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:
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:
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:
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).
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:
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.
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.
Catalonia is an autonomous community in Spain, on the northeastern corner of the Iberian Paeninsula, 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.
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.
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.
The Department of Education of Catalonia also participates in several international projects in order to improve students’ learning. Some examples are COKLEECO, KeyMOB, NewMetro, PyireneFP, RE-FRAME, TransferInn, VETMO4TL, BOOST to it! VET’s CLIL and More4Europe. Some projects are intended, for instance, to improve the relationship between companies and vocational educational training institutions so students have more opportunities to attend their internships abroad. Others, instead, are designed to boost innovation in both companies and vocational training institutions from all regions that participate in the project, so vocational training institutions can take advantage of those skills and teach their students properly.
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 https://www.educastur.es/-/epa-competencias-clave.
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.
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.
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.
The general goal of the project: Development of innovative employment initiatives in line with the Human Resources Development Strategy of Varaždin County 2016 – 2020
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.
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:
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.
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 Economics, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. and Marineholmen innovation district, NORCE and Western Norway Research Institute.
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 leads several EU-funded projects. Some of the recent and ongoing are (2020):
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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.
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: