The Basque Country has held the Presidency of the EARLALL Network since 2014. As of 2023, the President of the Network is the Basque Govenment Minister of Education, Jokin Bildarratz.

The Basque Country and Education

Basque Country is the first EU Country 46,1% of youth (30-34) with higher studies (EU average 39,9%) and 38,8% graduates in science and technology. The Education Department is tasked with overseeing non-university and university education, together with research.

The Basque Country has a long tradition of changing and adapting Vocational Education and Training to the needs of businesses and people, and this has made the Basque Vocational Education and Training model an international benchmark The 6th Basque Vocational Education and Trainig Plan sets out to address a revamped vocational education and training model with the ability to adapt to a society immersed in an accelerated context of technological disruption, which poses new challenges and calls for a reinforcement not only of digital competences, but also critical and constructive thinking, creativity and humanist education.

Euskadi, as the Basque Country is known in Basque, is a small country but with a strong identity. With a history stretching back over 5,000 years, Euskadi has a distinctive culture and a language that is unique in the world. Euskadi is today a modern country that has managed to adapt to the times and is at the forefront of Europe in terms of quality of life and sustainable human development.

The Basque Country has a surface area of 7,000 km2 and a population of over 2 million. Its location means it is a connecting link on the European Atlantic Corridor.

The Basque Country has a Parliament and Government with a high degree of autonomy in policy areas including education, industry, culture, health, law enforcement and social services. Through its management of them, the Basque Country has achieved high human development indexes.

Euskadi is likewise made up of three provinces: Araba, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa and Vitoria-Gasteiz, Bilbao and San Sebastián are our three capitals. The three are benchmarks in modernity and commitment to culture, the environment and quality of life.

Euskadi has its own tax system, which is unique in the world. The Economic Agreement embodies the bilateral tax and financial relationship between Euskadi and the Spanish State. The development and progress that Basque society has experience in recent decades can only be understood today taking the Instrument of the Economic Agreement into account.

Industry is the Basque economy’s driving force and key to create quality jobs. It represents 24.1% of GDP and places Euskadi at the head of the fourth industrial revolution. The GDP per capita is 119% and the productivity per employee tax is 127,9%.

Foreign Action is an essential tool for the promotion and defence of the Basque Country’s interests around the world with 7 Basque Government Delegations abroad and SPRI Commercial Network in 83 countries. The Basque Diaspora in the world is made up of a network of 191 Basque Centres.

 Our culture and our language, euskera, are key to understanding the past and to projecting towards a future that we build from creativity and collaboration. 5000 years of the Basque Language and it is one of the 35 languages on X (Twitter).

Contributing to the fight against poverty, the promotion of human development, gender equity and humanitarian action in conflicto and disasters and contexts are part of the Basque Development Cooperation.

We are a small country with a big identity, where everything is close and everything is diverse. We are a destination for cultural explores and landscape enthusiasts that has received more tan 3 million visitors in a country with 31 Michelin Stars. Basque Country is second in Tourist Quiality Certifications.

Sport is closely linked to Basque identity. Euskadi has numerous world-class athletes, as well as traditional sports practices with a large social implantation.

Further information: EN PDF 2 (

Located at the far West of Europe, Brittany is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Metropolitan France. With an average of 25,000 new inhabitants per year since 2000, the population of Brittany continues to grow. In 2016, Brittany ranked 7th out of the French regions with 3.3 million inhabitants.

Traditionally based on agriculture and fishing, the economy of Brittany is increasingly counting on a performant industry that has been developing around agribusiness, telecoms, automotive and naval construction. In 2017, unemployment rate is at 7,4 % of the labour force, which is the second lowest among the French regions, and 1.2% lower than the national average. The growth of employment is Brittany is also the second fastest in French regions (+ 2,8 %).

The Brittany Region has an excellent level of education, which is characterised by high percentages of students in education up to the age of 24 and exam success rates that are always higher than the national average. The region also has the lowest percentage of young people without diplomas (6,9 %). In Brittany, there are 43 Centres de Formation d’Apprentis (apprenticeship training centres) and apprenticeship departments. With around 732,000 students enrolled in higher education, Brittany accounts for 4.9% of the national share and is the sixth leading region in France.

In conformity with its legal competence, training and assistance is offered by the Region to job seekers and those in employment. Each year, almost 5,000 Breton companies with over 10 employees fund continuing vocational education for their employees.

The “Pacte d’Investissement dans les Compétences” was signed off in March 2019 between the Regional Council of Brittany and the French State. This national framework will be implemented in Brittany for the next 4 years by investing 572 millions of euros on the territory to train more than 21 100 job seekers, including 4 935 additional trainings for under or unqualified people. More information here (in French).

By focusing on the most fragile public, this plan is in the continuity of the regional policy of Brittany, which has chosen to focus its action on the least qualified and long term job seekers as well as the NEET young people.

To do so, several new measures have been put in place by the Region: innovative and tailored training offers responding to the recruitment needs in the territory, as well as a stronger involvement of territories and businesses in the recruitment and training processes. The Regional Council of Brittany has indeed just launched two innovative programs to accompany this specific category of people (job seekers, less qualified people and NEET) to employment:

  • PREPA which helps beneficiaries to prepare a professional project
  • QUALIF which focuses on training to get access to the job market, by ensuring a recognised qualification at the end

More information here (in French).

Tuscany is located in Central Italy and it is limited on the west coast by the Tyrrhenian sea. Its land borders, starting from the north are Liguria, Emilia Romagna, Marche, Umbria and Lazio. The regional capital is Florence.

Tuscany Region promotes education, vocational training and employment of citizens in order to build an integrated regional system that guarantees, consistently with the European Union strategies for human resources development, the full realization of individual freedom and social integration as well as the right to guidance and lifelong learning as a necessary foundation for the right to study and the right to work.

Regional policies contribute to ensuring the development of personal and social identity, in respect of the freedom and dignity of the person, equality and equal opportunities, in relation to physical, cultural, social and gender aspects.

According to the Italian Constitution,  multiple institutional players at national and regional level are involved in lifelong learning, as it provides for ownership either by the State, the regions or mechanisms for cooperation between the different institutions, in relation to the type of training supply.

Responsibilities are shared among the different actors involved in planning and organizing VET as follows:

  • the Ministry of Education and Merit (MIM) sets the framework for VET in national school programs (technical and vocational schools) for higher technical training;
  • the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies (MLPS) sets the framework for Regional Education and Vocational training courses (IeFP), while the regions and autonomous provinces are in charge of planning, organization and provision;
  • regions and autonomous provinces are also in charge of planning, organization and provision of ITS, IFTS, post IeFP, post-higher education, and most of the apprenticeship-type schemes;
  • goals of Continuing Vocational Training ( CVT) under the public system are set by the labour ministry, while CVT activities are managed by either regions and autonomous provinces or social partners;
  • social partners play an important role in promoting company-level training plans (single or group of companies) to be financed by the regions or by the joint interprofessional funds;
  • social partners have a general advisory role in VET policy, from which VET provision is then defined.

All young people have the right/duty to pursue their education and training for at least 12 years before reaching age 18 and should not leave education and training without a qualification.

Compulsory education lasts 10 years, up to 16, and includes the first two years of upper secondary general education or VET.

Young people complete lower secondary education at age 14. At this stage, learners sit a state exam to acquire a certificate (EQF level 1) which grants admission to the upper secondary level where young people have the opportunity to choose between general education and VET.

At upper secondary level, young people may opt for:

  1. five-year programs which include the two last years of compulsory education and three years (under the right/duty of education and training) in high schools (licei), technical schools, vocational schools.
  2. Regional Education and Vocational training courses (IeFP) (3 or 4 years – EQF 3 or 4 respectively)
  3. an apprenticeship-type scheme (EQF 3 or 4).

At post-secondary level, the Regional system features higher technical training (IFTS, ITS) and short programs or courses (post-IeFP and others).

VET courses also exist at higher education level.

Tertiary education is divided into higher education programs at the university and higher education programs at non-university institutions for higher artistic and musical programs.

Italian VET also offers adult education and Continuing Vocational Training (CVT).

Tuscany region initiative

Tuscany Region is pleased to provide information about its successful initiative ‘SIETE PRESENTE – Giovani protagonisti del cambiamento’ (or You are present.  Young people, protagonists of change in English). The initiative was enthusiastically promoted by the Presidency of Tuscany region and counted with the active participation of Mr Bernard Dika, Regional Counsellor for Youth and Innovation.

SIETE PRESENTE was launched on 18 October 2021 in Villa del Gombo (San Rossore) on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Giovanisì. (Regional project to help young people become independent) in the presence of the Italian President Mr Sergio Mattarella. Through SIETE PRESENTE Regione Toscana aimed to put young people at a central stage, to create opportunities and to make them protagonists of the regional political scene. As it has been recognised by Ms Alessandra Nardini, Regional Minister for education and training, young people have particularly struggled and suffered the consequences of the pandemic restrictions and special attention to improve the quality and relevance of the study offers and pedagogies should be considered.

The initiative consisted of a Tour with different stages around the Tuscan territory. During each of those stages, policy makers and regional players discussed with local young people about their challenges, concerns, and dreams to co-create a future designed with and for the younger generations of Tuscan citizens.

On 9 May 2022, Europe Day, and in the context of the European Year of Youth, the final event of this participatory process will be held in Florence. It will be the occasion to enhance youth leadership and the active participation of youngsters from Tuscany.

After the institutional greetings, speeches of young women involved in active citizenship projects will follow on the stage, including inspirational speeches, to testify the role of young people and how they are the real protagonists of change. President of the Tuscany Region, Eugenio Giani, Minister for Youth Policies Fabiana Dadone, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, Task Force European Year of Youth, European Commission Eleonora Pezzarossa will be present at the event.

Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports in Baden-Württemberg

Baden-Württemberg’s Ministry is in charge for the regional education-system (subsidiarity). With a staff of 380 people, it is responsible for the following policies and services:

  • General school system, basic education and private school system.
  • Vocational Education & Training (VET).
  • Teacher education, pedagogical seminars, teacher’s training and examination regulation.
  • Science & research in education
  • Communication of educational information and educational guidance
  • Long-distance teaching
  • Interregional & international cultural affairs
  • Early childhood education and Kindergarten
  • Youth and sports.

The Department 45 “Further education/Lifelong Learning” is responsible for all activities and initiatives which support Lifelong learning as the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. The department was the initiator and moderator of the Alliance for Lifelong Learning with more than 50 educational associations and partners in further education.

Shaping Europe

Baden-Württemberg lies at the very heart of Europe. With a population of just under 11 million and as the number one region for innovation, Baden-Württemberg is larger and has more economic muscle than many of the European Union’s sovreign member states. As a significant region, Baden-Württemberg is helping to shape the face of Europe – with Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann.

We need a stronger Europe to overcome the current issue of national debt and the Euro crisis. This is why we are fully behind a strong European Union based on solidarity. EU structural policies are exerting a positive outcome on the state level. We are putting our weight behind ensuring that things stay that way.

To steer Europe towards a successful future, the EU’s role needs to be redetermined. Baden-Württemberg aspires to be a part of the development process which will shape the future of the European Union. From the viewpoint of the State Government, one thing is clear: It is only with a stronger Europe that it will be possible to avert the crisis and safeguard the weight of Europe’s position in the global community for the future.

Many members of the public hold a critical view of the European Union. The State Government intends to shape its European policy through active exchange with its citizens. Using a broad-based workshop process, we have sought dialogue with members of the scientific community and with society as a whole in a process which has produced valuable impetus for our European program.

Relevant Projects

  • TALENTS (funded by the European Union under Erasmus+ KA2)
  • FIER (funded by the European Union under the EaSI PROGRESS axis)
  • BRIDGE+ (funded by the European Union under Erasmus+ KA3)

Catalonia’s Regional Ministry of Education is a board member of EARLALL. They are part of the Working Groups on: Mobility, Skills and the Labour Market (which they are leading); Youth Policies and Ageing Populations and Lifelong Guidance.

Catalonia is an autonomous community in Spain, on the north-eastern corner of the Iberian Peninsula, designated as a nationality by its Statute of Autonomy. Catalonia consists of four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The capital and largest city is Barcelona, the second most-populated municipality in Spain and the core of the sixth most populous urban area in the European Union. It is bordered by France and Andorra to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the east, and the Spanish autonomous communities of Aragon to the west and Valencia to the south. The official languages are Catalan, Spanish, and Aranese, a dialect of Occitan.

Catalonia has more than 5,000 educational educational institutions throughout its geography with more than 500,000 students in total.

Main economic activities of the region: Agriculture, Livestock, Fishing, Trade, Services, Construction, Industry, Energy, Transport, Tourism, Digital, Design

Catalonia and Lifelong Learning

The General Directorate for Vocational Education and Training of the Regional Ministry of Education of Catalonia is responsible for VET and lifelong learning. The Directorate General for Vocational Education and Training and specifically the Deputy Directorate General for Programmes and Projects work directly with VET schools. The objectives set by the Directorate General for VET are worked together with VET schools through the different programmes: ActivaFp, InnovaFp, EmprènFP, OrientaFP, CatSkills, FuturaFp, Qualitat, FCT-DUAL, MobilitatFP, PFI and IntegraFP.

These programmes work on the implementation of active methodologies, innovation, entrepreneurship, orientation, VET competitions, research and development, quality, DUAL system, students’ and teachers’ mobility, basic professional training and training of the unemployed.

One of the most important goals from The Department of Education in Catalunya is to promote vocational training throughout all the region. Companies have the necessity of hiring more and more qualified employees according to some specific skills only vocational educational training provides. In order to achieve that, promoting international motilities plays a key role due to the benefits the students acquire living abroad for a period of time and attending their internship in a company from abroad.

The DUAL system in vocational training is also highly important. Combining learning and working is highly beneficial for students. Examples of all this benefits are explained below.

For students:

  • Students can do practice and theory at the same time.
  • Students are trained in a real work environment.
  • Feeling valued as a “worker”, as well as being a student.
  • Learning acquired in the company is recognized academically.
  • Access to technology, resources and facilities of companies.
  • Improvement of training, qualification and personal development.

For companies:

  • Increase of competitiveness.
  • Improvement of professional skills of the staff.
  • Contribution to corporate social responsibility policy.
  • Establishment of a relation of co-responsibility with vocational training institutions.

The DUAL system is a vocational training model that is organized jointly by companies and educational centers (through a collaboration agreement). In companies students learn to work and receive an economic remuneration. Internships may be carried out in two different ways: contract or scholarship. Students in the company are tutored by qualified professionals who have received the basic training that enables them to follow and evaluate the educational activities. Nowadays more than 10,000 students have opted for the modality of the DUAL VET and more than 4,000 companies collaborate in this training model. Among the most involved business sectors in the development of DUAL system we find industry and service providers.

The implementation of more and more international mobilities in all vocational training institutions is also relevant, as more than 2,000 international mobilities are carried out by vocational training institutions in Catalunya with good benefits for all the communities involved: institutions, students and companies. Students attend their mobilities throughout all Europe mainly in France, Italy and Germany. Vocational training institutions also receive students from abroad in order to carry out their internship in Catalunya, promoting cultural exchange between students.

Vocational education and training degrees adapted to some specific companies are under implementation in order to create specific skills according to the needs of all those companies. It is beneficial not only for some specific sectors but also for the employment rates of the region.

Direct access from vocational training degree to university has also been implemented in order to facilitate university access to students. Some other implementations are access to vocational training degrees at any time and under any circumstances, as well as recognition of professional qualifications acquired through work experience.

Catalonia’s priorities in lifelong learning

Catalonia’s priorities:

  • to increase the number of students in the DUAL system
  • to reach 5% of Catalan VET students participating in an international mobility by 2030
  • to certify quality, safety, sustainability and the areas to increase in management following the e2cat model
  • to promote innovation and entrepreneurship projects aimed at improving the skills of VET students.

Examples of Projects in the region

3LoE: Three-level centres of professional excellence: Qualification, entrepreneurship and innovation in the Green Economy, 2020-2024

The main objectives of 3LoE are:

  • Sustainably upgrade skills, secure the need for young professionals/managers and entrepreneurs, and strengthen the competitiveness of SMEs in the green economy
  • Realise energy savings, use renewable energies and environmental and climate protection through qualified and innovative SMEs

The project targeted VET providers, companies, industry representatives, public authorities, universities, research centres, non-governmental organisations and associations The main outcome is the creation of Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) on green economy. Find out more at

SHOW-VET, 2022-2024

The core idea of the SHOW-VET project is that the consortium of education providers and other partners will develop a teacher’s guide including pedagogical methods, teachers’ training material, providing training for mentors and teachers from selected study fields and develop new e-learning material. The project targets VET providers, educational organisations, professional associations, universities and VET teachers and students. For more information:

Useful links

Key competences programme

This programme has been boosted by the Principality of Asturias in the last few years. It is aimed at providing the skills needed to acquire Professional Certifications (level 2). It was established between the Education and Culture Department and the Public Employment Services of the Principality of Asturias. Four-month courses are organised featuring training modules on Mathematical Skills and Spanish Language Communication. Even if the Foreing Language (English) Module is optional, it is mandatory for certain Professional Certifications.

For more information, visit

Varaždin County is one of 21 units of regional self-government in Croatia, located in the north-western part of the country. It has 6 cities and 22 municipalities. Varaždin County today represents an important Croatian region with intense industrial and commercial activities.

The surface of Varaždin County is 1261,29 m2 (2,23% of the total surface of the Republic of Croatia), and it has 175.951 inhabitants, which makes 4,16% of the total number of inhabitants in Croatia. A significant characteristic of Varaždin County’s geographical position is the border with the Republic of Slovenia and proximity to the borders with Austria and Hungary. It is one of the territorially smaller, but at the same time one of the most densely populated Croatian counties.

Varaždin County has a network of business zones, developed business infrastructure, financial markets and many incentive policies for investors.  The economic structure of the County is dominated by textile, wood-manufacturing, metal, food and construction industries.

According to the Act on Regional and Local Self-Government, competences of counties are: education, health care, spatial planning, economic development and transport infrastructure, as well as educational, medical, social and cultural institutions.  The county is responsible on a local level for the sectors: Education, Health care, Spatial planning, Economic development (incl. Support for SMEs) , Transport infrastructure,  medical, and social/cultural institutions.

The county provides and co-finances transportation for high school pupils and for students, pupil and student loans and scholarships, helpers in the process of education in primary and secondary schools for pupils with special needs. It also organizes and financial support centres of excellence in mathematics, physics, chemistry, entrepreneurship, biology, Croatian language, new technology, communicology and information technology (attended by  circa 750 students  every year). These are aimed at achieving improved results in the national competitions and university entrance examinations.

In the framework of the aim to increase the life quality for all citizens,  The county works constantly to improve technical education standards in  schools (robotics/CNC machines, ICT equipment, international cooperation between schools, pupils’ cooperatives, eco-schools, institute for lifelong learning, international baccalaureate etc.)

Varaždin County has the ISO 9001:2015 certificate in the area of development of regional self-government by creating public policies.

Projects and Activities in the field of Lifelong Learning

Project “STAIRS” Erasmus + programme

The STAIRS (Stakeholders Together Adapting Ideas to Readjust Local Systems to Promote Inclusive Education) project is a collaborative, cross-national and cross-sectoral project, the purpose of which is to support national, regional and local stakeholders in dealing with diversity – from the so-called learning countries – in the field of education to improve their competences and make them able to design, disseminate and upscale effective strategies and processes pertinent to their specific needs to foster social inclusion in education and training through a process of learning and adapting good practices shared with them by institutions and organisations from high-achieving countries – from the so called sharing countries.

Project “Provide Assistance for Pupils in Varaždin County Schools” (funded from the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports in the Republic of Croatia and ESF).

The project provides assistance for pupils with disabilities in the regular teaching process by recruiting personal assistants during tuition in regular schools. The project has been running since 2014 and has entered the 4th stage of implementation. Every year, around 60-70 students receive support from this programme in Varaždin County.

Go to project website >

“Local Initiatives for Employment Strengthening”, led by Varaždin County and funded by ESF

The general goal of the project: Development of innovative employment initiatives in line with the Human Resources Development Strategy of Varaždin County 2016 – 2020

Specific goal:

  1. a) Development of competencies which contribute to competitiveness of the local economy (self) employment of citizens based on the principle of inclusion, innovativeness and life-long learning.
  2. b) Further development and quality improvement (administrative, financial, operational capacities  and human resources of the Local Partnership for Employment of Varaždin County

Go to project website >

Project “Centres of Excellence in Varaždin County” (financed from the budget of Varaždin County)

Its aim is to provide elementary and high school students with additional knowledge and skills from different areas of education. There are 9 Centres of Excellence in the County: the Centre for Excellence in Mathematics, Informatics, Physics, Croatian Language, Chemistry, Entrepreneurship, Biology, the Centre for New Technologies and the Centre of Excellence for Communication. In the school year 2018/19 the centre will be attended by 829 students with 135 mentors working for them. The results of the centres are reflected through the excellent results achieved by the participants of the centres at all levels of the competition. The centres of excellence in Varaždin County have also become internationally recognized by obtaining certificates from ECHA and have become the European Talent Centre for the Republic of Croatia.

Go to project website >

Educational programmes for education staff

The County, as a founder of primary and secondary schools, is continuously active in the area of ​​lifelong learning and in the following educational programs for principals and employees of primary and secondary schools:

  • Course for energy advisors,
  • Program for the Development and Implementation of EU projects,
  • Strategic management and decision-making in education,
  • E-Learning,
  • Education for Entrepreneurship,
  • Training for the implementation of public procurement,
  • Finance management, etc.

Vocational schools founded by Varaždin County carry out continuous programs of retraining and training:

Region Västra Götaland (VGR) is a county council governing the territory Västra Götaland, located in the southwest of Sweden. The Region includes 49 municipalities, divided into four larger local assemblies of regions (i.e. Göteborgsregionen, Fyrbodal, Skaraborg, Sjuhärad). Taken together, the territory has approximately 1.7 million inhabitants, whereby 55 000 of these inhabitants are employed by VGR. Region Västra Götaland is responsible for regional growth and development matters, along with healthcare and medical treatment. Apart from working with municipalities, VGR devotes itself to forge and foster connections and networks with trade, industry, and academia broadly. VGR wants to become “a region for everyone” and puts considerable effort towards this end by, for example, working to create successful matching on the labour market, creating and supplying appropriately skilled labour to society, building infrastructure connecting the region, and overcoming social alienation and segregation.

The development of a well-functioning labour market where education and expertise are utilised properly, and where everybody is given equal opportunity for skill development, remains a priority.  Whilst all of the above-mentioned responsibilities remain important to the region’s overall work, these responsibilities towards the labour market are particularly pertinent towards EARLALL’s work. VET and efforts towards lifelong learning are some ways in which this is being realised further. Within the realm of EARLALL’s activities, VGR participates in the “Mobility” working group. Other actors, such as regional universities (University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology, University West), educational institutions (e.g. folk high schools (these provide adult education outside of the national curriculum)), labour market organisations, and the Swedish public employment service, remain equally important in facilitating VGR’s work of continued education and lifelong learning.

The four different local assemblies of regions within VGR work together on several joint development activities, for example within study and vocational guidance, internships, competency validation and college development (especially within the areas of healthcare and technology). In work on regional vocational adult education at the upper secondary level together with institutions of higher education, VGR contributes with analyses, reports, and forecasts, as well as mapping at the regional and sub-regional levels.

The Region continues to prioritise the betterment of educational institutions to promote lifelong learning as it increases both the competitive edge of VGR, as well as civic inclusion. Priorities and goals of the Region’s work towards a more inclusive labour market are, to name a few, to increase the percentage of inhabitants in higher education; shorten and simplify the way into the labour market through competency validation; guidance based on the individual’s own terms; and more effective ways of making use of existing skills and competence.

If Sweden – as a small country existing relatively far away from the larger markets and therefore reliant on the export industry – is to adequately hold its ground as competition for jobs and industry hardens worldwide, efforts towards increased lifelong learning is likely to be one of the most effective solutions to help people develop the appropriate skills to establish themselves on the labour market. Enhanced coordination efforts between educational institutions to supply enrolled students with the right competency for future work will be pivotal to this end. One such example is VGR’s participation in the Smart Factory (“Smarta Fabriker”) project where technological institutes come together with businesses and industries to provide education and knowledge on industrial digitalisation to students and professionals alike.

Examples of EU-funded projects relevant to VGR’s work on lifelong learning are BRIDGE+, FIER, TALENTS, and InVäst. These projects are international collaborations done together with a myriad of different actors, including, but not limited to, counties, other Regions, federal governments, companies, and educational institutions.

  • BRIDGE+, with co-funding from the EU Erasmus+ programme, has its aim towards skills development by building, testing, and implementing new strategies of labour market integration at a regional level with the help of innovative technology.
  • FIER(Fast-Track Integration in European Regions) aims at developing instruments and strategies for a fast-track labour market integration of disadvantaged groups among refugees and asylum-seekers. The project is funded by the EU programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), and has spanned two years, wrapping up in December 2019.
  • The TALENTS project has a similar target group of immigrants and refugees and aims to increase their inclusion in society through language training and professional training to facilitate fast access to the labour market.
  • Additional initiatives to strengthen immigrants’ and refugees’ position on the labour market is done through the InVäst project, funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), with a focus on language training, competency validation, and network-building. VGR’s own initiative – Future Kitchen – similarly emphasises language training and vocational training as important factors for successful labour market integration.

Apart from the network included in VGR itself, one can find several other such initiatives within the territory attempting to bring industry, education, and businesses together to create a more cohesive and inclusive labour market. Examples include Westum and Syvonline (guidance), both bringing educational institutes and industry closer together. One Stop Future Shop as been another rewarding project to the Region’s development, looking to bring entrepreneurs, start-ups, and businesses together.

Vestland County is situated on the west coast of Norway and has a population of about 636 500 inhabitants (2019). The region is newly formed under the 2020 Norwegian regional reform and was established on 1 January 2020. (formerly Hordaland and Sogn & Fjordane counties). The county is made up of 43 municipalities each with their own governing councils.The county administration, Vestland County Council (VCC), is situated in  Bergen (second largest city in Norway) with offices also in Leikanger and Førde.

The County has a vision to ensure the development of Vestland as an attractive and innovative region. The County Council is responsible for the county policies regarding secondary and adult education, economic and regional development, planning, tourism, energy and climate, cultural affairs, integration and inclusion, transport, communications and dental health. VCC is the owner of 46 upper secondary schools (combined VET and general studies) including adult education, and the Vocational College.

VCC aims to increase regional innovation capacity by systematically building  skills and competences through the interaction between the educational sector, the labour market, municipalities and other relevant stakeholders Regional Plan for Competence and Labour 2017 (in Norwegian).

VCC cooperates with the regional knowledge clusters on several levels. Several of Norway’s most important centres of research and education are located in Bergen, i.e. the University of Bergen, the Norwegian School of EconomicsWestern Norway University of Applied Sciences. and  Marineholmen innovation district, NORCE and Western Norway Research Institute.

VCC and international cooperation

All county departments are engaged in international activities. Targeted and systematic focus on knowledge sharing and competence development ensures that the county of Vestland possesses the competence and skills the region needs. The objectives for the international activities are in line with these strategies, mainly linked to European cooperation financed by EU-projects. The Department of Innovation & Economic development and the Department of Education also have responsibility to mobilise and support a wide range of stakeholders, including different departments in VCC, municipalities, schools (all levels), businesses, NGOs,with EU projects and applications.Young people are a priority target group. .

EU-programmes most relevant for VCC are Interreg, Erasmus+, Horizon 2020 and EEA Grants.

VCC hosts the national contact point for the Interreg North Sea Region Programme.

VCC leads several EU-funded projects. Some of the recent and ongoing are (2020):

  • Vestland County is also a partner in the Erasmus+ Sector Skills Alliance project ALBATTS (Alliance for Batteries Technology, Training and Skills). This project aims to map the necessary skills needed in both industrial and educational sectors to facilitate growth in the emerging European ecosystem for batteries for electro-mobility.

Contact information

Vestland County Council Department of Innovation and Economic development, Section for Research, Competence and Internationalisation

Marit Einen
Senior adviser
Tel: +47 41249271
Kathrin Jakobsen
Head of section
Tel: +47 98255253


The regional government of Vidin is a member of EARLALL and is part of the Ageing Population and Lifelong Guidance working group. Vidin is a regional administration located in the town of Vidin, Bulgaria. It has a population of 78,814 people (2021). During the last years, a deepening process of population aging has been reported, due to a continuous decrease in the number of persons under 14 years of age, and an increase in the share of persons over 65 years of age. Their distribution by age groups is as follows: 11.97% – population aged 0-14, 29.69% – population aged 15-64. and 58.34% – the population over 65 years old.

The level of the population in the individual municipalities is uneven and is determined by the corresponding economic development. The number of the urban population is increasing at the expense of those living in the villages. This is due, to the demand for higher income and education in cities by the population.

Main economic activities of the region:

Services dominate the economic structure of the region. With the largest share is the “Trade and repair of cars and motorcycles” sector, which includes 39.73% of the enterprises in the region, followed by the “Agriculture, forestry and fisheries” sector with 9.63%, the “Hospitality and restaurant industry” – 8.19% and “Transport, storage and mail” – 7.65%.

Vidin and Lifelong Learning

The Regional Education Management, Labour Bureau Directorate (Vidin, Kula and Belogradchik) and Angel Kanchev University of Ruse are responsible for lifelong learning in the region. According to the strategic document guiding the region’s policies, the priorities in lifelong learning are:

  • Integrated territorial strategy for the development of the North-West region of level 2
  • Equal access to quality education and training
  • Acquisition of skills in line with the labor market
  • Modernization of the educational infrastructure

Regional Employment Programmes

  • READY FOR WORK – Activation of young people up to the age of 29 inclusive who are neither in education or training nor in employment are not registered as unemployed in the Employment agency and improve their employability and career opportunities. Motivation for active labor market behavior of inactive young people from the target group, with follow-up activities to facilitate inclusion in employment and training. Economically inactive young people aged 15-29 who are not in education, training or employment and have not been registered with the Labor Office Directorate;
  • YOUTH EMPLOYMENT – Enhancing the competitiveness of young people by providing opportunities for apprenticeships or on-the-job training that will facilitate the transition from education to employment and will lead to the accumulation of professional experience needed to fill vacancies declared by employers;
  • TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE – Integration of unemployed youths up to 29 years of age, registered in the Labor Office Directorates at the Employment Agency, in employment with an employer by providing trainings and a subsidy for long-term employment. The operation will contribute to facilitating the transition from education to employment for unemployed young people who will get a first or new job opportunity, new or advanced occupational knowledge and skills acquired in the workplace as well as the acquisition of professional qualifications and key competences in a foreign language and digital competence (if needed for the particular employer).

For the implementation programs and measures for training, employment and vocational qualification in Vidin during 2019, a total amount of 2,044,651 BGN were paid. Employment includes 476 persons, of which 372 are newly employed. A total of 265 people are enrolled in training, of which 217 are unemployed and 48 are employed. Funds paid are 98.85% of the allocated funds for the year, which are 2 068 402 BGN.

The Vidin Regional Governor Albena Georgieva participated in the establishment of the “Regional Innovation Center Northwest” on January 8th, 2020 in Sofia. The Regional Innovation Center is an association for supporting, promoting, representing and protecting the regional capacity to introduce and develop innovation, through the enhancement of cooperation between business and scientific research organizations, universities and other scientific and educational institutes. The creation of the “Northwest Regional Innovation Center” is another step towards improvement of the business-science partnership, for the benefit of the regional economy. From its foundation, the association has set itself the goal of building and developing a modern research and innovation infrastructure. This will help towards the acceleration of the economic and social development of the area. The Innovation Center will manage projects involving the implementation of industrial scientific researches and experimental development for promotion of the innovations.

Albena Georgieva, the Regional Governor of the Vidin region, has established the Regional council for the implementation of the policy on the rights of persons with disabilities of the Vidin region. The Council was established on the 29 Novemebr 2019, with Order №RD09/155 from the same date. The first meeting of the Council, was held on the 9 December 2019. The first decision of the Council was the adoption of the Statute, by which, the council will function. The aim of the Regional Council for the implementation of the policy on the rights of persons with disabilities of Vidin region is to create equal opportunities and rights for the people with disabilities and to ensure, that they lead a complete and full way of life.

Main Institutions for Lifelong Learning Policies

Schools in the Region

Most of the primary schools and vocational high schools in Vidin are working under the EU program “Erasmus +” for support of education, training, youth and sport in Europe. List of the schools and information about the projects under implementation:

Examples of projects in the region

National Coordinators for the Implementation of the European Agenda for Adult Learning, 2017 – 2019

The goal of the project was to provide effective coordinated interaction of all interested parties in the elaboration and carrying out policies for enhancing participation of the population in lifelong learning activities and for common progress in the adult learning sector. The specific objectives were:

  • Providing permanent and effective mechanism for coordinated interaction of all interested parties in the adult learning sector on a national, district and local level.
  • Progress assessment in the implementation of the national goals for development of the adult learning

The project targeted: the members of the National coordination group for lifelong learning – the national entities participating in the planning, organization, assessment and promotion of adult education and training;                the district coordinators for lifelong learning and members of the district coordination groups for lifelong learning – the district entities participating in the planning, organization, assessment and promotion of adult education and training; employers’ organizations and trade unions on a national and district level, individual employers; district and local administrations; the employment services on a district level; statistical offices on a district level;               the regional administrations of education; adult education and training institutions – Vocational training centers, Vocational Secondary Schools, General evening schools, prison’s schools, centres for migrants, career development centres  and others; cultural institutions – libraries, museums and “chitalishta” (community centres); civil society organizations, which implement non-formal adult education activities, or are working for the integration of migrants and Roma, incl. voluntary activities; adult learners over 16 years of age; unemployed and employed persons.

More information is available here

Survey of Employers Labour needs, yearly

Each year a survey is conducted at a national level by regions by the Employment Agency and the Employment Commissions of the Regional Development Councils. The goals of the survey are: Revealing employers’ workforce needs and adequately responding to the needs of the labor market; Obtaining real and concrete information about the scope, professions, competencies, knowledge and skills of the required cadres. It creates a basis for planning the state plan for admission to secondary education and trainings for qualification and retraining at the Labor Office. More information is available here.

The Regional Council of Centre Val de Loire is a member of EARLALL and is part of the Working Groups: Mobility, Ageing Population and Lifelong Guidance, Youth Policies and Skills and Labour Market.

About Centre Val de Loire

Centre Val de Loire is located in Western Central France. It covers 40 000 km². The region has 2.6 million inhabitants, with an aging population (older than the national average – ranked 6th). The unemployment rate is 6.9%. 49% of the inhabitants live in rural areas, 30% of the population have low level of qualifications, 18.1% of young people are considered as a NEETs.

Main economic activities of the region:  agriculture, industry and service providing

Centre Val de Loire and Lifelong Learning

The Centre Val de Loire’s Vocational Training Policy Department, along with the head of the Guidance Policy department are responsible for lifelong learning in the region. The main priorities of the region in lifelong learning are:

  • Develop an educational and experiential guidance approach
  • Guarantee high quality of professional practices and respect for the public service value system (equality and simplicity of access for all, neutrality, objectivity and respect of people, quality of the services provided to users)
  • Place their events and actions within the framework of the European Pillar Social Rights

Examples of initiatives

DEFI, 2019 – present

The DEFI program was set up as professional sectors are facing a lack of people to recruit. NEETS and unemployed people are looking for a job. The program constructs trainings matching with the enterprise’s needs. The program targets unemployed people and involved VET organisations and companies. Thanks to the project, 2600 people have been trained and recruited in sustainable jobs. See more here.

1 Computer for My Training, 2022 – present

The program was started as 16% of the people involved in VET couldn’t get an internet connection and 3% of them don’t have a computer. The project targets therefore unemployed people entering into VET and involved VET organisations and centres for e-learning. The project works on the e-learning development of these people and has provided 1000 pieces of equipment for 1500 beneficiaries in 2022. More information is available here

Jobs on the stage, 2023 – present

The project aims to inform the wider public, college students, high school students, apprentices, teachers, unemployed people, NEETs about professions by experiencing them. It involves comedians helping the public to experience this setting and share their feedback. Two main sectors are selected: Industry and care. All of Centre Val De Loire’s partners in the field of education, guidance and economics are involved. More information is available here.