EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop)


The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (known by the acronym of its French name, Cedefop) is a European tripartite agency that serves to help the European Commission, Member States and social partner organisations across Europe to develop vocational training policies.

Background and status

Established in 1975, Cedefop was, together with Eurofound, one of the first specialised and decentralised agencies established to provide scientific and technical expertise in specific fields and to promote the exchange of ideas between different European partners. Cedefop is based in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Cedefop operates on the basis of Regulation 2019/128 of the European Parliament and of the Council, which entered into force on 20 February 2019 (repealing Council Regulation No 337/75). As noted in Cedefop’s Annual report 2018, the revised Founding Regulation reflects ‘today’s broader understanding’ of vocational education and training, which also encompasses skills and qualifications (p. 8).

Based on the subsidiarity principle, Article 166 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union places responsibility for vocational education and training squarely with Member States. However, it requires the EU to support and supplement Member States’ efforts.

The main tasks carried out by Cedefop in pursuit of its objectives are:

  • looking at how socioeconomic and demographic trends affect employment, the nature of jobs and demand for skills
  • focusing on labour market needs by forecasting future skills needs and alerting policymakers to skills mismatches
  • supporting the use of EU-wide tools, such as qualifications frameworks, which enable both informal learning to be validated and qualifications from different educational systems to be compared and recognised
  • providing policy advice to EU governments to help tackle unemployment, the rate of early school-leavers and other labour market imbalances.

Related dictionary terms

Apprenticeshipemployability Eurofound lifelong learning subsidiarity vocational training


Please note: the European industrial relations dictionary is updated annually. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them.


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