NOT TO MISS: Online information session on the 2021 Erasmus+ call on Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVE)

The EU economy’s outlook for the forthcoming period looks brighter than ever before. After the improving of the health situation and the easing of virus containment measures, EU economies are back in motion with a GDP growth forecast to be put at 4.8% for 2021 and 4.5% for 2022 in both the EU and the euro area. At the same time, Next Generation EU, the new Recovery Plan for Europe, has been deployed, activating all productive drivers throughout the European Economies, promising and even brighter future.

The question that arises is whether – under these conditions – the European economy has those characteristics that are required to maintain its growth momentum in the coming years. And most importantly, how the increase of EU’s GDP can be transformed also to prosperity for our societies, in an inclusive way.

At this point, the role of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in the post-covid environment is crucial.

A new demand for skilled employees has become eminent, although recent studies (CEDEFOP, OECD) have underlined significant skills gaps, making it difficult to cover new employment opportunities that are created.  At a time when market representatives state that they are unable to find employees who meet their needs, there is a persistent refusal of the latest to acquire skills and competences that are in high demand. VET image is still low and EU’s youngest generation, reproducing stereotypical perceptions of the past, chooses higher education, over VET which offers immediate employment prospects. This casts doubts on the ability of Europe’s society to actively gain from the unique development opportunity that is presented, improving its position through better, of higher quality, sustainable jobs.

VET can support the momentum of the European economy, offering modern education, through lifelong learning, and by equipping employees with knowledge and skills that are in great demand. For this purpose, new policies should be designed to support a fair recovery. The development of the so much needed, green, and digital skills has become an eminent demand, while transversal skills have become of the outmost importance.

Hence, as CEDEFOP stated: “comprehensive and coordinated policy measures to drive adult participation in skills development should be designed both at a European and National Level offering upskilling pathways for all ages and EQF levels”. All these must be achieved in an environment which is characterised by radically changing skill demands and technological advancements in all sectors.

To this end, during the Conference we are going to: i) Focus on policies and measures that will help us to facilitate the transition to this new environment; ii) Discuss on ways that are going to make skills anticipation more “intelligent”; iii) Demonstrate the importance of the increased business-vet collaboration and the establishment of Knowledge Triangles, fostering innovation and increasing the image of VET at a local and regional level. Finally, we going to analyze VET internationalization strategies and present best practices in the validation of prior knowledge, in an attempt to inspire VET Leaders and practitioners to become part of a new evolving environment.