3. How to establish quantities?

General introduction

EQAVET Indicator 5 is about the destination and employment of VET graduates -  the quantitative match of VET supply and labour demand. The indicator shows the degree to which the supply and demand in VET match in amounts. It requires proactive insight into and a good overview of both VET supply and labour demand.  These guidelines will give you a number of inputs and answers to the question of how to establish the match in QUANTITY of VET supply and labour demand.

Countries, regions, sectors, educations and VET providers have often different contexts with a variety in possibilities, challenges and solutions regarding how to match supply and demand in VET measured in numbers. There is not “one size fit all” -  so we have decided not to try to advise you by giving direct answers to your challenges, but instead focus on what is of common value to everyone. Therefore, we raise a number of questions you might like to reflect on and to find your own answers to.

The questions raised in the guidelines will help you in selecting the key dimensions of how to match supply and demand in VET measured in numbers. The questions will - to some extent - be illustrated with short examples of good practice showing how a number of stakeholders across Europe have worked with this specific issue.

Numbers are important in terms of numbers of students, numbers of employed and numbers of unemployed. Behind the numbers are a range of resources e.g. VET providers, study places, teachers, administration, classrooms, and workshops at VET provider level.  All activities incur financial costs and require decisions regarding how many to educate, where and when. Education costs and it raises questions about how many shall be educated within a sector, at what cost and with what result. So, how can you and other stakeholders be sure that there will be a match between the supply and demand of VET students, as measured in numbers?

If too many students within a sector end up unemployed, can it be seen as a waste of resources (economically, human capital etc.)? Conversely, if too few are educated, will society and its enterprises risk losing potential income? Any kind of mismatch incurs extra costs among the stakeholders, which make it important to focus on how to match the number of VET students with the demand for them.

Matching supply and demand is a complicated task, involving many stakeholders and many agendas and issues to consider. These guidelines will support your work in relation to matching supply and demand in your specific sector and within your context. The guidelines raise a number of questions that you and all the other stakeholders should reflect and react upon, because you make decisions about how you want to establish the match in quantity. The alternative - doing nothing - is worse and has a high risk of being too expensive.

When we talk about matching supply and demand, we are fully aware that there will always be a certain level of 'mismatch'. Nonetheless, the systematic and structured process of searching for a match will help to avoid excessively high levels of mismatch and contribute to finding an 'acceptable' level of mismatch that you and all the other stakeholders can live with.

We define a match of supply and demand in VET measured in numbers as the systematic and structured process that lead to a number of VET students that both the supply side (VET providers and students) and the demand side (Enterprises and society) find acceptable.