EU's education, vocational training and youth policies
- The foundations of EU's education and training policies
- EU education and training programmes
The problems of employment and vocational training are related, as very often the jobs offered require qualifications, which those seeking employment lack. That is why employment and vocational training policies are also linked. In fact, training is an instrument of active labour market policy. At the same time, measures promoting vocational training or retraining promote the employment or re-employment of workers in sectors where qualified labour is needed. Many workers cannot secure employment without becoming specialised, but they cannot acquire specialisation through experience until they have found a job. Breaking this vicious circle through vocational training is vital as workers should be able to change more frequently jobs throughout their working lives in the future.
Vocational training is not only a basic human right, enabling workers to realise their full potential, but also a prerequisite for technological progress and regional development. Indeed, a skilled, adaptable and mobile workforce is an essential component in the competitiveness, productivity and quality of companies, since it allows industries and regions to adapt rapidly to the requirements of technology and market trends and thus to become or remain competitive. Unemployment is in fact rife especially in the traditional industries in decline (steel, shipbuilding, textiles…), whilst the new industries (information technology, telecommunications, aerospace…) are badly in need of qualified labour. Tomorrow's trades will require the autonomy, the independence of spirit, the analytical ability and the capacity to make diagnoses, qualities which depend on knowledge. The new qualifications can help the European economy to effect the necessary structural changes in the information society and enable it better to face competition from the newly industrialised countries. The EU's education and training policies aim therefore to develop human resources throughout people's working lives, starting with basic education and working through initial training to continuing training.