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The European Union's ambitions for professional training

The European Union wishes to promote the acquisition of skills through vocational training. To this end, it is developing and funding various initiatives with the aim of reaching 60% of adults trained each year by 2030. The European Union has a supporting role and aims to support national policies and to address common issues. It intervenes to support cooperation and mutual learning between countries and provides access to funding.

The role of the European Union in vocational training was introduced in 2002 by the "Copenhagen process". This aimed to improve the attractiveness, outcomes and quality of vocational education and training (VET). Then, in 2010, the "Bruges Communiqué" set out the ambitions for 2010-2020 to improve the quality of VET by making it more accessible and better adapted to labour market needs. Since 2016, the European Employment Strategy has focused mainly on vocational skills through the "Riga Conclusions" adopted in 2015.

In 2020, the Osnabrück Declaration defined medium-term objectives (next 5 years) for VET including resilience and excellence through quality and flexible VET, establishing a new culture of lifelong learning and sustainability towards a greener future.

By 2025, the target is for 50% of adults aged 25-64 to participate in learning activity within a year, compared to 38% currently. For low-skilled adults, the aim is to increase from the current 18% to 30%. The interest is to develop the skills of adults in order to optimise the productivity and efficiency of each company. The 2 major axes of the next few years are ecological and digital. Indeed, 56% of adults aged 16 to 74 have basic digital skills but the target is 70%. The ultimate goal is for at least 60% of adults to participate in a learning activity each year by 2030.

With these objectives, the European Union wishes to emphasise the importance of training every year to keep up with new market developments, to develop skills and to evolve.

To achieve this, the EU has set up programmes and funding, including grants, loans and support for structural reforms. European tools are also available to all. These include the European Qualifications Framework, which allows the level of qualifications to be compared from one country to another. The Skills Panorama, which anticipates skills needs and labour market developments. The Europass platform allows citizens to promote their skills and access training and job opportunities abroad. The aim is to facilitate Europe-wide mobility.

The EU has several financial instruments for the field of training. Indeed, the new pact for recovery and resilience includes a whole part dedicated to vocational training. For example, the France Recovery Plan involves 40 billion euros of European funding out of the plan's 100 billion. The Erasmus + scheme, for its part, has seen its budget increase significantly over the period 2021 to 2027. It is now 26.2 billion euros, an increase of 80% compared to the previous budget of 2014. This scheme supports mobility and learning for all throughout the European Union.

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