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Month: December 2019

Who is afraid of the big bad…? – knowledge is the best way to understanding

I came across a very interesting publication on Twitter: a book on Muslim mothers and their role in their children’s schooling by Suma Din. With inclusion in the focus of our work, it immediately caught my attention. Inclusion starts with understanding the other as well as yourself, and Suma Din, being a Muslim mother and researcher at the same time, decided to offer a key to the former. Working on the later is up to you, but building bridges is crucial and one of the pillars in a growing number of countries that are not Muslim majority is to learn about and take inclusion measures towards Muslim students and their families. Mrs. Din’s work is to burst myths, show differences within a group that is far from being homogenous and helps anybody working on inclusion to understand basic do’s and don’ts. Why mothers? It is one of the do’s: do understand that in certain cultures mothers will play a more dominant role in bringing up their children.

One of the most uncomfortable, but often reoccurring situation I find myself in is sitting in a room with 20-30-100 good-willed people talking about the importance of inclusion, all of us white Europeans. In some cases, the next step is starting to talk about Christmas preparations that even I, being Jewish, feel uncomfortable about. Suma Din brought the voices of over 50 Muslim mothers to the table so that we really understand what we are talking about. It is very important that these mothers come from different backgrounds socially, have different levels of education and different nationalities, some of them are new arrivals, some were born in the country they are mothers in. This is an important element as it also supports understanding. Being a Muslim mother doesn’t determine more than not being one. As it is the case with any other religious backgrounds, Muslim mothers have different levels of devotion to religion, thus different levels of religious requirements towards their children and the school they attend.

What more this book helps you understand are the minimum and ideal as well as what can be considered too strict. In times when Muslims are often demonised by media and populist politicians, it helps to separate myths from reality, and probably can also help you to start separating fact from fiction in other areas of life, too. I’ve been to Catholic schools where they so naturally introduced a halal area in the canteen for their Muslim students that you were wondering why it is a problem for any other such or state school. Mrs. Din’s book gives you great ideas how to approach mothers if you haven’t yet found the solution for.

The book is set in the context of the United Kingdom, a country with a long experience and some major hiccups in the inclusion of Muslim students. On the one hand they are several steps forward as compared to a lot of other countries and thus positive examples in maternal stories can be an inspiration to many. On the other hand, the UK is a very culturally conservative, highly traditional country, thus you can also see that the journey is far from over. Reading the news also tells us that working on it is imperative. While the pressure to integrate rather than being included was larger in some other countries, especially France and Belgium, and it resulted in explosions, the situation in the UK is not rosy either. Mrs. Din uses a scientific approach and uses the opportunity of speaking to 53 mothers having over 150 children in total as a research opportunity, but she does it in a way that makes the book really interesting and easy-to-read for any professional or parent leaders. I can only recommend it if you have a single Muslim student in your school.

A brand new study by Gill Crozier also done in the UK shows that minority parents, especially minority mothers who are very much engaged in their children’s learning and would like to also be engaged or at least involved at school, too, often feel they are treated as if they were children and they are also often considered troublesome or too pushy. This book can help you to reconsider.

Eszter Salamon

The book:

Muslim Mothers and their Children’s Schooling by Suma Din

Published by Trentham Books, 2017

Read an excerpt in the ParentHelp Library here:

Summit Report

Three exciting days of plenary presentations, participatory workshops, brainstorming and informal networking – this was our #ParentsFirst Parent Summit in Vienna, Austria. Participants came from various parts of the world: from as far as Australia and as near as Hungary and Vienna itself. Participation, engagement, empowerment, scaffolding, equity and inclusion, active citizenship in the digital age, education, rights and duties were on the agenda, and the 3 days were barely enough to touch upon these topics, all burning issues for parents and organisations working with and for parents. In this report we are trying to capture the highlights of the Summit and are also sharing links to presentations (both plenary and workshop) as well as plenary video recordings.

DAY 1 – 03.11.2019

Opening Session

The opening plenary session took place at the inspiring physical space of the University of Vienna. The event was officially opened by Karoline Iber, Director of the Children’s University of Vienna, our co-host and the Chair of our Supervisory Board, Brigitte Haider. Karoline highlighted that parental engagement is a relatively new, but important focus area for them as a non-formal education provider, and Brigitte recalled the journey of Parents International since its establishment in 2016 and especially since we became a legal entity in February 2018. Karoline used a very nice visual example of how the two different perspectives of parents and professionals in education can create a totally new framework for working for the child’s best interest.

Janet Goodall: Parental Engagement – the way to quality education

The first keynote of the day was by the Chair of our Advisory Board, Janet Goodall EdD. Being one of the most important voices of parental engagement, she set the stage for the discussions by highlighting the importance of breaking the cycle of poverty – a phenomenon leading to lower performance through lower expectations -, the possible negative effects of ‘civil-servicitis’ (there is an issue we should do something about it, so let’s do it, without taking local needs and context into account), the benefits of seeing parents as a resource, ones on the supply rather than the demand side and the dangers of homogenising certain target groups. She urged for stopping a discourse on achievement gap, and rather focus on educational debt. As school enrolment increases, the gap in outcomes is growing, and it is a result of wrong school practices, not parents. She also emphasised how important it is that parents realise that while they do have a right and duty to influence what happens at school, it is not their job as educators to support schooling (17-25% of children’s lives), but be engaged in the learning of their children in the other 75-83%. She called for schools to stop having school improvement plans and to rather have learning improvement plans, not only focusing on curricula. She also called parents of teenagers to give the right support to their children: not in coursework and homework, but be there for moral support, interest in learning and guidance
find her presentation is here

Sonia Livingstone: Parenting in the Digital Age

Professor Sonia Livingstone, an authority on child rights and parenting in the digital age talked about anxieties, questions, answers and solutions parents have in relation to digitalisation. She emphasised that the major difficulty comes from the fact all parents look back at their own childhood for solutions, but the ‘avalanche of technology’ is something they cannot find examples to follow for. She also highlighted the impact of cultural differences on parenting practices, digital and traditional alike. A large body of research evidence, mostly qualitative was shared on digital technology use, and it shows that the picture is far brighter than the media likes to draw. Digital access and devices are often a primary means of learning even in low income families, and it is also a means of learning to share (the device), responsibility, negotiating, respect and values. She burst the myth of the no-device policy of Silicon Valley parents and criticised restrictive approaches, eg. the new French ban on phones. She also recalled that digital technology might be the only means to maintain family relations. The main discussion point she raised was who is to support the parent who already invested, sometimes over their possibilities, in technology to really understand what it is for. Simple, generalised messages are not a good solution, as they miss the complexity of family realities.

Miquel Essomba Gelabert: The role of municipalities in engaging parents

Professor Miquel Angel Essomba from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, former Education Chancellor of the City of Barcelona talked about the role of municipalities in engaging parents. He started with analysing why organisations of parents are varied even within one regulatory framework. He emphasised the importance of training parent leaders as well as professionals, school staff, community leaders in order to achieve our goals. He presented three inspiring practices on the basis of the fact that not all parents will be equally engaged, so he advises municipalities to focus on the 20% that has the potential to become leaders. His first inspiring practice was a public-private partnership project that focuses on positive parenting, communication, learning at home nd participation. It is a 10-step programme that is self-sustaining after initial funding. The second example, the Baobab project mainly focuses on non-formal and informal setting and aims at social inclusion, while the third one is a long-established network of municipalities, Educating Cities that collaborate to leverage urban life opportunities and implement an urban design that helps overcome urban life barriers.
find his presentation here

Renate Heinisch: Intergenerational learning

Renate Heinisch, Member of the European Economic and Social Forum gave a passionate keynote on intergenerational learning, the role and importance of older family members, especially grandparents and the need to not focus on learning for a long life when designing lifelong learning opportunities. She highlighted how the importance of carers will increase in the near future. She introduced her work on creating intergenerational learning platforms and called our hosts to introduce an elderly people’s university parallel with the children’s university.
find her presentation here

DAY 2 – 04.11.2019

Sonia Livingstone: Parenting in the Digital Age

Sonia Livingstone moderated a very interesting discussion the possibilities of getting the parents voice heard in digital age discourse where it is often missing while the children’s voice is already present. Participants also discussed possibilities of bringing the laughter of children back to public places as a norm again and less focus on technology itself in the discourse.
You can find more information on her blog.

Fred Verboon: The co-creation method – an introduction to the NEMESIS project

Fred Verboon, director of the European School Heads Association introduced the NEMESIS project. NEMESIS stands for “Novel Educational Model Enabling Social Innovation Skills” and it is a European project bringing together education and social innovation. NEMESIS represents a new approach towards the attainment of social innovation skills by combining innovative learning models, open technologies, and participatory relations and processes. The objective is to foster entrepreneurial mindsets and creative thinking among primary and secondary students, allowing them to become the social innovators of tomorrow, with the close cooperation between pupils, school, parents and the community. At the workshop, participants could try the so called O.P.E.R.A. method, a collective decision making process, while looking for a solution for the problem of social exclusion in schools. We agreed at the end of the session, that systemic change is necessary as any other solution is temporary only.

You can find the full ppt here.

Edit Schlaffer: Mother School: Parenting for Peace

The ‘MotherSchools: Parenting for Peace’ are an empowerment program for women all over the world to stabilize society in a fragile world, to prevent their children from radicalism and to create safe spaces for women. Women without Borders started a platform for mothers in 2000 to support the role of mothers in peace building. The MotherSchools model strategically positions and empowers mothers as natural change-makers in their families, neighbourhoods, and communities and strengthens resilience from the bottom up in at-risk communities. Affected and concerned mothers participating in the program find a trusted space to build up competence (conceptual awareness, knowledge, skills, tools) and confidence (empowerment, self-confidence, trust) and to translate their learnings into action in their families and communities.

Since 2010 more than 3,000 mothers have graduated from the MotherSchools program across 12 countries.

More details see here.

Renate Heinisch: Intergenerational Learning

Regarding the fact that a lot of grandparents support parents in educating and upbringing their grandchildren grandparents have to be taken in the focus. Considering peace, culture, education and many other important issues of everyday live these topics need to be discussed and re-thought including all generations as well as decisions have to been made together. Actual examples are e.g. “Fridays for Future”, “Parents for Future” and “Grandparents for Future” movements.
An important approach is considering learning with & learning from & learning about others.
Regarding grandparents you need to establish/work on a positive image of age.
But we are facing a big challenge: Elderly are often deciding on/voting for the future. How to make them aware that they decide on something they probably will not experience themselves?
More details see here.

Laura Gutierrez: Basic financial literacy

In this workshop the first outcome of our #BasicSkills project, the basic financial literacy skills, competences and concepts were presented jointly with our main collaborator WSBI-ESBI, the global organisation of financial providers. The a sometimes heated debate was focusing on the role of different players, especially school, policy makers, parents and banks in financial education, both for children and adults, and the need for education to go hand-in-hand with ethical company behaviour and consumer protection. A direct link was made between financial literacy and well-being as well as agency. The lack of accessible, nationwide financial education programs was a problem mentioned by all of the participants, regardless of their origin country. Dr. Wilhelm Krätschmer explained us the situation in Austria, that the initiative to teach financial education came from the banking industry, and they created the ERSTE Financial Life Park (FLIP), an interactive financial education facility in Vienna. The goal is now to create more learning spaces, also outside the capital, therefore they just recently purchased a bus that goes around Austria, teaching children about finance. The participants praised the idea, but criticised the fact, that parents are not yet actively engaged in this program, they are simply used as childminders.

Our document on basic financial skills, produced together with WSBI-ESBG, is available here

Miquel Essomba Gelabert: Municipalities role on parental engagement

In a hands-on workshop with Miquel Angel Essomba an interesting initiative was tested and discussed. Participants tried and also gave ideas for alternatives for some activities in a Spanish parent training programme, Programa Social para el Apoyo Familiar al Exito Educativo aiming at better learning outcomes by parental engagement.

Eefje Cottenier – Judit Regős: Alternative approaches to childcare for families – Families Share and House of Parents

Eefje Cottenier and Judit Regős are both social entrepreneurs who managed to set up alternative peer support projects in Belgium and Hungary.
Parents’ House has become a model and methodology for integrative Family centers (4) in Hungary. Each centre offering different services, they all are an open physical space where parents can meet each other and empower each other offering the network, building community for parents and their children. Judit explained how Parents’ House got there and how its model is possibly expanding in Ghana and Morocco. She explained the challenges and the possibilities gathering parents and letting activities grow from the communities. See her full presentation here.
For more info contact @[email protected]
Eefje explained how parents in community’s build trust and out of that trust comes a collaborative after school child care system. These groups of parents operate in schools after school hours and in community houses, even at workplaces. The impact on parents and children is very diverse. Gender equality, work life balance, family resilience, cohesion… In the European Horizon 2020 CAPSSI project Families Share software is build, methodology is captured and we are ready to help you start up your own communities. You can try the (MVP) application and see the presentation here. This model can also help schools involve parents, but most of all the impact on young children being at school within a family setting helps children feel at home in school. It takes a village to raise a child. A very effective method and support system! For more information contact [email protected]
Find the presentation here.

Luca László: Mentoring for parents and teachers – engaging disadvantaged parents

Ms. Luca Laszlo, project manager of Parents International introduced the Parent´r´us project to the workshop participants. Parent’r’us main aim is to support teachers increasing parents engagement in children’s academic achievement and well-being at school by extending their competences throughout an innovative mentoring model approach integrated in a holistic approach. At the session participants could try out different activities, that allow and foster equal participation, communication and cooperation between possibly very diverse groups, using individual, pair, group exercises and role play, that we intend to carry out with the project target group to show how parents, teachers, students and professional staff can work together. The workshop participants then shared other ideas that help the engagement of disadvantaged parents in their children’s learning, such as the community building power of food, and cultural activities, where disadvantaged parents can show their strengths and thus feel empowered, or cases where the school organised after hours child care, so the parents could bond with each other and the school staff.

Eszter Salamon – Christian Gary: STE(A)Ming up education- collaboration between formal and non-formal education providers

The workshop was strongly linked with our now project, coordinated by the Children’s University of Vienna, Phereclos. After a short introduction of the basics, especially an open schooling approach and science capital, participants discussed how STE(A)M education works in their own contexts with special focus on the role of non-formal education providers and interinstitutional collaborations. In the second half of the workshop they designed their own initial models for collaboration for STE(A)M learning improvement.
find the presentation here

Barbara Schuster: Kinderhände – inclusion with hands

Based on her own history Barbara Schuster, a deafmute mother, established this NGO in Austria. If you are not able to communicate with your environment, you cannot make any informed decision. It is important that deaf or other people with hearing problems have both languages as early as possible. Therefore, their trainings start with children from 6 months to 15 years. Presenting deaf persons as role models provides more self-esteem for handicapped people.
This organisation offers bilingual trainings for families and other pedagogues. There are also special trainings for deaf parents with hearing children.
They developed special training materials. They also established a bilingual children’s choir.
The participants of the workshop could practice some basics in sign language like yes, no, thank you, hello, good-bye, spelling their names etc.
Although Austria has ratified the UN CRPD Kinderhände is the only organisation in Austria offering these courses to families. Regarding restricted financial funding not every family needing such support has barrier-free access.

More details see here.

DAY 3 – 05.11.2019

Janet Goodall: Parental engagement for better education

Janet Goodall, assistant professor at Swansea University and well-known researcher of parental engagement had a workshop, where participants could reflect on their own setting, celebrate their successes in parental engagement, express their wishes, identify the barriers and help each other find possible solutions to overcome our obstacles.
The research and especially her latest book can be a great inspiration for those struggling with parental engagement.

Bruria Schaedel: Conflicting cultures engaging together – experiences of success with Jewish and Arab parents in Israel

In a very interesting workshop, Bruria Schaedel from the University of Haifa presented her research on involvement of Jewish and Arab parents. She gave a historical and cultural overview of the topic in Israel and provoked an interesting debate in the audience when she showed some assumptions, based on stereotypes are not proven by research. Participants had the opportunity to discuss their own experiences in different countries on cultural determinants of school parental involvement as well as experiences with different school types. Some worries were raised over child rights issues in religious schools in Israel and elsewhere.

find her presentation here and the workshop exercises here
find some of here research in our library here and here

Ursula Mauric: Global citizenship education and the role of parents in it

Global Citizenship Education is part of the SDG no.4. This SDG aims to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and to promote lifelong learning, but it is only referring to formal education! Another critical aspect in this respect is the question who is heard and why this happens. E.g. the world bank has a strong voice, but parents and everybody else included in the leisure time of children are totally missing in this framework!
Other critical questions raised in this workshop were:
· What is meant by sustainable development?
· What is meant by successful economic development?
· What is meant by inclusive and quality education for all?
· What is meant by good life for all?
More information on SDG 4 here

International Youth White Paper on global Citizenship, 2017
Details on the HEADSUP reflection methodology see here

find her presentation here

Ton Duif: Towards a common understanding of basic entrepreneurship education

Our Financial Director, Ton Duif moderated a workshop that was related to both our #BasicSkills initiative and a new project we are about to kick-off, ParENTrepreneurs. In this workshop participants had the opportunity to think about roles and skills in the field while the example of Star Schools from the Netherlands was used for inspiration. The starting point was to keep natural entrepreneurship of young children alive with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurial spirit rather than the often-assumed company-establisher picture. An open schooling approach was also mentioned there, especially the importance of distributed leadership and relations to local entrepreneurs.
find his presentation here

Brigitte Haider: Parents training teachers for migrant inclusion

In this workshop participants were invited to learn more about the Open School Doors Project Parents International was partnering. Participants reflected on their own preconceptions and prejudices on migrants. They were actively searching where the “welcome culture” is already present, but perhaps not really visible in their environments.
They were reflecting why it is important to include migrant students, parents and teachers as well as other supporting staff in their thinking and were exchanging their experiences.
They were discussing what has already been started and/or what urgently needs to be changed/developed in their schools referring to the whole school approach including all important stakeholders.

More details on the OSD project see here

Judit Horgas: Future Memory – supporting future success of disadvantaged children

Judit Horgas, editor in chief of the Hungarian Dragonfly magazine, and leader of the Future Memory project introduced the participants to their efforts in giving a brighter future for disadvantaged, Roma teenage girls, who are destined to live a life with many difficulties. At the workshop the causes and effects of trauma were explored and explained, building on neuroscientific research in the Future Memory program trainers work together with the children, their family, the school and the professionals around the children. Parents International is supporting the project with our experience of engaging disadvantaged families.

Bert-Jan Kolmer: Dichotomy in education or equal chances?

In this highly critical workshop the case of Dutch education, one of the best in the world, was discussed for inspiration. Bert-Jan Kollmer, Director of Stitching OVO, a group of Dutch primary and secondary schools, our future Financial Director used a report from the education inspectorate to highlight weaknesses they still need to overcome. A kind of loop was created as their data clearly shows a vicious circle of low expectations and subsequent lower achievements as it was emphasised in the first keynote session of the Summit.

find his presentation here

Hermino Correa: Supporting parents of disabled children – a successful training programme

Presentation of the ELPIDA project (empowering parents of children with intellectual disability in order to better support the needs of their children) purposes and objectives, the methodology used and outputs, followed by discussion, reflection and clarification of doubts. In view of the possibility of a second phase of this project, some issues were raised to participants’ debate.

Closing Session

A fishbowl session was organised to harvest the outcomes of the 3 days, listening to keynote speeches and participating at numerous workshops. All participants had the opportunity to take and active role. The topics of the discussion were the most important things to take into account in working with parents, the most important things to avoid and wishes for the future. The spirit of the session was that of hope, motivation, co-creation and participation, always taking the child’s perspective into account, too.

DAY 4 – 06.11.2019

We held our first Members’ Assembly meeting with members and official partners present and very active in evaluating the work done since the legal registration and giving guidance for the coming 2 years.

European Alliance for Apprenticeship – 4th Regional Seminar for Candidate Countries

“Engagement of Small and Medium Enterprises in Work-based Learning”

Skopje, 25 and 26 September 2019

The main purpose of this Seminar was to enable learning and networking among Candidate Countries and EAfA members: Governments, individual employers and employers’ associations, chambers and VET providers. The thematic focus of the seminar was laid on Engagement of Small and Medium Enterprises in Work Based Learning. Type 1 apprenticeship: “Apprenticeship for vocational qualifications and diplomas, upper secondary education diplomas and high technical specialization certificates”.

SMEs are the “backbone of Europe’s economy”, representing 99% of all businesses in the EU. Of these, 93% are micro-enterprises with fewer than 10 employees. SMEs create around 85% of new jobs and provide two-thirds of the total private sector employment in the EU between 2002 and 2010. They are well networked at local level and are key providers of apprenticeships and work-based learning placements. Encouraging the provision of apprenticeships in SMEs has many benefits: for example, in many cases, apprentices are hired by the company after the apprenticeship ends. This provides an important practice-based route into the labour market for young people or those who lack experience. For SMEs themselves, apprenticeships provide an effective means of overcoming the recruitment and retention challenges due to issues such as a scarcity of skilled labour and skills mismatches.  Nevertheless, despite these positive aspects, many SMEs do not have experience of welcoming and working with apprentices and can be wary of the financial and organisational commitments that this may entail.

SMEs have more limited financial resources than their larger counterparts. As the initial costs of taking on apprentices outweigh the benefits, SMEs need to be given a convincing rationale and support for investing in apprenticeships, based on ultimate return on investment. The European Commission notes that “many companies, in particular SMEs, are reluctant to take on apprentices because   they are not convinced that there is a net benefit for them. In addition, employers may find the return on their investment uncertain because apprentices may want to move to another company after their training”

SMEs also have more limited human resources, leading to challenges in relation to work scheduling and tutoring/mentoring. In most cases, the tutor/mentor is the entrepreneur themselves. There will also be a need to adapt the company’s work to the schedules of apprentices, given that apprentices need to be absent from work at certain times in order to attend theoretical training courses, and this can be difficult to absorb in the case of smaller companies. Further, SMEs often do not have a dedicated HR department, which means that it can be difficult to reconcile longe-term skills planning with more immediate and day-to-day operational business concerns. This can make it difficult to plan the input and contributions of apprentices to the organisation. Furthermore, this can be a serious challenge in terms of providing tutors/mentors in the company.  Additionally, a lack of expert capacity in SMEs in comparison to larger companies also means that it can be difficult to get to grips with and keep up with the rules and regulations surrounding VET and apprenticeships.

Finally, the expectations of the future apprentice and the company must be matched as best as possible. This preparatory phase, very often managed by dedicated intermediary bodies such as skilled crafts chambers or chambers of commerce and industry, is of utmost important in order to ensure a successful apprenticeship period in SMEs and even more so in the case of very small enterprises.

Despite the challenges set out above, SMEs can often be more flexible, adaptable and innovative than their larger counterparts and can be willing to engage in apprenticeship training if it is shaped according to their needs.

Accordingly, there are a range of ways in which SMEs can be helped and supported to achieve this such as:

Countering negative perceptions of VET

Reinforcing positive messages and promoting a training culture

Providing the right institutional support for SMEs

Establishing partnership

Encouraging and boosting mobility

Through the EAfA, SMEs have also access to many educational materials related to apprenticeships. The EAfA website, which has an online library of apprenticeship resources, Webinars and online training modules, can be a one-stop shop for companies that want to learn more about apprenticeships, how to implement them and improve the quality of their apprenticeship offer.

1th day of the seminar:

As usual, the seminar started with a welcome session and opening remarks by the Minister of Education and Science  from the Republic of North Macedonia Arber Ademi, the Head of Operations 2, European Union Delegation to Republic of North Macedonia Virve Vimpari and the President of the Economic Chamber of Republic of North Macedonia Branko Azeski.

“Perspectives from the Finish Presidency of the Council of the European Union” by Dari Turunen-Zwiger

Finish Presidency key principles:

Sustainable meeting arrangements

Transparency and active communications

Respect for principles of better regulation

Use and further development of digital tools in the Council Work


  • VET comprises initial and further training
  • VET has many target groups: young people, adults and people in working life who need upskilling or reskilling, unemployed
  • VET is available in institutions (contact, distance, multiform teaching) or as apprenticeship training
  • 146 VET providers
  • National level evaluations with no inspectorate

In Finland VET is not the second choice 42 % of basic school levers choose VET

What changed with the VET Reform?

A single act of Vet

Flexible application and admission system

Personal competence development plan

A single competence-based method of completing qualifications

Learning at workplace with training agreement or apprenticeship

Funding system encouraging effectiveness and outcome

Labour policy education as part of the VET system

A single licence to provide education and award qualifications

164 broad-based qualifications instead of 351

 Norbert Schöbel then updated EAfA news and informed of possible dates and locations of next year’s meetings:

February: EAfA stakeholder meeting: agenda set by EAfA members Brussels

May: Learners perspective Barcelona (tbc

September (tbc): EAfA ETF Regional Seminar for candidate countries incl. association with neighbouring countries Serbia

October (tbc): Role of the regions Committee of the Regions, Brussels, supported by German Presidency

November: Circular economy and sustainability Berlin, European Vocational Sills Week


Engagement of SME’s in WBL: expectations from the stakeholders

4 stakeholders briefly explained the VET education situation in their countries:

Matilda Naco, Executive Director, Albanian Tourism Association, Albania

Siniša Kojić, Director, Secondary vocational school Kragujevac, Serbia

Zoran Jovcevski, Advisor, Vocational and education Center “Goce Delcev”, North Macedonia

Ayfer Aydoğdu, Quality and Technical Training Specialist, Turktraktor, Turkey

Ksenija Djukanović, Senior Advisor, Chamber of Economy, Montenegro

Lack of qualified workers, lack of student interest, lack of communication between companies and schools, work-based learning, good projects, some companies are neither motivated nor able to promote VET training, Government business dialogue, innovation, flexibility, teacher’s training, public-private partnerships, resources needed, funding and holistic approach, were some of the subjects covered.

WBL in Republic of North Macedonia by Nazihtere Sulejmani and Lepa Trpchevska

429 mentors have been trained in companies where pupils attend practical classes, of which 400 are certified mentors

Instruments and criteria have been developed for: Recording and grading the preparedness of the students for WBL realization; Monitoring, grading and recording the WBL realization; Monitoring, grading and recording the WBL process;

Instruments and criteria have been developed for checking the practical competence of the candidates in the non-formal learning

Guidelines on Summer Internship (with support from the Education for Employment Project) have been developed

Schools meet companies (regional project supported by CulturContact)

Curricula with presence of practical training: 40% in three-year education and 50% in two-year vocational qualification;

Compulsory practical training with an employer: at least 1/3 of the total number of classes for the practical classes in the three years must be compulsory performed in real working processes in appropriate companies.

Programs autonomy: for 10% to 20% of the contents are left to the instructor to program himself/herself according to the needs of the surrounding.

Defined results from learning and grading criteria in curricula

In four-year of technical education, 27.820 students attend practical classes, of which 9.324 (33.53%) attend practical classes with an employer, under guidance of a mentor

Being “young” in North Macedonia

What do they want to learn at school? (Sample = 800 young people)

Something applicable/practical:  17%

Foreign languages:  16%

About life and work skills:   9%

Computer skills: 7%

Don’t know: 6%

Have no answer: 14%

Nothing:  15%

Other (vocational skills, sport, science, deepening knowledge and art)

Key findings in the area of education: (Cross-Sectoral Youth Assessment in Macedonia, USAID 2019)

The high levels of enrolment don’t match with the attendance and the attainments of students.

Underinvestment in education contributes to aging infrastructure, outdated materials, inadequate teacher training, supervision, and salaries.

Political appointment of school management, frequent turnover.

Perception that grades and university entrance can be bought.

Pedagogy and curricula mismatched with 21st century life and jobs

Social norms and education system elevate academics over vocational training.

Work-based learning is desired but is poorly managed.


Classroom-based life skills programming delivered by youth volunteers.

Regular mentoring and support program for academically struggling students.

Improving school based mental health services.

Possibility for students try out their ideas.

Greater and more active inclusion of students in teaching activities

Conclusion: We want to talk to adults and to peers and innovate. This means that we need each other in order to make changes

Site Visit – Group A: Auto transporting VET School – Boro Petrushevski

Business and education school with 81 teachers and 586 students in 42 classes. It’s a multicultural and ethnical institution with bilingual education in Macedonian and Albanian.

Have Peugeot as a social partner for 20 years, which has a workshop and a sales stand on the school premises. Within the School there is also an official Vehicle Inspection Centre and a Driving School, where students learn.

Learning English is free as well as a driving license for students who are old enough to have it.

Entrepreneurial spirit

Systematically regulated practical work

Good integration between companies and school through Memorandum

Contract, practical work and possibility for improvement of the skills of teachers

through training in the companies.

2nd day of the seminar:

Work-based learning in the economic reform agendas of the Candidate Countries


Support for people on the ground

Social dialogue

Tackle skills gap Reforms in different areas

Labour and social policies

Economic reform program in each country

Reform agenda

Improving the link between Education and Labour Market

Policy Guidance

Evaluation and impact assessment

Workshop: How to improve the engagement of SMEs in WBL?

ESB Networks in Ireland – Michael Fitzgerald technical training and development Manager




A very diverse discussion table with representatives from Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Ireland, Serbia and Turkey.

ESB Networks has been an educational partner since 1923. It employs 8,000 people and trains groups of 100 learners in a 4-part, three-part program. After 4 years an interview is made with each of the apprentices by the company HR and about 90% are chosen to stay in the company or its subsidiaries. Each year they receive about 7,000 applications for the 100 open positions.

After a lengthy discussion in which the pros and cons of the engagement of SMEs in WBL were listed, it was concluded that the need to create close collaboration between large companies and SME’s was one of the main points of the topic under discussion. Their experience, organization and financial capacity will certainly be a huge help to small and medium entrepreneurs. Motivation of small business owners, demonstration of the benefits that such learning can bring and support from various areas by local and national authorities were also mentioned.

Apprenticeships in the Candidate Countries

Each candidate country made a presentation of their work with the apprenticeships in WBL: supporting legislation, business school partnerships, key actions, funding, international dimension, future planning.

The seminar ended with the admission of new EAfA members and the closing session.


Skopje, 24 and 25 September 2019.


Hermínio Corrêa

Parents International


The 18th FEAD Network Meeting Highlights

The 18th FEAD Network meeting took place on7 and 8th November 2019 in Brussels and discussed issues related to “Monitoring and evaluation in FEAD”.

In order to ensure optimal performance and quality improvement, as well as accountability and learning within the programme, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of FEAD is essential. Monitoring generates evidence on the activities and outputs of an intervention over time in a continuous and systematic way, whereas evaluation involves a summative or formative evidence-based judgement of the extent to which an intervention is effective, efficient, relevant and coherent. A monitoring system helps to identify whether an intervention is being applied on the ground as expected, addresses potential implementation problems, and identifies whether further action is required to ensure that it can achieve the intended objectives. Evaluation goes beyond an assessment of what has happened and considers why something has occurred and, if possible, how much has changed.

In the process of monitoring and evaluating FEAD, Member States and the Commission should take appropriate steps and involve relevant stakeholders in assessing the performance of the programme. According to the FEAD regulation, there are FEAD-proportionate mandatory M&E requirements at an EU and Operational Programme-level (OP). Furthermore, there are different practices in the field that benefit from more tailored M&E approaches at a programme and project-level. These tailored M&E practices depend on the way in which M&E can be useful, e.g., in managing operations, knowing the end-recipients and the target groups better, evaluating the leveraging effect of FEAD funding (e.g., in terms of raising additional resources and the mobilisation of volunteers) or assessing the impact of accompanying measures for food recipients.

According to the 2014 FEAD Regulation, in order to monitor the progress of implementation of the OP, Member States are required to submit annual and final implementation reports to the Commission, including essential and up-to-date information for the OP programmes. Article 13 of the regulation stipulates the main requirements related to these reports, including the procedure and period of submission (by 30 June of each year). In addition, the same Article mentions that the content of the annual and final implementation reports including the list of common indicators, is laid down in a Delegated Act, EU No 1255/ 2014.

The logic intervention of OP I and OP II, as specified in the ‘Guidance Fiche Monitoring under FEAD’ provides guidance for this monitoring process. The guidance further explains the requirements set in the above Delegated Regulation. Regarding OP I, the quantity of food and/or basic material assistance distributed describes the output of the intervention; the result of OP I is the estimated number of most deprived persons who are supported through the programme. Regarding FEAD OP II, the support delivered, i.e. the number of most deprived persons suffering from social exclusion participating in OP II activities, describes the output. The result of the logic intervention is that the most deprived persons are experiencing improved social inclusion,


Overall, the monitoring of OP II is more demanding than OP I, as it requires a system to record data on individual participants, and Member States are required to set up a monitoring committee in order to monitor OP II. Bookmark not defined. Representatives of the relevant regional and local public authorities, as well as other relevant stakeholders, partake within the committee where the Commission takes an advisory role. The monitoring committee reviews the implementation of the programme and monitors the progress made towards achieving its specific objectives, using financial data, common and programme-specific indicators, and, if deemed relevant, the results of qualitative analyses.

In order to ensure the quality and design of each operational programme, Member States should have carried out ex-ante evaluations. Regarding OP I, Member States are required to carry out a structured survey of end recipients twice during the programming period (in 2017 and 2022). This survey aims to gain insight into socio-economic backgrounds, current and past situations and their satisfaction with FEAD assistance4 in order to help Member States adapt the programme to the needs of end beneficiaries.

At the EU level, the Commission was required to present a mid-term evaluation of the Fund to the European Parliament and to the Council this year. The mid-term evaluation of FEAD was published in March 2019, covering the period of 2014–2015. The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and added value of FEAD implementation.

The Meeting

As usual the meeting began with an overview of the day by the organization and the welcome by the European Commission which informed us that the negotiations had not progressed since our last meeting, the final allocation of funds has not been decided. Therefore, FEAD Network meetings are concluded. For the future new forms of intervention will be thought of. In the second half of 2020 all decisions will be made. So, this is the last FEAD Network meeting.

Introduction: The importance of monitoring and evaluation for FEAD accountability and learning

Jeannette Monier – Head of evaluation and impact assessment unit – DG Employment

Effectiveness – Efficiency – Relevance – Consistency – Added Value

Panel discussion: The challenges of monitoring and evaluating FEAD-funded actions

Jan Vranken – University of Antwerp- Belgium

The cycle of evaluation:

find it here                                                                                               

Elodie Charmat – Resto do Coeur – France

The Restos du Cœur have inscribed in their strategy the commitment to better understand the people welcomed to better meet their needs as well as to maintain a rigorous management at the service of social missions. Ambition is to do more, to go beyond the numbers, to be interested in people and their standard of living. Humanize the numbers.

900 000 people was welcomed during the Winter 2018-2019.

▪ 39% were children; 51% are under 26 years old.

▪ 50% were families with children, and a quarter were single-parent families.

▪ 42% were single people (often young people or elderly).

▪ 58% were women.

▪ 7% poor workers                                                   20% without any incomes

▪ 8% students                                                            90% live under the poverty line

▪ 30% without their own home


Case studies on monitoring and evaluating FEAD at Operational Programme level

Case study 1: Estonia – ESF Data collection

Data collection process:

The participant starts ESF activity, first data is collected

Implementing Agency controls and aggregates data using Excel

Data is sent to Statistics Estonia who validates data collected by IA-s, links collected data with registers

Minister of Finance receives aggregated and pseudonymised data.

Case study 2: Belgium – Evaluation of the Belgium FEAD

Evaluation dimensions: Quality; Efficiency; Coherence Relevance; Added value of the current FEAD OPI

Evaluation methodology: Interview with the managing authority; Document Analysis; Discussion groups

Main Challenges: Set up of indicators; recruitment of beneficiaries; discussion with beneficiaries

Case study 3: German – Challenges, Findings, Recommendations

Tasks of the evaluation:

  • Reviewing and assessing the implementation in general
  • Provide recommendations for adjusting the second phase
  • Recommendations for further action in the ESF+


Monitoring data -Programme documents

  • 2 surveys with stakeholders involved in all projects of the first phase
  • 3 rounds of case studies, each round included 17 projects


Monitoring and evaluation at partner organization level

Case study 1: Spain – Monitoring the performance of the OAR (“Organización Asociada de Reparto” Delivery Partner Organizations) in FEAD (2014-2020)

Minimum indicators for reporting:

1º Free provision of food

2º Development of accompanying measures

3º Justication of the number of disadvantage people assisted

4º Updated list

5º Supporting documents of food delivery

6º Expose FEAD wall chart to the public

7º Incident report

8º Storage conditions

9º Food corresponds to previous program phases?

10º Is there any food about to expire and may not allow time to be distributed as a whole?

Case study 2: Poland – LITTLE HELPER: The system of food record and reporting for our local partner organizations within FEAD 2014-2020

Little Helper was created with cooperation of Cracow Food Bank

The aim was to meet the needs of 1350 local NGOs distributing FEAD food [OPL], which have a lot of difficulties with admistrative part of the project, with:

  • current list of qualified persons;
  • records of parcels and meals;
  • monthly reports on the distribution of food to people in need (9 months);
  • periodic reports according to the rules

This tool is available in 3 versions: basic –in the file [no internet access]; basic on-line [the most popular version]; extended version –in the file


1) Reduction of some administrative obligations for local partner organizations.

2) Shortening the time needed for local partner organizations to prepare required documents and reports which are prepared automatically in the Little Helper

3) Avoiding mistakes in preparation the list of qualified, monthly and periodic reports by local partner organizations.

4) Shortening the time needed to prepare reports by regional partner organizations required by the Managing Authority.

Case study 3: France – Social utility of food aid: a gateway to global approach and involvement in action

Why evaluate?

Measuring social utility of food aid by:

  • Give an overview on what food aid is
  • Analyse effects of food aid provide
  • Enlighten the quality of accompanying measures provide beyond food aid
  • Analyse effects of «empowering approach » of Secours Populaire by involving helped people as volunteers

Method: a survey on the “deep field” created by 10 structures of Secour Populaire with two main selection criteria:

  • Urban and rural areas
  • Small and big structures (number of volunteers, budget, number of end recipients)

Evaluation results has been shared during specific meetings:

➢« Making decision » bodies of Secours Populaire

➢Operational teams at Secours Populaire headquarters

➢Training institute of Secours Populaire

Next steps

➢Strengthen local ownership of results

➢Build an action plan to face challenges

Practical workshop on how to design and implement a monitoring and evaluation system at project level

We were invited to create key project steps and implement an M&E system for a project. We received a theoretical example of a FEAD funded project and were asked to develop a monitoring and evaluation system as part of a team.


107 participants attended this meeting.


And so, the FEAD network meetings were over.


Brussels, November 7 and 8,2019


Hermínio Corrêa

Parents International





The 17th FEAD Network Meeting Highlights

The 17th FEAD Network meeting took place on 20 September 2019 in Brussels and discussed issues related to “Celebrating 5 years of FEAD”.

The European Union has always been dedicated to alleviating poverty and improving the lives of its citizens. This ambition is clearly defined in the Europe 2020 strategy target of reducing poverty by 2 million in Europe until 2020, compared to the baseline year of 2008. The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), created in 2014, is one of the key tools that Member States can use, offering material and non-material assistance to the most vulnerable individuals across Europe.

The FEAD Network was created in 2016 to facilitate the exchange of experience, capacity building and networking between key stakeholders related to the implementation of FEAD, as mandated by Article 10 of the FEAD Regulation. Since then, the FEAD Network has become an open membership community for people providing assistance to the most deprived in Europe. This has proved particularly valuable for partner organisations that do not have the opportunity to exchange at European level otherwise. Over time, the FEAD network has significantly contributed to the exchange of good practice and mutual learning, increasing FEAD’s added value in the process.

Up until September 2019, 16 FEAD Network Meetings have taken place across Europe, averaging 88 participants per meeting. Participants are encouraged to engage in in-depth discussions and exchanges of experiences to gain a deeper understanding of a wide range of issues associated with FEAD implementation. As some of the network meetings take place in different member states, project visits continue to be a valuable source of information and first-hand learning. Due to the interactive nature of the meetings a variety of case studies from across the EU are presented, which are very popular amongst FEAD Network members. The Network Meetings are also a privileged opportunity to discuss the future of the fund in the new programming period, as well as implementation ideas for the future.

The FEAD – Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived – is one of the main instruments for alleviating severe poverty in the EU. Its main objectives are promotion and improvement of the social cohesion and inclusion of EU citizens.

A mid-term evaluation conducted in 2019 explored the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value of FEAD activities for the 2014-2017 period. The evaluation concludes that FEAD successfully fulfilled its objectives. One of the key achievements of the fund is the large number of end recipients it has reached (exceeding estimations laid out in the impact assessment). Moreover, FEAD managed to help those who might be omitted by mainstream social services, such as migrants and those in need of immediate assistance. It should not be forgotten, however, that FEAD support relies on limited resources (0.013% of Member States’ allocation to social protection), which are not enough to lift people out of poverty sustainably. This is not its primary objective

Operational programme I

According to the FEAD mid-term evaluation and an open public consultation with key stakeholders, FEAD food and material assistance (OPI), together with its accompanying measures to reduce social exclusion, made a positive change for the most deprived, particularly for those who required immediate assistance or were excluded from other types of social support measures. On average, FEAD supported almost 13 million persons per year over the 2014-2017 period. Overall, more than 1.3 million tons of food aid were distributed to the most deprived in 22 EU Member States, including women (49%), children (29%), persons with a migrant background (11%) and other target groups.

The biggest food distributors during 2014-2017 were Spain, France, Poland, Italy and Romania. In some countries, food support accounted for up to 70% of overall FEAD assistance. Despite a slow start to public expenditure in 2014, all eligible member states (except Romania) provided FEAD food support to the most deprived in 2017.

Regarding FEAD material assistance, Austria and Greece are the main material support providers among EU member states, accounting for more than 70% of all FEAD EU expenditure on material support (EUR 13.7 million out of a total of EUR 19.5 million). In some countries such as Austria, Latvia and Ireland, most of the material assistance is distributed to children. The overall amount of goods distributed accounts to only 3.18% of all basic material assistance, since only 8 countries are involved in material goods distribution

The accompanying measures provided by partner organisations were introduced with FEAD in 2014, have proved to be an innovative element securing the social inclusion approach of FEAD in complementing food and material assistance. Measures vary country by country in their design, aim, scope and target group, with the provision of information about social services and guidance being the most common type of support. They require relevant experience and training to be implemented.

Operational programme II(OPII)

Four countries (Germany, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands) have chosen to implement OPII. Compared to OPI, OPII supports less end recipients, which is most likely linked to the smaller budget allocated. Germany, Denmark and Sweden have provided most of their FEAD-funded social assistance support to migrants, people with a foreign background and minorities. Whilst Sweden and Denmark focus on homeless people, the Netherlands concentrates their resources on helping the elderly and women.

Overall, based on public consultation conducted during the mid-term evaluation, more than 90% of respondents agree that ‘FEAD makes a difference for the lives of the most deprived’. The relevance of all horizontal principles, including reduction of food waste, balanced diet, gender equality, equal opportunities, and respect to dignity and partnership, were confirmed by stakeholders. Thus, they are all included in the proposal for the new ESF+ regulation.

Lessons learned from 5 years of implementation

Over time, FEAD actors have adapted their FEAD interventions to better meet the needs of end recipients, including emerging needs. The mid-term evaluation shows that nine Member States have adapted their operational programmes. These include adjustments in the design of the FEAD intervention, based on target groups’ needs. This could include revising the targeting of end recipients or the eligibility criteria or adjusting the composition of food and/or basic material packages. Improvements were also made in the FEAD implementation process in areas such as procurement and delivery methods, and management (administrative processes, complementary financing sources, building partnerships, allocation of responsibilities between stakeholders, monitoring and evaluation processes, etc.

As the current programming period is coming to an end, there is a strong interest in the future of FEAD, its place in the context of ESF+ regulation, and the sustainability of FEAD results in general.

The Meeting

As usual the meeting began with an overview of the day by the organization and the welcome and update on ESFD+ negotiations by the European Commission followed by a FEAD in Belgium overview by their Managing Authority.

Project Visits in Brussels – Group B – Centre Social Protestant

This Centre provides holistic assistance to all users, regardless of their political, cultural, racial and religious orientation – to learn about its mission’s purpose and activities. The centre is a FEAD partner organization that distributes food products and offers social services, assistance with debts and other services. It has 20 staff members and the voluntary participation of church members, students and other citizens.

It has a cafeteria serving 20 meals a day, a social boutique and a small store of furniture to help its users. They also offer a home support service.


Workshop: FEAD’s key achievements and lessons learnt

Interactive session with the participants being distributed to the various tables to discuss each other about achievements, challenges, lessons learned and future improvements in FEAD. To launch the debate two introductory remarks were made: Achievements, lessons and perspectives by Patrizia de Felici from the Italian Managing Authority and by Florence Tornincasa from the European Anti-Poverty Networks

Marketplace session: FEAD achievements on the ground

Each participant was able to choose 3 from 6 case studies.

Case study 1: Bulgaria – How best to support older people

Case study 2: Czech Republic – Success and challenges of FEAD in the Czech Republic

Case study 3: Denmark – How to support homeless people with OPII

Case study 4: Ireland – School kit project

Case study 5: Malta – Adapting food packages following home visits.

Case study 6: Spain – Impact assessment of the Spanish FEAD Operational Programme

We chose case studies 1, 3 and 4.

Case study 1: How best to support older people in Bulgaria by Evelina Milusheva and Bozhidar Sandev.

Territory of Bulgaria – 111 000 km2;

Bulgaria’s population: 7.1 million people;

Number of BF’s – 265 000 – 330 000

For 3-year period – about 33 000 000 kg. foodstuff is distributed

We distribute basic foodstuff: spaghetti; beef in own sauce; lentils; sugar; canned vegetables; green beans; peas; sterilized tomatoes; beef meatballs in white sauce; fish; canned chicken; beans; jam; rice; oil …etc

Accompanying measures designed  for elderly people :Family budget management; • Counselling for provision of social services and social support; • Information for disaster preparedness; • Counselling for telephone fraud prevention; • First aid training; • Prevention of socially significant diseases; • Balance diet counselling; • 1 tutorial film – Balanced diet and healthy lifestyle; • Posters – Disaster preparedness, Family budget management, preventing food waste.

Case study 3: How to support homeless people in Denmark with OPII by Frederik Hyllested

The aim of the Danish OPII FEAD programme is to secure the most socially vulnerable homeless people a more stable, healthy and safe existence through social- and outreach teams combined with counselling. Hereby the participants are given the option of using existing programmes with the aim of lasting improvements of their personal situation. We have completed two rounds of application for the Danish programme. In the first round two projects were selected (Project UDENFOR and DanChurchSocial).  The two projects differ in the intensity of their work with the most socially vulnerable homeless people. One project offers outreach to people on the streets, counselling and short-term shelter for a small selected group. The other project offers a more intensive counselling, outreach and the possibility for the participants to use a so called locker-room in Copenhagen. In Arhus the project offers community building activities such as giving the homeless a possibility to build their own home. Here FEAD covers the costs of personnel and training, while materials are donated from building sites and the like.  The houses are very simple. There is no kitchen, no toilets or baths. Basically, it’s a room with a bed and few pieces of furniture. The houses are built, so that they can easily be moved elsewhere.

The two projects have helped 4-500 people a year since mid-2016. Of these 2-300 people a year say that they have felt included in help programme. The aim of the Danish programme was to help at least 1400 end recipients by the end of the programme. This goal was achieved by end 2018. An additional aim was that 35 % of the end-recipients felt further included in the national help programme. So far, this goal has been achieved and is an ongoing aim, that we are positive will be met by the end of the programme.

Case study 4: School kit project in Ireland by Susan McGowan

The aim of this project is to support deprived families by easing the financial burden at the beginning of the school year by providing school stationery.

School kits are provided to FEAD Food recipients where families have children attending school and to children of applicants for International Protection who reside in Direct Provision Accommodation

The composition of the pack is determined by the age of the child. There are three age groups, 4 to 8 years, 9 to 12 years and 13 to 18 years.

There are over 15 items in each pack such as twistable crayons, copy books and triangular pencils for the junior children. While the packs for the older group contain hard back science notebooks, USB sticks, maths sets etc.

The packs are distributed through the local partner organisations who distribute FEAD food product throughout the year.

To date almost 90,000 children have received school stationary kits at a cost of over €2m.

The retail values of the kits for each group are €35, €45 and €60 respectively

Feedback from the organizations:

“To state the obvious, our children and their parents were absolutely thrilled by this EU initiative, even more so with the quality of the content in each school bag”

▪ “One boy in our group was refusing to go back to school until he received his school stationary kit. Once he received the kit, he was happy to go back as he now had the same stationary supplies as his friends”

▪ “The day we gave the packs to our children was like a combination of Hallowe’en and Christmas, the children were thrilled, and we got great feedback from extremely appreciative parents. I can’t thank you enough”

100 participants attended this meeting.


Next meeting: 7, 8, November in Brussels.


Brussels, September 20,2019


Hermínio Corrêa

Parents International

European Vocational Skills Week Highlights

Me with Margaret ReillyThe VET Week central events were held in Helsinki, Finland this year. This is the second time (the first being the 2018 event in Vienna, Austria) the organisers decided to hold the most highlighted part of the initiative outside of Brussels to make it possible for stakeholders to not only meet, but also to learn more about vocational education and vocational skills related activities of a member state. This tradition will be continued in 2020 with the main VET Week events to be hold in Berlin, Germany. This year, parents were represented by Herminio Correa, Member of the Parents International Supervisory Board (in the picture together with VET Week Ambassador Margaret Reilly). Read his detailed report below.