working life. It aims to upgrade knowledge, help citizens to acquire new skills, retrain and further their personal and professional development. It is largely work-based with the majority of learning taking place in a workplace.

Goals of EU member states

Among the deliverables set by European Institutions and Member States, there is:

  • strengthen key competences in Vocational Education and Training curricula and provide more effective opportunities to acquire or develop those skills;
  • introduce systematic approaches to, and opportunities for, initial and continuous professional development for VET teachers, trainers and mentors in both school- and work-based settings;
  • enhance access to Vocational Education and Training and qualifications for all through more flexible and permeable systems.

A Webinar on VET

On January 28th 2021, 10-11AM (CET), a Webinar on VET in times of pandemics will take place. The webinar focuses on local experiences, aiming at finding ways to prevent early school leaving during the pandemic.

Register for the webinar and join the discussion! A useful toolkit of know-how will be released too.

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