The impact of COVID-19 on Vocational Education and Training: first results from European survey

Image: Maxime Agnelli /

With the closure of education and training institutions all over the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vocational Education and Training is likewise feeling the strain. Several initiatives have been launched as a means of ensuring that teaching and learning continue throughout this period and, in order to appreciate the variety of initiatives that have been implemented, the European Commission released an online survey. Here are some of the key findings so far.

The survey went live on 18 March 2020 and received more than 200 responses in the first week, with representatives from 27 countries participating.

Some respondents fear that VET learners might be at a disadvantage compared with learners from other educational tracks, as more efforts are put into general school subjects and fewer into typical vocational content.

Work-based learning (WBL) is maintained in very few countries and in sectors where companies’ activities are still going on; this seems to be the part of VET programmes that is most affected during this period. Especially in countries where this is a compulsory part of the curricula, reflection is underway on how to make these requirements more flexible or how to catch up once the situation stabilises. Respondents suggest that more information should be provided by public authorities for learners who were to complete their qualification this year but are not able to fulfil the WBL requirements.

The survey looks at:

  • the organisation of VET provision as a means of facing the COVID-19 situation;
  • the provision of vocation-specific content in a work-based learning, apprenticeship or practical context;
  • VET-related online teaching and training (both job-specific and/or general) that could be useful for other countries to use;
  • specific information about online materials that VET providers may find useful;
  • suggestions on how to share information with teachers, trainers or policymakers from other countries to ensure the continuity of VET provision during this COVID-19 emergency;
  • suggestions on what kind of support the European Commission could provide.

To see the results of the survey gathered so far, please read the published overview.

We also invite you to take part in the survey on how to address the COVID-19 emergency as VET providers and policymakers.