European Vocational Skills Week: ‘VET for Green and Digital Transitions’

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The European Vocational Skills Week 2020 will take place digitally across the European Union from 9 to 13 November 2020. It is organised by the European Commission in partnership with the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, as part of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU. This fifth edition encourages people of all ages to discover their talent and develop their skills in line with labour market needs through vocational education and training (VET), an important sector for economic and social recovery in the COVID-19 context.

The focus of the 2020 edition will be on higher VET (post-upper secondary school level) and VET skills for green and digital transitions. Promoting digital learning platforms, establishing a culture of lifelong and continuous education and implementing sustainable VET structures are key issues for the Commission and the German Presidency.

Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, said: “Labour markets need creative brains, and skilled hands to master the digital and green transitions. What Vocational Education and Training (VET) does is train talents. Talents that can make a career for themselves in our societies and contribute to our economies. It has never been more important for VET providers, companies, trade unions, governments and other partners to deliver relevant skills for lifelong learning. I am convinced that VET can play a crucial role in the recovery.”

“Excellent vocational education and training plays a significant role in both Germany and Europe in terms of continuing to ensure our prosperity in the future,” highlights Anja Karliczek, German Federal Minister of Education and Research. “We want to strengthen VET cooperation in Europe, learn from one another and make VET fit for the future. We took the first steps towards achieving this goal at the Informal Meeting of Education Ministers in Osnabrück together with the EU member states, the European Commission and European social partners. I am delighted that we are opening the European Vocational Skills Week today. This year’s event has been organized by the European Commission in cooperation with my ministry, the German Federal Education Ministry. We want to make the most of this opportunity to shine a spotlight on the benefits of vocational education and training in Europe.”

As part of the European Vocational Skills Week 2020, local, regional and national organisations from the EU and beyond are hosting virtual events and activities, emphasising the benefits of VET and its crucial role in lifelong learning. They are providing young learners with the initial skills they need for a fulfilling career and creating the means for adults to build on existing skills (upskill) and develop new skills (reskill) throughout their lives. Over 781 associated events and activities have already been registered in 38 countries, reaching more than 1.6 million people.

European Vocational Skills Week Ambassadors and Awards for VET Excellence 2020

This year, 28 Ambassadors representing 25 countries are supporting the European Vocational Skills Week campaign by spreading the word about vocational skills. Nominated by the European Commission, they are inspiring examples of the benefits of VET. Their remarkable achievements demonstrate the advantages VET can offer not only to young people but to anyone considering new learning opportunities.

Background

What is the European Vocational Skills Week?

The European Vocational Skills Week presents an annual week of activities and events during which local, regional or national organisations showcase the very best of vocational education and training (VET)[1] – a sector capable of empowering all people with the skills they need for a fulfilling personal and professional life. It is accompanied by a several months-long communication campaign to promote local outreach.

The initiative was launched in 2016 by the European Commission, in the context of the New Skills Agenda for Europe and has since become a platform for VET stakeholders all around Europe and beyond to exchange ideas and good practice. The overall objectives of the Week are to showcase the many ways VET can help young people and adults to ‘discover their talent’ and prepare today for Europe’s economy of the future; and to demonstrate to employers the enormous benefits of investing in human resources by supporting the initial training of young people, as well as the upskilling and reskilling of adults.

How does the EU promote VET?

The Commission is actively promoting vocational education and training as part of its work to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights, and specifically the right to education, training and lifelong learning. On 1 July 2020, the Commission proposed a Council Recommendation on vocational education and training, to make VET more modern, attractive, flexible and fit for the digital age and the green transition. This proposal is embedded in other Commission initiatives, such as the European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience and the Communication on Youth Employment Support – A Bridge to Jobs for the next generation.

The European Commission also supports vocational education and training through its funds. Beyond EU funds for the 2021-2027 period such as the European Social Fund Plus and Erasmus, up- and reskilling is a flagship investment area of the Recovery and Resilience Facility, powered by €672.5 billion in grants and loans.

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