We have just completed the annual plenary meeting of ReferNet network members, with a record number of participants involved in the three-day event. Over 80 representatives from 30 different organisations debated the perspectives and development of vocational education in Europe.

The event began with a meeting of the ReferNet national representatives appointed by the ministries of education of individual countries represented in the ReferNet network. The discussion focused on network development, new forms of cooperation and plans for the future. An important topic was also the issue of the validation of the work performed by national ReferNet teams and the role of national representatives in further activities of the network.

The second day of the meeting began with a speech by CEDEFOP Acting Director Mara Brugia and a representative of the European Commission, Jan Varchola, who discussed the latest changes in EU policies on vocational education and training (VET). Changes in VET systems were also discussed by members of the network. Topics relating to the development of technologies affecting education were also raised. Participants deliberated on how VET systems should respond to the challenges of the developing "industry 4.0" and new forms of the economy based primarily on digital technologies and robotics.

During subsequent sessions, planned future activities were discussed, among them: the country reports, information on changes in national policies, and articles on the long-term international mobility of apprentices. There was also time for networking and individual meetings with CEDEFOP representatives to discuss project issues, as well as new CEDEFOP analyses and VET-related tools (such as the European Skills Index). The issue of dissemination and the visibility of ReferNet network products and activities was also raised.  

More information is available from the CEDEFOP website.