Nov 30, 2020 — 7 – Reinforce mobility, including long-term mobility

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Osnabrück Declaration 2020 | Page 1 OSNABRÜCK DECLARATION 2020 on vocational education and training as an enabler of recovery and just transitions to digital and green economies Declaration of the Ministers in charge of vocational education and training of the Member States, the EU Candidate Countries and the EEA countries, the European social partners and the European Commission, meeting on 30 November 2020 to agree on a new set of policy actions in VET for the period of 2021 – 2025 to complement and operationalise the vision and strategic objectives formulated in the Council Recommendation on vocational education and training for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience. We, the Ministers in charge of vo cational education and training (VET) reaffirm our commitment, as discussed in our joint meeting with the European social partners and the European Commission in Osnabrück on 16 and 17 September 2020, to contribute to the post – COVID recovery and to further develop the European Education and Training Area through future – oriented and innovative education and training systems in order to support the digital and green transition and improve employability and competitiveness and thus stimulate economic growth. A ll objectives and actions will be implemented with due respect to the subsidiarity principle and in accordance with national VET circumstances. We stress that a strong partnership with social partners is vital for achieving the objectives and deliverables set out in the Osnabrück Declaration. We value the support shown by European – organisations by issuing their position papers in line with the Osnabrück Declaration.

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Osnabrück Declaration 2020 | Page 2 Agreed by the Ministers responsible for Vo cational Education and Training of countries participating in the Copenhagen process: of the EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden) of the EU Candidate Countries (Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey) of the EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) Agreed by the European Social Partners (ETUC, BusinessEurope, SMEUnited, CEEP) Agreed by the European Commission, and Supported by representatives (OBESSU, European Apprenti ces Network), both issuing a position paper in support of the Osnabrück Declaration

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Osnabrück Declaration 2020 | Page 3 INTRODUCTION The COVID – 19 pandemic as well as digitalisation and climate change have a major impact on our economies, employment and societies. Vocational education and training (VET) is rightly asked to contribute to response strategies for unprecedented incidents, such as the post – COVID recovery but also to cope with challenges such as demographic change, digital innovation, sustainable or climate – neutral approaches, gr owing demand for STEM skills and the increasing need to constantly upskill and reskill 1 European Skills Agenda 2 ion on VET 3 , helping to give weight to the right of individuals to quality and inclusive education, training and lifelong learning as stated in the first principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Copenhagen Declaration of 29 – 30 November 2002 l aunched the European strategy for enhanced cooperation in – year – long Copenhagen Process has become a catalyst for modernising VET in many EU Member States and candidate build on the achievements of our cooperation agreed in the Copenhagen Declaration (2002) and reaffirmed in the Communiqués of Maastricht (2004), Helsinki (2006), Bordeau x (2008), Bruges (2010) and the Riga conclusions (2015). The Copenhagen Process provides a tripartite platform to intensify, complement and operationalise the European VET policy, as adopted by the Council of the European Union. It also provides the platfo rm for strengthening cooperation with social partners, chambers, VET development of the European Education and Training Area through future – oriented and i nnovative education and training systems, thus supporting a just transition towards the digital and green economy. RATIONALE Excellent and inclusive European VET is more than a response to developments and challenges that individuals and organisations face ; VET is an enabler of innovation and an essential foundation for opportunities of lifelong learning for all citizens and turns the digital and green chall enges into driving forces that are able to reconcile sustained recovery, environmental sustainability and fair distribution of the benefits of growth among all citizens and societies. Excellent and inclusive European VET is equally necessary for the compe titiveness of European enterprises and a well – functioning European labour market. Apprenticeships and work – based learning embedded in a real – life work environment improve employability. VET equips our labour force with knowledge, skills and competences th at are relevant for the ever – changing labour market and offers upskilling and re – skilling for inclusion and excellence. VET has a distinctive focus and identity, playing a key role at the interface of education and training, 1 We use the term skills in its broad sense, i.e. also covering competences 2 3 ibide m

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Osnabrück Declaration 2020 | Page 4 employment and economic policie s. VET can only be developed effectively when policies are coherent and interconnected, underpinned by a balance between continuity and new directions. Taking into consideration the proposal for a Council recommendation on VET for sustainable competitiven ess, social fairness and resilience, as well as the updated European Skills Agenda, the Osnabrück Declaration focuses on four main areas for the years 2021 to 2025: 1. Resilience and excellence through quality, inclusive and flexible VET 2. Establishing a new lifelong learning culture relevance of C – VET and digitalisation 3. Sustainability a green link in VET 4. European Education and Training Area and international VET We build this Declaration on underlying principles that include the due consideratio n for social dialogue and the need for a strong partnership with a wide range of stakeholders, including social ocal public administrations, employment services and social economy organisations. Companies as learning venues are crucial to modern and excellent VET. We highlight the responsibility shared with companies to promote the provision of skills that are neede d. The need for sufficient investment and the involvement of all stakeholders is also key to VET should provide citizens with equal training opportunit ies, regardless of their personal and economic background and place of residence. The underlying principles also include the need to maintain high – quality apprenticeships and work – based learning, to consolidate achievements as well as the need for the bett er integration of initial and continuous VET to ensure reskilling and upskilling, including pathways from IVET to CVET. Citizens, learners and their families are at the core of our concern; accessing and benefitting from quality, inclusive and responsible VET should be a right for all learners. increase the confidence of European citizens; this goes hand in hand with improving the efficiency of labour marke ts. O bjective 1: R esilience and excellence through quality, inclusive, and flexible VET New technologies, new business models, digitalisation, artificial intelligence, demographic change, climate change and the economic crisis due caused by COVID – 19 demand flexible responses from VET systems with appropriate governance. Flexible and resilient VET is able to adjust to disruptions and to turn threats into opportunities, thus enabling the innovation, productivity and resilience of our economies and societies a t local, regional, national and European level. While VET enables citizens to cope with change, it should also enable them to shape change. Innovation in VET closely relates to issues of new skills, curricula, education methodologies and forecasting tools.

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Osnabrück Declaration 2020 | Page 5 We are thus determined to exploit the potential of digital learning and artificial intelligence to support learners in developing their knowledge, skills and competences. Labour market and skills intelligence 4 as well as research should inform VET decisio n – makers and support VET providers and practitioners in developing and adapting their VET offers to changing labour market and social needs. Learners need more guidance and tailored support to design their learning and career paths. Moreover, the COVID – 19 pandemic has taught us that digital learning can play a complementary and important role to support learning. Alongside top – down governance approaches, the role of various horizontal collaboration networks is growing under the new conditions, including the formation of communities of practice for mutual support and knowledge generation, especially with regard to emergency solutions. We are currently witnessing an increase in labour market needs for a different mix of skills and qualifications as well as structural changes in the VET landscape. Both developments call for modernised, inclusive VET. Since individuals will have to regularly reskill and upskill to adapt to rapidly evolving digitalisation 5 , VET excellence at all qualification levels includin g higher EQF levels will become ever more relevant to maintaining employability. Excellent VET prepares learners for the world of work of today and for the future, enabling job creation in the context of effective and quality labour markets. Excellent VET contributes to strengthening democratic citizenship and European values. Achieving these goals will require developing the capacities of VET institutions with active involvement from stakeholders. High – quality VET that includes entrepreneurial education em powers learners to open new businesses. The role and scope of VET institutions are changing. Boundaries between higher education (HE) and VET are blurring; obstacles are still to be overcome, while policies are striving for greater permeability in educatio n and training systems. Excellent VET is valued in societies and links with recognition and permeability to HE as well as with smooth access to the labour market. We thus support an initiative for VET excellence in Europe and emphasise the relevance of VE T programmes at EQF levels 5 to 8 on a par with HE in order to offer VET graduates a flexible, inclusive and valuable path to high – level jobs and career opportunities in response to current and future socio – economic needs. We consider well – targeted quality investments in VET and enhanced cooperation with and among social partners and relevant stakeholders including learners crucial. 4 Skills intelligence is understood as the outcome of an expert – driven process of selecting, combining and presenting evidence based on skills forecasts, graduate tracking, skills surveys, big data analysis and other methods to map and anticipate skill trends. 5

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Osnabrück Declaration 2020 | Page 7 Lifelong learning means that individuals are enabled to master a wide range of skills and competences and navigate their way through the education and training system, using state – of – the art technologies and learning tools across the boundaries of education and training institutions. CVET should thus adopt a systemic approach in ord er to adapt to the technological shift over the entire course of working life. Further developing a new culture of lifelong learning and providing quality, accessible and inclusive, relevant and sustainable lifelong learning systems is the responsibility o f all stakeholders national and regional authorities, social partners and VET providers and learners. IVET and CVET offers should be better interlinked, compatible and based on skills intelligence at European, national and/or regional levels. A new life long learning culture implies that individuals benefit from career guidance throughout life, can engage in quality and inclusive VET programmes and acquire key competences to actively manage their education, training and employment phases with the support and increased responsibility of all stakeholders. It relies on practice – oriented VET policies and frameworks that are driven by social and occupational demand. A new lifelong learning culture also implies that work – based learning and on – the – job learning st and out in CVET strategies. Learners of all ages and companies should be aware of their needs and develop learning – conducive work environments to fulfil their full potentials. It is important to ensure effective career guidance and access to quality educat ion and training for all and especially for vulnerable learners including through, for example training entitlements, accounts, bi – partite funds and other incentives. Dedicated teachers, guidance counsellors, trainers and mentors who benefit from high – qual ity and inclusive initial and continuous professional development and who act as multipliers and mediators are key to a culture of lifelong learning. In many ways, teaching and training staff will be actively involved in change management in the wake of th is development. Digital teaching and training require VET staff to develop new methodical and didactical approaches to apply in the connected world. To 6 needs to be increased, for instance professions within VET institutions, in line with national legislation and conditions of access to the teaching profession. 6 In line with the Council Conclusions on European teachers and trainers for the future (2020/C 193/04)

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Osnabrück Declaration 2020 | Page 8 – Develop an inventory of strategies and actions relevant for re – and upskilling in the context of green and digital transitions and building on EU – wide surveys such as the Continuing Vocational Training Survey, the European Compa ny Survey and other relevant evidence from the Commission and Cedefop – work on skills intelligence in consultation with the European Commission, national governments a nd social partners – Launch and support the Pact for Skills, mobilising partnerships, incentives and commitments for actions, in line with the upskilling and reskilling of the workforce and in agreement with Member States and companies – Explore financial and non – financial incentives for IVET and CVET addressing adult learners, promotion programmes with public funding for CVET and other financial incentives, linked to collective bargaining agreements where appropriate, to encourage individual learning, taking i nto account the synergies between different policy areas e.g. employment, social inclusion and education policies as well as national and regional specificities – Improve European statistics together with national statistical offices, including work on stati stics on public and private investment in adult learning – Facilitate mobility for learning and work in Europe, provide access to transparent and reliable information on skills, learning opportunities and labour market trends, facilitate the Europe – wide int erconnection of digital platforms for learning and career management and enable education and training institutions to issue digital diplomas and certificates (Europass Digital Credentials), thus facilitating transparency and recognition of qualifications across Europe, through the new Europass platform – Develop national skills strategies for quality and inclusive lifelong learning with all relevant national, regional, sectoral stakeholders and social partners. Besides education and training provision, the national skills strategies may include guidance, incentives for improved skills provision by employers, increased participation by employees, validation of prior learning and targeted public approaches for reaching out to inacti ve and unemployed individuals, NEETs or individuals at risk of unemployment – Develop targeted information measures on the benefits of CVET and ensure user – friendly access to information on IVET and CVET offers at national and regional levels addressing gend er and other stereotypes for an equal, fair and diverse society – Work with respective stakeholders to develop digital learning solutions supporting access to CVET opportunities and the awarding of CVET credentials and certificates, thereby opening the possi bility to obtain full qualifications without neglecting on – the – job CVET and the positive effects of learning conducive work environments – Support linking national VET platforms or databases to the Europass in accordance with the Europass decision and the EQ F Recommendation where appropriate – S upport VET teachers, trainers, guidance counsellors, adult educators and mentors by equipping them with the adequate skills and tools for and through digital technologies; in particular through systematic approaches to, and opportunities for, initial and continuous professional development in both school and work – based settings, as well as distance education and training, enabling them to progress in their careers

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Osnabrück Declaration 2020 | Page 9 O bjective 3: Sustainability a green link in VET Acting in a responsible manner towards the environment affects European societies and economies. Sustainability is a transversal concern that intersects with labour demand, education, skills, occupations and the geographical distribution of jobs and workers. Comp anies, private sector organisations and societal initiatives are major drivers towards sustainability in economy and society. IVET and CVET should strive to embed skills for sustainability in their regulations and practices. Moreover, the link between digi talisation and sustainability is central to this objective. Developments in technology are driving the growth of sectors including education and training; the development of open source and digital learning environments can make education for sustainable d evelopment more accessible both in and outside of education and training settings, whether in schools, companies or at home. – Promote initiatives to support cooperation and knowledge – sharing betwe en VET institutions and providers on learning methods, curricula, guidelines, work – based learning, and quality assurance of education and training offer on green skills, by using European programmes like Erasmus+ – Promote the exchange of practices of VET t eachers and trainers, specifically with regard to trends and skill needs relevant to the green economy in order to peer learn/review and to share best practices – Call for new commitments and partnerships for quality and effective apprenticeships linked to green technologies and occupations, under the renewed European Alliance for Apprenticeships, focusing on the economic sectors that will be on the frontline of the transition to a climate – neutral Europe – Explore opportunities to make EU VET policy cooperatio n climate neutral, for instance through the wider use of videoconferences, webinars and virtual conferences with all VET stakeholders and social partners – Create incentives for greening VET programmes, including education and trai ning in green technologies and innovation, in energy efficiency, circular economy, environmental awareness, sustainable use of learning and training material, digitalisation to reduce climate effects – Define labour – market – relevant skills for the green transition that are to be incorporated in curricula and VET provision, including basic skills across all sectors and occupations and sector – specific skills in cooperation with the social partners – Define and support opportunities to enable teaching and trai ning staff, managing teams in VET providers and trainers and mentors in companies to act as multipliers and mediators, in view of increasing digitalisation and sustainability within the provision and management of training programmes

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Osnabrück Declaration 2020 | Page 10 O bjective 4: Europea n Education and Training Area and international dimension of VET The globalisation of markets and demographic trends call for modernisation and adaptation of VET systems and institutions at national, regional and sector level within the Member States. Glob al development also offers great opportunities for Europe as a place of education and training. In addition, this objective refers to the ambitious intention of the Copenhagen Declaration to make Europe a world – wide reference for learners. In this context, the European and national qualification frameworks as well as Europass have paved the way. Mobility in VET has increased significantly over the last two decades with more than 1.5 million VET learners and staff having benefited from Erasmus+ mobility. In the context of the COVID – 19 pandemic, virtual and hybrid mobility in particular have gained new momentum. Cooperation projects leading to joint VET programmes and qualifications are gaining momentum. Migration is challenge for everyone. Transparency and c omparability of qualifications and competences help competent bodies, education and training providers, employers and individuals to make informed choices and decisions. We should make full use of EU initiatives and programmes (EQF, Europass, Erasmus+ for example) in this context. Those initiatives and programmes support the transparency of qualifications and the provision of opportunities for all learners to engage in flexible and inclusive pathways as well as encouraging individuals to switch horizontall y from a learning site in one country to one in a different country while achieving their full qualification or completing any IVET or CVET learning pathways. Against the backdrop of demographic change, this will also help the cross – border mobility of skil led workers and professionals, thus improving the matching of supply and demand in the labour market. All in all, we should promote European VET systems as a common European education and training area, which is recognised as a worldwide reference for voc ational learners. This also includes the development of Europass – based principles and standards as attractive and secure alternatives to commercial data processing platforms and products from other world regions. Supported by ETF and Cedefop, an EU VET pol icy could reach out to education and training in the neighbourhood countries and other world regions.

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