The flag Erasmus+, the European Union’s programme for education, training, youth and sport, offers training, learning and mobility opportunities for Vocational Education and Training (VET) learners and staff, in Erasmus+ Programme Countries (27 EU Member States + 6). No Programme Countries, otherwise known as “Partner Countries” can take part mainly in higher education and youth activities, which are open to the whole world.
A move to internationalise the VET sector is taking place in the EU and a number of Partner Countries were asking for opening of the VET actions under Erasmus+ to international cooperation, to benefit from the good experience, which has been accumulated in the framework of Erasmus+ and its predecessor programmes.
The Economic Reform Programme for the Western Balkans recognises the importance of vocational educational and training (VET) in underpinning industry and propelling economic growth. VET graduates are also job creators. Labour market relevant skills acquisition must be adopted and recognised in all types of training, be it formal, informal or non-formal as most of the training is happening in the informal sector. VET must be a coherent system whose purpose is to meet the demand of socio-economic development in terms of quality-skilled human resources.
In coherence with the 2016 Torino Process Regional Report, the Western Balkans have VET’s responsiveness to the economy high on their reform agenda in a context of sluggish employment and high youth unemployment. Currently in the Western Balkans, the relevance of VET to employment is limited, training is costly and investments by governments challenging. The enrolment levels have increased, but the access of young women to VET remains challenging.