The Erasmus+ KA2 VET (Vocational Education and Training) in Urban Centres project is coming to an end, and all the partners involved in it presented in Brussels the results and learning outcomes of their experience as an international partnership. The Norway House in the heart of the European quartier hosted the last partner meeting and the multiplier event “VET in Urban Centres | Brussels Breakfast” on 11 and 12 February 2020, respectively. The latter allowed the participation of different stakeholder representatives to show their views on the project outcomes and provide new insights for the future of multi-stakeholder involvement in urban planning with a strong commitment from the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.
Ms. Merete Mikkelsen (Director of the West Norway Office), welcomed all invited participants and speakers and remarked the importance of the visibility of activities at local level in the European arena. Her welcome remarks were followed by the introduction of project outputs by Mr. Per Nordmark (Project Coordinator from Vestland County Council): a) a local cooperation model for the development of sustainable of urban centres involving the VET sector; and b) an educational VET programme for the development of urban centres.
Afterwards, representatives from all participating regions in the project introduced the impact that “VET in Urban Centres” had had in their local communities: Ms. Cinta Arasa and Ms. Sara Casas (Barcelona Activa), Ms. Nataša Kristan Primšar (Šolski center Kranj), Ms. Mariarita Trampetti (E. Orfini VET school in Foligno, Umbria) and Ms. Vivian Kårbø (Nordhordland Næringslag). They offered different visions from the local public employment services to the VET centres, tackling also the role of companies.
A panel of experts followed integrating the vision of the European institutions (European Commission and European Economic and Social Committee) and research bodies (Université Gustave Eiffel and Diku).
Mr. João Santos (Senior Expert, European Commission, Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion) presented the Centres of Vocational Excellence initiative and its connection to building skills ecosystems. Then, Mr. Norbert Schöbel (Team Leader for Policy in Action: VET and Adult learning Initiatives, European Commission, Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion) underlined the role of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA), which “unites governments and key stakeholders with the aim of strengthening the quality, supply and overall image of apprenticeships across Europe” (source: European Commission) and the recent initiative of building a cities’ network within it. On another note, Ms. Tatjana Babrauskienė (Workers’ Group, European Economic and Social Committee) introduced the opinion “Sustainable funding for lifelong learning and development of skills, in the context of a shortage of skilled labour”, which is being elaborated at the request of the Croatian Presidency of the Council.
From the universities’ side, Mr. Antoine Frémont (Deputy Vice-president for Research, Université Gustave Eiffel) presented the European Urban Institute, an new institution that seeks to connect urban transformations with local realities and metropolitan regions. Lastly, Ms. Ragnhild Solvi Berg (Senior Adviser at Diku – Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education) highlighted the role of international cooperation in local development, and introduced two success stories of projects led by Norwegian institutions: an exchange between four vocational schools and the VOLCANO project for the integration of third-country nationals.
The day after (13 February), Mr. Per Nordmark, project coordinator, moderated a panel during the EAfA Get Together! event hosted by the European Commission in Brussels, during which he also had the chance to introduce the project to a variety of stakeholders, including companies, VET providers, regional and local authorities, and apprentice organisations.
Photos courtesy of West Norway Office.