Labour market context for TVET in Europe

With 447 million people spread across its 27 Member States, the European Union is experiencing population ageing and associated economic and budgetary pressures
(European Commission 2021)

Population ageing in Europe is the result of a demographic shift, whereby fertility rates have fallen at the same time that life expectancy has increased, leading to a growth in the number and share of people aged 65 and older in the population. (European Union 2020)

As the ratio of older people in the population has increased, the relative size of Europe’s working-age population has declined, leading to concern of downward pressures on economic growth and government revenues. (European Union 2020) 

Encouraging older people, especially women, to join the workforce and promoting skilled worker migration to Europe are suggested to fill Europe’s worker gap. (CGDev 2021) 

At the same time, youth unemployment remains high. Across EU-27 Member States, young people aged 15-29 are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed compared to adults. The proportion of young people who are NEET (not in employment, education or training) is also high, estimated at 13% across the EU-27 in 2021, with NEET rates ranging from 5.5% in the Netherlands to 23% in Italy. (Eurostat 2022) 

While the EU-27 has relatively low rates of informal employment (between 4% and 5%), less educated young people in low-skilled manual occupations, such as agriculture and construction, are more susceptible to informal employment than the general population. (Julia et al 2019)  

Targeted training, retraining and skills updating schemes are needed to boost worker productivity and contribution to economic growth. TVET is also vital for helping countries to reap the demographic dividends available from Europe’s “silver economy” if older workers are kept in the workforce longer. (ILO 2018) 

Key facts

Asia Pacific

The BILT project is implemented by

International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training

with support of

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

and sponsored by

Federal Ministry of Education and Reserve

UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre

for Technical and Vocational Education and Training

UN Campus, Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1

53113 Bonn, Germany


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