Outcomes of peer learning on continuing vocational training
On 16 March 2012, the seventh and last peer learning visit of the ETF regional project on continuing vocational training in eastern Europe was completed in Baku, Azerbaijan. Peers from Belarus and the Russian Federation discussed with the Azeri authorities and social partners the role continuing vocational training can play in ensuring the productivity and competitiveness of a country’s economic development, in particular to support the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises.
One week earlier, a similar visit was conducted in Tbilisi, Georgia, with the participation of peers from Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine, who value highly the quality enhancement system of the Georgian vocational training reform.
The ETF 3-year regional project on continuing vocational training began in 2011. It involves the six countries of the Eastern Partnership (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) and the Russian Federation. Its overall purpose is to build capacity in identifying policy issues related to the continuing vocational training field, and act on them. More specifically, the project aims to:
- Identify the main policy issues to be tackled for promoting continuing vocational training in eastern Europe, and elaborate proposals for improvement; and
- Activate policy dialogue and the joint contributions of social partners and public authorities for implementation of actions to improve continuing vocational training.
Throughout the first project year, studies on the demand and supply of continuing vocational training country and peer learning visits were carried out in each participating country. The data showed that across the countries, the following themes appeared to be of common concern:
- Lifelong learning strategies and/or continuing vocational training strategies do not exist, nor are they currently supported by a proper legal framework;
- Learning methodologies will be modernised and expanded, to include non-formal and informal, in-training and workplace, and individual and collaborative approaches;
- The quality of the provision needs improvement, with an emphasis required to make continuing vocational training providers more professional;
- SMEs face particular challenges from learning and in-company training;
- Fiscal incentives should be in introduced and funding mechanisms designed and activated;
- Social partnership and dialogue on skills and skills’ development are not yet institutionalised, and mechanisms should be created and tested, and capacity built in this field;
Data are not easily available, so monitoring the level of participation in continuing vocational training not currently possible.
The results will now be consolidated and summarised in a regional report to be presented in a regional dissemination meeting in Tallinn, Estonia on 13-15 June 2012. Country and regional priorities and activities will also be set for the next project phase.