Action needed to improve quality and relevance of vocational education and training, says OECD


22/10/2009 – Good vocational training is an important part of a strong economy. Learning for Jobs, the initial report of the OECD policy review of vocational education and training, presents a set of policy recommendations to help countries make their vocational systems more responsive to labour market needs and boost economic growth.


“To sustainably emerge from the crisis, we need a new growth model that will deliver more and better jobs. But for the economy to adapt to these new sources of growth, the labour force needs to have the right skills,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “If we can give young people high quality training, then we have a much better chance to succeed.”


Among the report’s recommendations:

  • To meet labour market needs: Offer a mix of vocational programmes reflecting student preferences and employers’ needs. In addition to training on specific skills to meet employers’ immediate needs, provide transferable skills to support occupational mobility. Beyond secondary level, share costs among government, employers and students based on benefits obtained.
  • To sustain the workforce of teachers and trainers: In vocational institutions, promote partnerships with industry, encourage part-time work, and promote flexible pathways of recruitment. In the workplace, provide appropriate pedagogical preparation to those responsible for trainees and apprentices. Nationally, adopt a standardised assessment framework.
  • To promote workplace training: Offer sufficient incentives for both employers and students to participate in workplace training. Ensure that training is of good quality, with effective quality assurance and contractual frameworks for apprentices.
  • To respond to the economic crisis: Sustain workplace training and meet the increased demand for full-time vocational education and training.
  • To develop tools for policy: Engage employers and unions in vocational policy and provision. Collect and analyse data on the labour market outcomes. Provide career guidance accessible to all, informed by knowledge of labour market outcomes.


For the Learning for Jobs project, OECD is reviewing vocational education and training policy in Australia, Austria, Belgium (Flanders), the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (England and Wales), and the United States (South Carolina and Texas). Special studies of Chile and the People’s Republic of China are also being prepared. The initial report is now available on the OECD website. The final report will be published by the OECD in late 2010.


For further information, journalists are invited to contact Jennifer Gouby (tel. (33) 1 45 24 92 18) in the OECD’s Directorate for Education.


The free PDF is available here.  For more information on the Learning for Jobs project:



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