Centres of Vocational Excellence Meeting

The conference organized by the Basque VET Applied Research Center (TKNIKA) was rolled out virtually and Parents International was represented by our Supervisory Board member, Herminio Correa. The event started with a welcome speech by Jorge Arévolo, Vice Minister of VET of the Basque Government, with the theme “Moving towards the unpredictable”, covering the major economic and societal challenges we are facing, and the need to manage simultaneously sustainability and complexity. We need the ability to adapt, react, anticipate, and disrupt. VET providers need agility and intelligence to achieve this. Therefore they need to become “Smart” VET Centres.

In a second phase, keynotes where been presented by representatives from the European Commission and its Agencies.

João dos Santos DG EMPL – “Science” based and “Practice” based Innovation –  came back on the policy vision of the initiative on CoVE: what it is all about, what are the challenges it aims to address, and what are the next steps in taking forward the initiative.

Georgios Zisimos from European Training Foundation (ETF) – How we see the Centers of CoVE – explained how they are supporting the development of Vocational Excellence in their Partner Countries, notably through their Network of Excellence, as well as shortly introduce the self-assessment tool that is currently being developed.

John Edwards from the Joint Research Centre (JRC) – Territorial Dimension of CoVEs and Smart Specialization – demonstrated how Vocational Excellence is linked to regional ecosystems.

Finally, Michèle Grombeer from the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) – Transforming policy into action through ERASMUS+ – presented its role in managing the Erasmus+ programme as well as the highlights of the current and future calls linked to the CoVE initiative.

After a short break, each of the CoVEs pilots had the opportunity to introduce their innovative projects:

EXAM 4.0 – Platform of VET excellence for advance manufacturing”, presented by Unai Ziarsolo from TKNIKA.

DIHUB – “Digital Innovation Hub for cloud-based services”, presented by Jouni Hytonen and Harri Houtala from Business College of Helsinki – Finland

DeuS – “Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative sectors” presented by Rita Orlando from the European Open Design School for sustainable regional development from Italy

PoVE Water – “Pilot Platform of Vocational Excellence – Water (Pilot PoVE Water)””, presented by Pieter Hoekstra from PoVE Water Netherlands.

TalentJourney – “Platform for IOT excellence” presented by Adrijana Hodak from SCNG (Solski Center Nova Gorica)

To conclude, Shyamal Majumdar, former Head of UNESCO-UNEVOC close the conference. He emphasized the fact that Excellence is a journey to continuous innovation. He did it by linking it to the current COVID pandemic and described his view of the three major crisis we are currently going through:

  • the health crisis
  • the learning crisis and
  • the mind-set crisis.

He ended with an incredibly positive note showing how Vocational Excellence has a fundamental role to play in addressing each of these crises.

The recording of the entire event is available on:


Recent articles