From 7 to 10 June 2022, the Stride for Stride project partners and their external experts met in Vestland (Norway) for a short study visit on Skills Intelligence Transmission. The study visit was jointly organised by two public organisations from the region: Career Center at Vestland County Council and Hardanger Council. Delegates from Brittany region (France, coordinator of the project), the Basque Country (Spain), Catalonia (Spain), Tuscany (Italy) and Varaždin (Croatia) and EARLALL were present in this exchange of practices.
The Study visit was the second of a series of four learning and training activities which aim to analyse from a practical regional point of view the skills governance process. The first exchange took place virtually in June 2021 because of the COVID 19 pandemic and was organised by Tuscany region and IRPET (Regional Economic Planning Institute of Tuscany).
On 8 June 2022, in the morning, the group was welcomed in Bergen, at Vestland career center. Olivier Gaudin, Director for employment and training at Brittany region and project coordinator opened the meeting. Then, Aida Cisic-Dizdar, head of Vestland career center presented the work of the department. She was followed by Lise Simensen, CEO of CXS Nordic AS, a human resource service, which delivers InFlow24, a web-based service that combines professional content for managers and human resources. InFlow24 is a strategic HR-tool for mapping skills. Another example: Green region Vestland, was presented by Lasse Anker Hansen, Senior Advisor at Vestland County. The project, aligned on regional Smart specialisation strategies and the green deal, aims at developing green hubs through industrial symbioses in Vestland.
Partners and external experts travel to Hardanger in the afternoon. In the evening, each project partner presented the work they are conducting on skills intelligence transmission in their respective organisations.
On 9 June 2022, the group visited Boliden, a high-tech metal company, and national industry leader in the field of sustainable metal production which goes from its deposit to recycling metals. In the afternoon, partners and external experts had the opportunity to meet with regional stakeholders working on the link between schools and businesses and with stakeholders that aims to strengthen the development of the tourism sector in the region. The YESpecialists – Young entrepreneurial Spirit Specialists project was presented by a teacher of the Odda upper secondary school and her students. After that, the group visited a cider factory and learnt more about the local production.
During these days, participants had the opportunity to learn more about skills needs and development in the region. The next learning and training activity on assessing and adaptation of skills will take place in Rennes (Brittany region) at the beginning of November.
NEETs for NEETs project partners met for the third transnational partners meeting in Oslo on 1 and 2 of June 2022. During these two days, partners had the opportunity to reflect on the project’s next steps, plan the activities for the autumn and think about the best strategies to reach young people, especially NEETs.
On 1 June, partners met at NAV Bjerke, which is one of the municipality’s premises, established by the local authorities and central government. Together with the local authority, each NAV agrees on the specific public services that it provides to the citizens. During the first day, partners got to know each other through a game used by Support Group Network and Save the Children (Sweden) in their trainings with the young people, migrants and refugees. This ice breaker, called “forum theater”, aimed at reflecting on how people can be oppressed in the society. Participants were split in groups and had to create small plays were the abused situation was performed twice. During the second performance, other participants could intervene to change the course of the story. The plays were followed by lively discussions with all the partners.
In the afternoon, Support Group Network and Save the Children (Sweden) presented the first pilot training that the associations organised with the NEETs on 19 and 20 May 2022. They showed the different methods/exercises used with the young people so that they could also become trainers. Partners discussed what worked and didn’t work during the training, to best shape the future trainings according to this first experience.
On 2 June 2022, partners met at Oslo adult education Rosenhof to plan the activities that will be implemented in the autumn. Two more pilot trainings will be conducted: one in Oslo, organised by Oslo adult education Rosenhof and NAV Bjerke at the beginning of September, and one in Gothenburg, organised by Boras Municipality in mid-September.
During these two productive days, partners had the opportunity to reflect upon the way to involve young people and the tools that can be used to involve them. Partners had the opportunity to reflect and share their views and successful experiences regarding approaches and tools to involve young people.
On 18 May, in Brussels, the Italian EUSALP 2022 Presidency, in collaboration with the Lombardy Region, organized a public event on the cooperation on higher vocational training in the context of the European Union and EUSALP countries. It was a great occasion to discuss future perspectives of cooperation in HVET in the Alpine region. The EU Vocational Skills Week offered the perfect context to discuss the importance of initiating a process of mutual recognition of HVET titles at the European level, in line with the recent Council recommendation on building bridges for effective European higher education cooperation (2022/C 160/01). The value of enhancing cooperation in HVET was recognised by both the experts and politicians intervening in the event.
Ms Vanessa Debiais-Sainton (DG EAC) stressed the importance of creating alliances between HVET institutions for the development of joint programmes and to reinforce the European dimension of higher education. To this end, dedicated Erasmus+ pilot calls will be launched next Summer.
Noelia Cantero (EARLALL) underlined the role of regional authorities and their multiplier effect for the involvement of local stakeholders in cooperative processes such as the mutual recognition of HVET titles. She reiterated the need to identify shared criteria and common standards to build cooperation and the centrality of trust in such a process. She praised the dynamism that the Autonomous Province of Trento is showing in leading initiatives and projects on dual training and HVET.
Matteo Colombo (ADAPT and in collaboration with INDIRE) outlined the different experiences of higher vocational training systems in EUSALP countries and discussed the added value of collaborating on HVET in order to tackle the heterogeneity (including classificatory) of these pathways at the international level, and invite the development of mutual recognition processes and agreements aimed at improving the comparison between the different H-VET systems in EUSALP countries. A holistic approach, capable of moving beyond the traditional differences (and distances) between academic and non-academic tertiary education, is increasingly being addressed to develop, in an ecosystemic logic, alliances between H-VET and Academic institutions and facilitate the mobility of students and workers across EU countries in order to address the challenges connected to a greener, more inclusive and more digital society.
All relevant stakeholders operating at the European and national levels should aim to launch the debate towards a future adoption of a pact for HVET in line with the European Skills Agenda and the European Strategy for Higher Education.
The political roundtable included three Members of the European Parliament who participate in the Friends of EUSALP initiative, namely Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield (France), Herbert Dorfmann (Italy), Alessandro Panza (Italy). Their presence, with a clear political support, enhanced this process of cooperation that is intended to be initiated from the political point of view.
Introductory greetings were given by the Lombardy Region Councilors, Raffaele Cattaneo (Councilor for Environment and Climate, Delegate for EUSALP) and Melania De Nichilo Rizzoli (Councilor for Training and Employment), while Mirko Bisesti, Councilor for Culture, Education and Universities of the Autonomous Province of Trento and Delegate of the EUSALP Italian Presidency 2022, focuses on the Trentino system and on the Important contributions and urges came from today’s discussion so that reciprocal actions can be put in place to promote the start of a path for the recognition of degrees within the Alpine area. This is an important challenge that national and European politicians and stakeholders have recognized in the strategic role of high vocational education and training to ensure the transition from the world of education to the world of work and for the development of entrepreneurship and systems innovation in general.
The goal is the strengthening of the educational offer both in terms of the quality of training and the diversification of training paths thus ensuring greater attractiveness to the system of higher vocational training so that it can be clearly identified as a highly qualifying path both from the point of view of employment prospects and the completion of studies. The Province of Trento intends to invest in the development of a new model that finds an effective governance capable of gathering the strongest partners with whom to co-design the training pathways.
Julie Thiran of the European Commission’s Directorate General REGIO, who is also the contact person for the Alpine macro regional-strategy, closed the proceedings underlining the urgent need for a new agreement in the EUSALP area, the time for action is come!
On 17 May 2022, EARLALL Mobility Working Group held its second meeting of the year. The Working Group has two new co-chairs: Astrid Burhoi, Region Västra Götaland and Yvonne Jänchen, Movetia (Switzerland). Participants from Catalonia, Wales and Italy gathered to discuss new mobility and cooperation opportunities.
Yvonne Jänchen opened the meeting and welcomed the participants. She expressed her willingness to be leading the activities of the Working Group together with Astrid Burhoi and highlighted the fact that mobility is key to promote internationalization and lifelong learning among EARLALL members and its education providers.
The Taith Programme – Wales’ new international learning exchange programme was then presented by Walter Brooks, Programme Manager, Further education, Vocational and Adult Education. Mr Brooks highlighted that Taith – meaning ‘journey’ in Welsh will begin to support mobility to and from Wales from September 2022. It offers opportunities for learners, educators and administrators across the education sector (VET, adult learning and youth initiatives are included) to come to Wales and for the welsh learners, educators and administrators to have international mobility opportunities. It is a multi-annual programme that will initially run from 2022 to 2026 and will focus on supporting mobility with the rest of Europe although it will enable global mobility. To maintain the many links supported by Erasmus and to enable new connections to be made the Welsh Government announced in March 2021 that it would establish a new international learning exchange programme with an investment of €75m/ £65 million over four years. The programme, apart from Mobility (Pathway 1), also includes Partnerships (Pathway 2) and Capacity Building actions (Pathway 3).
Switzerland is in a comparable situation to the Wales’ international education context. Yvonne Jänchen presented the Swiss support to education stakeholders to participate in mobility and cooperation projects through Movetia. The initiative has been running since 2016 and covers all education sectors. The Movetia programmes have a similar structure to the Eramus+ one to allow synergies and to facilitate European partners’ understanding about the initiatives. Seven projects in the VET sector will be funded in 2022. The main challenges for Movetia are to mobilise the Swiss providers and motivate them to take part in joint projects with European peers.
At the end of the meeting, Yvonne Jänchen announced the date for the next Mobility Working Group meeting (Monday 27 June at noon) and anticipated some of the main items to be discussed, such as an action plan for 2022 to 2024 (including a mobility matchmaking tool, discussions on impact and evaluation of mobility, promotion of mobility among education providers in Europe, state of arts for the VET sector in EARLALL member regions, etc). For the meeting in June, the working group is also planning to have a presentation from Catalonia’s mobility activities, from both the Department of Education and the one of Employment. Clara Ribera, Department of Employment, regional government of Calonia, announced that the institution has been awarded with a project to support the mobility of unemployed citizens and workers in need of upskilling/reskilling to have an international experience. The Department counts with a network of around 30 organisations in Catalonia and would be pleased to set up agreements with hosting organisations in Europe.
Noelia Cantero ended the meeting by reminding participants of a series of events that will take place in the upcoming weeks heading to the summer and that are organised by EARLALL or by its members.
About Movetia’s mobility programme
On 12 May 2022, EARLALL co-organised with SwissCore, a webinar on a European Approach to Microcredentials. Around 65 participants, from various backgrounds (teachers, trainers, VET providers, European associations, local, regional and European stakeholders) gathered to learn more about micro credentials in the Vocational Education and Training sector.
Noelia Cantero, EARLALL Director, and Maria Pascual, Head of the International Projects Unit for VET, Department of Education of the government of Catalonia introduced the webinar. They were followed by Williman O’Keeffe, European Commission (DG EMPL), who presented the Proposal for a Council Recommendation on a European approach to Micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability. The Proposal establishes a “common European approach to the ongoing provision of microcredentials and sets out a definition and guidance for the design and description of microcredentials to facilitate their transparency and usage”. It is expected for the Council to reach an agreement and have the Recommendation published soon. From the European Commission’s policy context, the webinar provided an example of the use of microcredentials at a pan European level. Dr. Svatopluk Stolfa, from the technical University of Ostrava presented the Automotive Skills Alliance, an initiative presently set out in the context of the Pact for Skills. He was accompanied by Marek Spanyik, who explained how the development framework of microcredentials (the DRIVES EU funded project framework) works and how the skills gained by the trainees are recognized, through microcredentials.
The second part of the webinar was chaired by Laurin Reding, European Advisor for Education at SwissCore, and was dedicated to exploring examples on how the microcredentials are implemented in Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain. Dr Emma Francis, Project Officer MicroCreds, Irish Universities Association, presented the MicroCreds project, led by the Irish University Association. The project aims to establish a national framework for accredited microcredentials. The partnership is working on the development of the framework that will set standards for excellence in flexible learning. She was followed by Pascal Paschoud, President of Swissuni and Executive Director for Further Education at EPFL. He presented an overview of Microcredentials in higher education in Switzerland and the flexibility that they provide from an education perspective. Then Björn Flintberg, Project Leader at the Research institute of Sweden, presented the RISE technical pilot for microcredentials, based on the European Commission’s Recommendations. The last panelists showed an example from Spain, Catalonia. Cristina Marfil, Technical Advisor at the Directorate-General for Vocational Education and Training, Regional Ministry of Education of the Government of Catalonia, introduced the new VET Spanish Law and the changes that it has produced regarding the recognition and definition of microcredentials in Catalonia. Then, Neus Caufapé, Principal of Institut Escola del treball de Lleida, presented the MICROVET: An opportunity to upskill VET graduates, Erasmus+ Project. It aims at analysing the labour requirements for 2030 and the development of short VET trainings (microcredentials) to provide answers to those demands in the partners’ countries.
Maria Pascual concluded the webinar and informed participants that EARLALL will organise a follow-up event on Individual Learning Accounts in the autumn 2022.
In the framework on the RegALE – Regional capacity for Adult Learning and Education Erasmus+ project, partners and external experts were invited to take part in a peer-learning activity on 20 – 21 April 2022 in Varaždin county (Croatia). The visit aimed at showing how adult learning is organised in Croatia and more specifically in Varaždin. Participants from Vestland (Norway), Baden-Württemberg (Germany) and Belgium took part in the activity.
On 20 April 2022, the group visited the secondary school Srednja strukovna skola Varaždin that proposes curricula for adult learners such as carpentry, designer, fashion technician, beautician, hairdresser, baker and butcher. Participants had the opportunity to discover the school and exchange impressions with the Director, Dražen Košćak. Participants also met with Katica Kalogjera Novak, the Director of Varaždin’s School of Economics, that offers training courses to become seller, waiter, cook, business secretary, administrative officer, economist but also offers programmes in the field of the hotel industry and tourism.
In the afternoon, the group had the opportunity to learn more about the European Talent Center of Croatia with Robert Kelemen, Assistant Head for development programs and director of European Talent Centre Croatia – Centres of Excellence of the Varazdin County. Mr. Kelemen gave a workshop on how to develop the habit of creativity among students and the way it can create new opportunities for them. He also presented three initiatives in the field of adult learning:
After the presentations, participants discussed and exchanged views on their personal experiences and shared different examples on how adult education is organised in their different countries.
During the second day, participants visited the Mechanical Engineering and Traffic school of Varaždin and discussed about the different programmes offered in the school, such as drivers for COD 95 and driver’s training for ADR – European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road with the Director, Snježana Klarić.
In the afternoon, the High School “Arboretum Opeka”, offering trainings in the field of agriculture, plant production, and gardening, welcomed the group to present the school facilities, including a tour in the Arboterum Opeka. It is a huge park located outside of the city of Varaždin, with a castle in the middle. The castle is currently being renovated by the school to become a place of teaching for the teachers and students. The Arboterum Opeka is a place where teachers are conducting their classes, outdoors.
During these two days, participants had the opportunity to discover the programmes offered within the vocational schools for adult learners. They discussed and exchange views on the way that adult education works in Norway, Germany or Belgium.
A meeting of EARLALL Skills and Labour Market Working Group was organised on 26 April 2022. The meeting was chaired and introduced by the Working Group Leader: Maria Pascual, Head of the International Projects Unit for VET, Department of Education of the government of Catalonia and Noelia Cantero, EARLALL Director.
During the first part of the meeting, Mr M. Fernández, Directorate General for Employment, European Commission, presented the latest development and priorities of the Pact for Skills, focusing on the regional participation in the pact. The Pact for Skills has a strong focus on industrial ecosystems and from 2022 on regions too. Partnerships are based on clusters and territorial skills strategies where different stakeholders (industries, education and VET providers, VET centers, social partners but also regional and local authorities) are committed to re and up skill the workforce. Mr. Fernández presented the support of the European Commission provided within the Pact. At EU level, the Pact for Skills is composed of three main hubs:
Mr Fernández showed the added value that taking part in the Pact has for the regions, and highlighted the participation of some of EARLALL members: Catalonia (Department of VET), Vestland County Council and Region Västra Götaland.
During the second part of the meeting, Maria Pascual presented the projects in which the working group is involved: the Stride for stride project, which aims at exchanging best practices to foster regional skills intelligence strategies in Europe, and the DAMAS project, which aims at testing virtual mobilities in the automotive sector. Project proposals for the future were also presented and discussed among the members.
Then, she reminded about some important European events coming up such as:
And also about some important EARLALL events:
New proposal ideas were also shared (gender issues, support to apprenticeships, quality, etc) and participants were reminded about the that EARLALL members can join.
Participants agree to hold another meeting before the summer break. Further information will follow.
It is with a great sock that Europe and the world witnessed the invasion of Ukraine by the President Vladimir Putin and his army on 24 February 2022. EARLALL stands in solidarity with the people from Ukraine and strongly condemns such behavior.
EARLALL calls for peace and solidarity and endorses the European Committee of the Regions’ statement urging all EU regions and cities to help Ukraine. On 3-4 March, local and regional leaders adopted the Marseille manifesto, supporting Ukraine and the Ukrainian people: “The declaration, which also expresses support for a stronger “European perspective” for Ukraine, calls for local and regional authorities in the EU “to help the Ukrainian people forced to flee their homes across European cities and regions”.
Below are a few statements released by some representatives from the education community:
The NEETs for NEETs project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme (KA2) was launched by the means of an online kick-off meeting on 14 and 15 February 2022. The meeting was hosted by Region Västra Götaland (Sweden), the coordinator of the project and Borås Stad. The purpose of this meeting was for partners to get to know each other better and to explain what they were expecting from this project.
Project partners include Support Group network (a non-profit organisation initiated by refugees), Borås Municipality, the city of Stuttgart, Save the children (children’s rights organisation), VHS Baden-Württemberg, Oslo Adult Education, NAV Bjerke (representing one of Oslo’s district) and EARLALL.
The NEETs for NEETs project aims at improving inclusive methods to empower young adults, therefore improving the conditions of NEETs. To do so, project partners will involve Adult Educators to co-create and design trainings with and for the NEETs. Based on an existing example of good practice, the project will broaden and modify the ReAct Self-Empowerment model, developed by the organisation Support Group Network (SGN). The NEETs for NEETs project will learn from these experiences and practices, adapting them to the challenges and possibilities offered.
During these two days, project partners had the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the ReACT model and to share their expectations and fears for the years to come.
RegALE (Regional Capacity in Adult Education and Learning) project partners met online on 7 and 8 February 2022 for the third transnational partners meeting. The consortium had the opportunity to discuss the project: its work in progress and further steps for the upcoming months.
Three webinars, available on a Moodle platform, were already organised on:
After an ice-breaker where each partners had to present a public art piece from their home towns, the results of the different activities of the project were discussed. During the last months, project partners shared among their networks a survey, drafted by the University of Siena and Borås stad on challenges and opportunities of adult education in the cities and regions. All the data collected is now being analysed and the results will be shared by project partners in the coming weeks.
In parallel, a collection of best practices on knowledge of successful Adult Education practices and policies at local and regional levels was collected by the Hellenic Adult Education Association and VHS Baden Württemberg and the help of project partners. The collection is nearly ready and should be available on the RegALE website very soon.
Three different types of activities will also be organised by project partners in the coming months:
Apart from the monthly online partners’ meeting, some partners will meet again from 1 to 3 March on the occasion of the first project training on EU programmes, organised by EAEA. This online training, open to all stakeholders interested in the topic will enable participants to:
On 24 November 2021, EARLALL hosted, with Borås Stad (on behalf of Västra Götaland region) the first webinar on EU Education tools. The session was organised in the context of the RegALE (Regional capacity for Adult Learning and Education) project. The event gathered Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning providers, but also local and regional public authorities dealing with education and training.
Nina Ahlroos, National Coordinator for Euroguidance – Swedish Council for Higher Education introduced the Euroguidance network, which has three main aims: competence development, advocacy & networking and development & innovation. Then, Sanna Holmkvist, Coordinator Europass Sweden – Swedish Council for Higher Education introduced the EPALE platform, Europe’s largest network for professionals in the adult learning sector. She also presented the Europass tool, which can be useful for job search.
She was followed by Pernilla Öhberg – International coordinator & work based learning strategist at NTI Gymnasiet (Sweden) who explained the functioning of ECVET, the European Credit Transfer System in Vocational Education and Training. Maya Ivanova from the European Commission (DG EMPL) introduced the EQF, European Qualification Framework which aims to improve the transparency, comparability and portability of people’s qualifications.
Noelia Cantero, EARLALL Director, moderated the second webinar on EU Education tools, organised on 3 February 2022. Tim Schreiber, European Commission (DG EMPL, Unit B3 Vocational Education and Training) presented SELFIE, a self-reflection tool for schools to assess the school’s use of digital technology. An extension of this tool was launched in October 2021: it is SELFIE for WBL (Work-based learning). It brings VET institutions and companies closer together to jointly discuss how to best embed digital technology in the education and training provided.
Then, Francesco Losappio, European Commission (DG EMPL, Unit E1 – Labour Mobility, Public Employment) introduced the ESCO (European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations) database. This tool aims at better connecting education and training to the labour market. The ESCO database categorises skills, competences, qualifications, and occupations.
To finish the webinar, Kjerstin Torpmann-Hagen, European Commission (DG EMPL, Unit B3 Vocational Education and Training) presented the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) and the activities that will be conducted by the network in 2022.
Tim Schreiber and Kjerstin Torpmann-Hagen concluded the session by inviting participants to take part in events organised by the European Commission:
On 20 January 2022, the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union organized a Ministerial Conference in Paris entitled: “New Erasmus+ generation: developing mobility for apprentices”. The aim of the Conference was to reflect on how to increase mobility opportunities offered to the apprentices in Europe. The event, which was also livestreamed, gathered French, Austrian, Croatian, Czech and Polish ministers for employment, European commissioners but also civil society organizations.
The Conference was introduced by Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for jobs and social rights who highlighted the: “real added value of the mobility of apprentices for the companies”. After that, some video testimonials from young apprentices who participated in a mobility in Europe and presented their experiences were showcased.
Jürgen Siebel, Executive Director at Cedefop, introduced the obstacles and needs to the mobility of apprentices in Europe: higher involvement of employers as senders and receivers of apprentices, the fear of employers to send apprentices abroad, the administrative burden for the companies and the language barrier among others. Unfortunately, long term mobility for apprentices remains very low and Mr. Siebel finished his presentation by saying: “to overcome these obstacles, we need to fix the rules and coordination issues”.
The first round-table of the Conference tackled the following question: “How to develop European partnerships and networks to increase mobility? » Labor ministers from France, Italy and Austria took part in the discussions with representatives from companies but also civil society organisations. Speakers discussed existing schemes, good practices and commitments to increase the opportunities for European mobility in learning and training.
The second round-table discussion tackled the supportive measures to encourage mobility. There, French, Czech and Polish Ministers along with Director of the Finnish Erasmus+ Agency exchanged views on mechanisms in place at national and European level to support mobility in the training and apprentices’ pathways.