On Wednesday, 14 October 2020, the Centres of Vocational Excellence worskhop was jointly organised by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), DG EMPL, PEEP and EARLALL in the context of the European Week of Regions & Cities 2020. The event was aimed at analysing how platforms of centres of vocational excellence (CoVEs) contribute to create skills ecosystems that drive regional innovation, development and smart specialisation, along with social inclusion.
The workshop was opened by João Santos (European Commission, DG EMPL). He introduced the background in which the CoVEs initiative is being developed at the European Commission, ensuring that people have the necessary skills to support the green and digital transition, as well as to help recover the economy from the COVID-19 crisis. Key highlights outlined were the new Skills Agenda (July), the proposal for a Council Recommendation on Vocational Education & Training (VET) (July 2020), the Communication on the European Education Area (September 2020) and the European Digital Education Action Plan (September 2020).
Fernando Hervás (European Commission, JRC) introduced their support for the “embeddedness of CoVEs in the regional innovation ecosystems so they can contribute actively to the sustainable economic transformation agenda of the region,” highlighting that “VET is at the core or regions’ needs for reskilling and upskilling.” His research introduction was complemented by the political views of MEP Eva Meydell (PPE), who introduced three key initiatives within the European Parliament (EP) to support skills: the position aiming at the extension of the scope of areas eligible for funding (youth funding and access to education) under the Technical Support Instrument, within the EP’s ECON Committee; a paper on education within the EP’s PPE group with emphasis on supporting dual education in VET, lifelong learning for all generations, and adult learning; and the European Education Alliance, jointly developed with MEP Victor Negrescu (S&D).
|MEP Eva Maydell
|Iñigo Araiztegui (TKNIKA)
Afterwards, current projects of CoVE platforms were presented during world café group meetings (see table below). Participants were divided into 5 groups, during which the different CoVE pilot initiatives funded by the European Commission in 2019 and 2020 were introduced. Noelia Cantero, EARLALL Director, moderated one of the discussion groups, during which the DIHUB project was introduced by Helsinki Business College.
During other of the discussion groups, Iñigo Araiztegui, (TKNIKA, Basque VET Applied Research Centre), introduced the EXAM 4.0 project (Erasmus+, with the participation of EARLALL), underlining the importance of strategic partnering between regional actors. He explained the rationale behind the project, pointing at ageing population as a key challenge: “many workers are retiring and we’re losing their experience, but there are also workers who need reskilling & upskilling and are not retiring any soon.” He also highlighted the need to pay attention to the “human side” of technological development, focusing on human-oriented skills that will be needed in the future that the digital and green transition will render.
|2020 call (starting in November 2020)
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