Last week, EfVET President Prof Joachim James Calleja took part at the ANESPO Annual Pedagogical Conference in Portugal. The event gathered over 220 members of the Portuguese National Association of Vocational Education and Training Colleges. The Annual Pedagogical Conference was chaired by Luis Costa ANESPO’s CEO, Steering Committee member of EfVET and LLL Platform President.

In his statement, EfVET President and MCAST Principal said that one of the dramatic changes brought about by Industry 4.0 is that “continuous professional development for teachers is not an option anymore…the appeal to educate for lifelong learners also applies to teachers, trainers and mentors”.

ANESPO is an EfVET member and organisers of the forthcoming EfVET Annual Conference in Portugal in October 2019. Professor Calleja was addressing over 220 members at the annual conference of the Portuguese National Association of VET Colleges in Cuba, Portugal. The ANESPO Annual Pedagogical Conference organised, with the support of Escola Profissional de Cuba and the municipality, Câmara Municipal de Cuba, focused on the theme Education, Training and New Methodological Paradigms. Among the speakers were former Portuguese Minister of Education Maria de Lurdes Rodrigues, the current State Secretary of the Ministry of Education João Costa, Joaquim Bernardo, the manager of the Human Capital Operational Program (POCH) and the President of ANESPO José Luis Presa.

During the Conference, Carina Oliviera the new elected EfVET Secretary to the Board and CEO of two VET schools in Fatima (hospitality) and Ourém (technologies) chaired the plenary session in which EfVET President spoke.

Europe of Qualifications: dynamics and challenges

EfVET President spoke about a Europe of Qualifications: dynamics and challenges. He also chaired a workshop session on education, training and digital learning. He said that the advancements in technology are changing our lives including the way we learn and the way we support learning in formal education. In Europe, 16m unemployed and 5.5 job vacancies are eating up more than 3.5% of the EU’s annual GDP.

This implies that the mismatching between what is being taught in formal education and the world of work must be bridged through a lifelong learning process for both the learner and the teacher. “The speed with which technology is changing is putting new challenges to education and training,” Professor Calleja said, “and this implies that continuous professional training for teachers cannot remain an option or an occasional event but a regular feature in their profession”.

EfVET President and MCAST Principal also stressed the importance of increasing investment in vocational education and training. “Budgets”, he said, “dictate priorities”. Expecting to address the needs of low skilled workers, upskilling and reskilling the workforce requires individuals who can afford training and therefore more resources should be allocated to education and training throughout a person’s working life.

A person’s empowerment should be accompanied by the responsibility to be trained and ready for change. This applies not only to the traditional professions but to all jobs. Industry 4.0 has transformed what a person knows and is able to do to higher levels of skills and competences required. Teachers are expected to always be in an avant-garde position to prepare young people to places of work that are changing rapidly and to those that so far do not exist! “The future of work” Professor Calleja said, “is already here”.