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Brussels, 30 September 2011

Eurobarometer: Vocational education and training – key findings

The Special Eurobarometer survey on “Attitudes towards vocational education and training” was conducted through face-to-face interviews among 26 840 EU citizens in all 27 Member States between 4 and 19 June 2011.

The key findings are:

Positive image of vocational education and training linked to quality

Vocational education and training is generally well regarded. 71% of all respondents say it has a positive image in their country. There is a direct link between the image of vocational education and training and perceived quality of training: 75% thought that vocational education and training offered high quality learning. Other reasons for an overall positive image were highly competent teachers and trainers (76%), access to modern equipment (82%) and opportunities to move onto university studies (68%). However, one third of respondents say there is scope for improvement in transmitting transversal skills and competences, such as communication or teamwork (34% thought that it did not teach these kinds of skills).

Strong employment prospects

82% say that vocational education and training provides the skills sought after by employers. Most also agree that vocational education and training is an entry ticket to professions which are in-demand on the labour market (73%) and well paid (55%).

Most respondents (56%) believe that young people with vocational education and training are more likely to find a job after their studies than those with general secondary or higher education qualifications.

Need to improve mobility for training and work

On the question of whether vocational education and training allows students to do part of their training abroad, responses were mixed: 43% agree that vocational education and training in their country gives students and trainees this opportunity, while 35% do not. Europeans are slightly more positive when it comes to the possibility of practising a vocational occupation abroad; 49% think that it is easy for people who received vocational education or training to practise their profession in another Member State (32% say it difficult).

Economic and social impact, challenges for entrepreneurship and support to sustainable development

Around half of the respondents believe that vocational education and training does not stimulate the creation of small companies while 36% say it does. Less than half (48%) of all participants reckon that vocational education and training encourages environmentally friendly attitudes, with 30% saying the contrary.

On the other hand, a large majority state that vocational education and training contributes positively to the economy (83%) and that it plays a role in reducing unemployment (76%). 80% agree that it contributes to the quality of services in their countries.

Need for improvements in guidance services

In spite of an overall positive image and perceived benefits of vocational education and training, 41% of respondents aged 15-24 would rather recommend general secondary or higher education as a preferable choice for young people, compared to 27% who would recommend vocational education and training.

Less than half of all respondents aged 25-39 and 40-54 agree that young people receive enough career guidance. According to the survey, family is still the primary source of information for young people when making educational choices (47% of 15-24 year olds say they consulted their family). In the same vein, the educational background of parents is a significant factor in the choice of their children: Nearly two thirds of people whose parents graduated in vocational education and training followed in their footsteps.

Internet and online social networks are increasingly influential with 43% of 15-24 year old respondents saying they consulted these information channels. Schools also play an important role in guidance and provision of information.

For more information:

Full Eurobarometer report, summary and survey findings country-by-country:

European Commission: Vocational education and training:

European Commission: Leonardo da Vinci programme:

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