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International Partnerships

Skills and vocational training

Relevant and quality vocational education and training (VET) can provide people, and especially youth, with the knowledge, skills and competencies required for the jobs of today or tomorrow. Providing relevant job skills can therefore be a robust means of empowering people to seize employment opportunities or equip them for self-employment.

Better skills training can help support decent work, more equitable and inclusive growth and be the bridge between education and the labour market, supporting the transition from youth into adulthood. The world’s population is younger than ever, with 1.2 billion people aged 16-24. Therefore, providing pathways into the world of work for young people is one of the greatest development challenges of our era.

Recognising the pivotal role of skills training, especially for young people, to increase their chances for employment, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has set a number of ambitious targets under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on quality education and SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth.


Our approach

In many countries, VET is undervalued and the integration of effective VET strategies into wider employment policies is still a work in progress. The EU is currently supporting the reform of VET systems in many partner countries worldwide, providing knowledge, technical capacity and financial support.

As VET does not create employment, the close-involvement of the private sector is necessary to ensure that training is in line with labour market needs and opportunities. The best VET model and type of skills training will depend on the country context. Special attention should also be paid to the specific needs of girls and women and vulnerable groups.

In order to support this approach, a VET Toolbox offered jointly with Member countries, delivers, rapidly and on-demand, high quality expertise and capacity building to public and private stakeholders with a view to enhance labour market intelligence, increase involvement of the private sector in VET as well as to foster inclusion of women and of vulnerable groups in VET programmes. In 2021 a new component has been added to deliver VET training in support of EU investments.

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