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.

Numbers of this year event:

In Helsinki

990 participants

198 speakers

More than 250 participants in Open Minds competition

91,5% attendees using the App

Helsinki event rating – 4,79 points in 5

In all Europe

1.606 events organized for EVSW

46 countries hosted events and activities (Top 3- Hungary 406; Spain 161 and Portugal 146)

2,6 million people reached

The social media campaign reached 36,6 million people

150.000 website visits

17.000 tweets

1,5 million video views

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Joint Session on Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence is intelligence demonstrated by machines a system’s ability to correctly interpret external data, to learn from such data and to use those learnings to achieve specific goals and tasks through flexible adaptation. Artificial Intelligence refers to machines or algorithms that can observe their environment, learning from it and, based on the knowledge and experience gained, take intelligent actions or propose decisions.

Skills became obsolete when the cultural and material context change. At present we are in a transition point.

90% of the jobs now require IT skills

61 Million people in the EU with insufficient basic skills

5 Billion global need for upskilling, because AI will affect everyone.

Digitalization created 2 million new jobs in EU in the last decade.

In ICT, 1,75 Million new jobs are expected by 2030

Member states are encouraged to:

Include the skills dimension in the national AI strategies (By mid-2019)

Map the national education offer and the skills needed

Explore how AI could be incorporated into the curricula of programmes for secondary and tertiary education, including vocational training.

How to make AI real?

In the EC-JRC “AI Handbook with and for the teachers” – project, we are aiming at co-creating meaningful uses of AI in education.

A key starting point is that concrete educational contexts are very different in different countries. Teachers have critical knowledge about how AI can be made beneficial in their practices and institutional contexts.

Another starting point is that digitalization and AI are changing the society and the economy. We need to stop extrapolating the past and design AI for the future of learning and education. AI should be viewed as a tool for change, not as a quick fix for existing problems.

Using AI, we must change the world and for that we have to change education

Key messages on AI in Education:

Education for AI:

AI not for elite groups, but for everyone

What to teach in AI – no consensus

Lifelong Learning approach – upskilling and reskilling

AI for education:

AI used to solve education problems

Involvement of teachers/educators is central

Ethical implications are central

Digital Education Action Plan:

Priority 1: Making better use of digital technology for teaching and learning

Priority 2: Developing relevant digital competences and skills for the digital transformation

Priority 3: Improving education through better data analysis and foresights

Fight the fears of AI


European Alliance for Apprenticeship – Apprenticeships for adults. How to make apprenticeships a lifelong opportunity?

Joost Korte – Director General of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Six years of EAfA – 294 companies involved – 90.700 young apprenticeships

Individual commitment and passion

Apprenticeship for adults a new and useful opportunity for upskilling and reskilling. Vet is the key solution for actual challenges.

Questions that need to be answered:

Why and in what ways is Apprenticeships for adult useful?

How it will benefit the society as an all?

How it will benefit the individuals and the companies alike?

Which adult groups should benefit from Apprenticeships?

Can we do it in the same way for newly arrived migrants as for people in or out of jobs in need of upskilling and reskilling?

Action on skills is a cross counting issue whether is acting to address the new world of work, digitalization, climate changes, growing in equalities in society or the competitiveness and innovation of our economy.

VET must develop profiles to answer these challenges. Right people with the right competences. Excellence in VET through a strong social dialogue.

There is currently a need in the European Union for upskilling and reskilling 270 million people already in the workforce.


Mrs Virpi Spagar – Chairwomen of Apprenticeships experts in Finland Association.

3638 students were entrepreneurs’ apprentices. Of these 752 agreements were made for initial vocational qualifications and 2.886 for further or specialist vocational qualifications.

Highlights of the Finish experiences related to apprenticeship for adults:

  • Work-based learning is integrated into vocational educational and training system.
  • Personal competences development plan is drawn up for each VET student
  • VET system is flexible and offers a wide range of opportunities
  • Real work tasks offer a good opportunity for continuous learning
  • Apprenticeship is building on trust and shared responsibility.


Apprenticeships for adults: results of an explorative study – Lidia Salvatore. CEDEFOP

Concluding points: Learning approaches

School based part of apprenticeship training:

  • Understanding of previous experiences from employment as well as the prior education that adult learners bring into classroom as a basis for the training plan
  • Important that teachers have insights into the motivation of adults
  • Shortening the duration of modules, online courses and others approaches to support learning flexibility.


In company part:

  • Adults need less supervision and intervention from employers


This report will be out at the end of the year


OECD work on Adults Apprenticeships – Shinyoung Jeon

Large shares of jobs are at risk of automation o significant changes. 40 % of the OECD jobs are highly automated and 32% will be radically transformed by technological progress in the next 10 to 20 years. 40% of jobs created between 2005 and 2016 were in digital intensive sectors.

Characteristics of adult apprenticeships compared to young apprenticeships:

Higher wages (but expected higher productivity)

Lower expected tenure but lower mobility costs

Higher foregone earnings

Higher financial obligation of adult apprentices

Could be shorter for adults with working experience and relevant skills.


Characteristics of adult apprenticeships compared to on-the-job training:

Higher training costs (e.g. wage for longer duration)

Some occupations have no (or not many) alternative training but apprenticeships


How to make apprenticeships attractive and effective for adults:

Incentives; flexibility; basic skills; career guidance; teachers and trainers ( adapting the training to adults)


Good practices on apprenticeships for adults

Michiel Kernkamp – CEO Nestlé Nordic

Nestlé needs Youth and All for Youth Programmes

Commitment in 3 areas:

1º. Increasing Employment and employability

In the last two year:

45000 – 50.000 Apprenticeships and traineeships

20.000 – 25000 Jobs opportunities

Readiness for work events

Extended external partnerships

2º Agripreneurship

Only 5% farmers are under 35 years old

Farmers Connect Initiative (Asia + Europe)

Skilling young farmers

Helping gender diversity

3º Entrepreneurship (Africa)

Nurturing business talent

MYOWBU (My own business programme) – helping women to run their own business

Swiss social investment accelerator


Kathleen Elsig – Global Apprenticeships Network.

Skills mismatch affects all ages:

The pace of change in the world of work is unprecedent. People, business and communities are affected.39% of European adults are overskilled and trapped in low-skilled jobs. The European economy loses over 2% of productivity per year due to mismatch of skills. More than seven in ten European firms see the skills mismatch as an impediment to investment (EIB).

We have a window of opportunities to shape how we respond. Bringing working and learning closer together for youth and adults will help align skills with changing labour market demands. There are new opportunities to access jobs and education that never existed before. For that we must build the skills and the competences of youth and adults as well. Today the public education systems are no longer suitable for market needs.

Skilling Now Campaign – an ongoing global conversation on work-based learning for a bright future of work. Thought pieces / Twitter / Summit / Podcasts / Webinars / Instagram

Isabel Grundschober – EUCENs ApprEnt project

Presentation of the project ERASMUS ApprEnt –

The world of business and the world of higher education they are very different with different structures and different histories. But they must work together, to create an apprenticeships curriculum. So, to solve the lack of communication between them, the project team decided to use mentors as facilitators of communication between the two parts. They train these mentors to force communication between both parts and to build a bridge between the world of business and the world of higher education. Regularly, business and higher school must exchange about the learning process of the students, and they can shape the learning pathway and of the course curriculum must be updated regularly too because the world is changing fast and the market too.

Two types of learning are blended – informal learning at the workplace which has its own specifics and its own kind of learning and learning in higher education which is rather formal. Combine we can force the communication competences which are important to face the challenges of tomorrow. We must face the responsibility in higher education but also in the companies for helping learners to develop communication skills, problem solving skills, critical analysis, reflection, time management and teamwork.

In the platform we can download the generic training course for mentors and a model agreement for higher education partners or companies’ partners and for the students. We can also download policy recommendations and an advocacy pack.


The views of the European Social Partners

Ludovic Voet – Confederal secretary, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)

Adults out of education have a more important need for decent wage and decent living conditions and cannot be helped by his family like scholars.

What needs to be guaranteed? Decent wages and decent Social Protection system

Need of involvement of Social Partners, and there is already a tool – The Council recommendation for “Effective and Quality Apprenticeship “with 14 criteria that need to be put into practice.

Work conditions, health and safety in the workplace, partner’s involvement in the governance of apprenticeship system, wages, payed compensations, social protection of the works and certification.


Silke Van den Bogaert – Social Affairs Adviser – SMEUnited

The adults already have a skill set and a previous work. Companies and training centers have to adapt the content and extent of training as well as pedagogy, as adults should not be taught in the same way as young people.

We have to convince employers to accept adults for apprenticeship positions.


Robert Plummer – Senior Adviser, BusinessEurope

With adults we should look more for the occupation specific elements of training rather than the soft and the transversal skills. Put more emphasis on the curricula and how you link up the labour market needs with the curricula. How we communicate, discuss and understand what’s an adult apprenticeship is.

Face to face intergenerational dialogue

Interesting intergenerational debate with questions related not only to the whole learning process but also to the current and future world of work.

The XXI century doesn’t need tailoring individualization whether is a type of pedagogy whether is on assigning people their time, their motivation, their maturity, their skills , their money and the wages they need and it’s a huge challenge .When we look on what we need to do to upskill and help our labour market and our society adapt to the changes there are coming we need systems that are completely different to what they are today which are a production line. We can scale up education we can develop a curriculum than role it up everywhere.

Adults particularly need something quite different, something there is unique to their own situation and perception, their needs, their motivation, the family situation, their tenability and this is going to be the key challenge. How are we going to have an effective quality system of adult apprenticeships? How do we develop a system that is both unique and individual but scalable and implementable?

EAfA Award Nominees

Norbert Schobel Director and team leader: DG Employment, Social Affairs and inclusion, reviewed the EAfA activity in 2019 and introduced all nominees.

Next year meetings: February in Brussels, May in Barcelona, September in Serbia and in November we will have the VET week in Berlin.


Workshop: How to adapt apprenticeships to the needs of adults, with key recommendations for the future:

What should we do?

What is similar and what is different in apprenticeships for adults and young people?

For who?

Which adult groups would benefit most?

How to tailor to different adult groups?

Are there any sectors/professions where it would be especially valuable?


How should apprenticeships for adults be developed?


Side event: Dialogue with Finish Parents

To start the dialogue, Mette With Hagensen as keynote speaker introduced the theme “Parents: heart felt counselling”. Then Dana-Carmen Bachmann introduced the European perspective and Mika Tammilehto the Finnish perspective.

Four out of ten parents choose or influence their children’s future profession. But is this correct? Don’t our children have the right to choose for themselves? What should be the role of parents in this matter? To advise? To influence? Clarify? Young people have to make their own choices because it is their future that we are dealing with.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Site visit: Musti Group

Musti Group was founded in 1988 and currently has 277 stores in 3 countries (Finland, Sweden and Norway), and exists to help customers succeed in pet parenting. They offer a range of animal care services, including owners counselling, pet training, bathing, shearing, massages, etc. They currently have 1.2 million legal customers.

They develop several vocational education training courses in partnership with Mercuria Business College in Martinlaakso-Vantaa: Business Management; Sales; Store Management; Customer service in pet services and Animal Care


Vet for All – Skills for Life Conference 1

Three questions were launched for discussion at this Conference:

How VET can be transformed in a changing world? A fast-changing world, a labour market that is changing at a pace that is hard to follow

How can VET meet the needs of people across the age spectrum, from younger to working age and beyond?

How VET can respond and transform to the digitalization of our society which has both challenges and opportunities?

Official welcomeDana-Carmen Bachmann- Head of Unit, DG Employment

Facing demographic decline and ageing population we cannot afford to leave anyone behind. We need to find new ways to make VET more attractive to young people but also more accessible to older people, people of all ages. The best investment in our future is investing in our people. Only we, creative and innovative lifelong learners and skilled people we can keep and develop further our economy and our social model. Having the right skilled people will be central if we want to achieve a green deal and an economy that works for people and a European foot for digital age. Unfortunately, we are still not there yet and we need to do much more. We need to change not only the educational and training system but also our mindset and culture of learning.

Mika Tammilehto – Director General, Department for Vocational Educational and Training – Finland

Skills and competences requirements are increasing rapidly across all sectors due to increased development, digitalization, automation, robots and artificial intelligence, for instance, they are great possibilities to the working life and economy but also bring challenges for us. The labour market emphasizes the need for constant update for skills and competences in order to ensure they meet the requirements of the changes in the world of work and in the society as well. They also emphasise the importance of investing in people in their education and training, in their skills, their creativity and in the capacity to innovate.

The changing of the world of working and the society calls for updating lifelong learning

who should not be seen just like an upskilling and reskilling activity because it’s a must broader social challenge that affects employers and employees and the society longing for a system change.

Because the Finns love learning and education, in the Finish Presidency they decide to create 3 new topics in education:

1º Strengthen lifelong learning, to tackle the challenges of the society and the labour market. They want to emphasize the continuity of learning, the accumulation of knowledge, skills and competences. The openness and flexibility of the education and training system.

2º Create an European Education Area by 2025 developing cross borders cooperation at EU level, strengthen peer learning, exchange of best practices and remove the remain barriers to the mobility of learning, upskilling and reskilling.

3º Approach the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of education and training from a new angle providing education and training for all. Education strengths people and promotes jobs.

The most important change in the Finish VET reform was the way of thinking that was shifted from a system centred approach to a competence base approach. The learning outcomes are those who counts.


Role of VET in addressing global challenges

We live in changing times. The world is transforming around us very fast. The speed of change in the world of work, the speed of change in terms of digitalization of society, the shifting situation for our climate, to migration, for demography it’s all changing. What is the role of VET community and the VET sector in helping societies respond to some of these challenges?

Pawel Widel- President of the Ass. Of Employers of Automotive and Industrial Goods

The changes in the automotive sector and mobility in general that we will face over next five years will go much deeper than over last fifteen or sixteen years. So, in short, we are facing a dramatic change. We observe four megatrends which will transform the way industries working and the way people and the society are using the products of the industries to be mobile:

1º the future vehicle will be zero emissions, so no emission from the board and much less impact over our environment

2º the vehicle of the future will be autonomous; we can benefit from moving without being busy with the driving.

3º this vehicle will be perfectly connected with other vehicles with infrastructures, so it would be like connection to the outside world, almost perfectly.

4º we will not be owners of the vehicles.

The biggest challenge for all stakeholders will be to cooperate and to collaborate all together in order to create and educational system which could produce the set of skills and competences to serve the mobility of the future.

Olivia Chapman – Senior Programme Manager, Nesta

Digitalization presents a huge opportunity to society, industry and governments. When it comes to reskilling and upskilling there’s a massive potential to mobilize millions of workers, so they fit for the future.

54% of all employees will require extensive upskilling and reskilling by 2022

85% of jobs in the EU now require at least a basic level of digital skills

The OECD predicts that 14% of all jobs will be completely automated and 32% will be    radically transformed

Technology is disrupting the workforce at scale and workers that are unable to adapt to changes risk unemployment and exclusion. As a result, governments and other stakeholders recognise the urgent need to embed lifelong learning across the labour market. So, they created a programme called “Future Fits” to look where adult learning is working and where is not working, to see what can be done better. Their first report brings some interesting issues:

There’s an increase in jobs such as cooks, hairdressers, pediatricians, sails and teaching assistants.

43% of EU adults had never participate in adult learning in recent times and have no intention to do so.

Barriers to adult learning: costs, childcare responsibility and distance.

Srinivas Reddy – Chief of skills Employability Branch, ILO

Countries are worried. What will the future look like? And what are the implications for the skills? How can we address some of these disruptions that are in front of us?

There will be destruction of jobs, there will be some several transformations in jobs but there will also be netgain in jobs. So, how do we prepare people? Some estimates say that in the future a person will have 6 to 12 career changes during their working life.

The Global Commission in the Future of Work mentioned some key challenges: Investing in people for lifelong learning capability. To be able to assist people to have opportunity to skills acquisition or reskilling and upskilling and facilitate the transition – “School to Work” and “Work to Work”, we need to invest in lifelong learning to be ahead of the transformations.

Are we ready to look at new skills and lifelong learning echo system that provides opportunities to all people regardless of age, origin or background?

The longlife learning culture as to begin early on. The importance of investing in basic skills and core skills at the primary ages of compulsory school is critical and keeping several options such as flexible and modern learning options including opportunities for adults and older workers to acquire skills that will continue to give them employability.

Who pays for the lifelong learning? A join responsibility of the companies, governments and individuals.

Nani Pajunen – Leading Specialist in circular economy, Finish Innovation Fund Sitra

When we produce wellbeing to our society, we are using natural resources and we are overusing it for over 50 years and still market economy is based in overusing those natural resources. That’s why we need to change market economy from linear economy to circular economy (all society, all the sectors). So where are the changes we need to make?

When we talk about circular economy, we must understand the cycle of life of the materials and products. All materials are coming from somewhere. We are using natural resources to produce materials and products that we consume. When we are making changes, we must understand that the main issues are in the beginning of the life cycle. So how do we develop new materials and how do we develop new processes to industry? How we design new products? And where do we live in the countryside or in the city? And where are we now? We know that 75% of the people are going to live in the cities that we already have and in those we are building on. 50% of the natural resources are used in the building sector and 67% of the CO2 emissions are coming from processing these materials we are using. So, it’s more than how we are using the materials, how we design the new cities and places where we are living. Is it possible to take sustainable in those big cities we are living and working? Is digitalization working in the big cities and in the countryside? And mobility or transportation? So, the challenge is how we bring solutions to everybody because around 20 or 30 years ago they were already sustainability managers and environment managers in the companies and in the cities but that was not really enough, because each one of us have to find our role in this big change.

Now it´s a question of education. We introduced in the Finnish education system two years of circular economy for all levels of education. But we need also to challenge people that are already in working life. How can they find their role in circular economy for this big challenge? We have courses, but if they don’t understand that they are part of the change, they will never take those courses. That’s really the challenge!

Liam Patuzzi – Policy Analyst, Migration Policy Institute, Europe

To important issues to take into considerations regarding migration in our societies:

  • Integration, or Inclusion
  • Shaping better legal migration pathways (when countries of origin and countries of destination join forces to invest in skill building of migrants)

Let’s focus on the second one:

According to OECD – 5,3 million asylum seekers were received in OECD countries between 2014 and 2017.

The decision we make today for integration will really decide on whether our future society will be characterized by equal opportunities and social cohesion or rather long-term marginalization, disadvantage and polarization.

Migrants have very heterogeneous profiles and of course there is a language barrier. The VET system does more than providing work to new commers , provides a long term perspective, provides skills that will allow them to have a career opportunities in a long term, technical skills but also foundation skills (ability to learn, to solve problems, to interact in the context of arrival). We also know that practical learning, work-based learning, can be easier to access outsiders who have not participated in the school system of the country of arrival. VET can also create a link of trust with employers. They can realize that this group that they thought will lead to difficulties, potentially to problems of mutual understanding, is hugely motivated, very capable and as a lot to offer.

Upskilling gain also a lot of importance specially on the context of credential recognition for people who must leave their jobs behind and can use these opportunities in order to go back to their profession without having to retrain from scratch.


Future skills need – Jurgen Siebel CEDEFOP

The future of skills is definitively a fluid thing.

Except for high value-add niches, employment in manufacturing will decline.

Decline: mining and quarrying, public administration and defence, engineering, food dink and tabaco and agriculture

Slight grow on transports, electricity, gas and water and education

Growth: Hotels and catering, health and social work, banking and insurance, distribution and various business services.

Digital transformation breeds digital skills gap potentially affected 1/3 of workers.

As jobs and ways of working transform, so does emphasis on skills and learning.

Adaptability to change is most in demand.

Building the skills of tomorrow will require (deep) learning to one another.

– Training for new forms of work and teaching methods

– Enabling interdisciplinary learning

– Personalised/self-directed learning

– Digital Competence assessment methods

– Digital culture in learning, digital resources, online learner communities

– Teacher, trainer and school leader competence development

– Trust in teachers

– Changing learning landscape

– Learners feedback

– Learning sequence

– Tackling misconception

Building the skills of tomorrow will impact on VET and require policy choices.

Will we ever be able to make VET an equal choice?


Excellence, inclusion and career-long learning in VET

Craig Robertson, chair of the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics

What we need to invest in VET is:

To know what  –  To Know why – To know how

We need to bring to VET that real element of excellence which will bring these 3 things together. But more important in our task is working with everybody no matter what their economic situation or their previous learning circumstances, if we get it right, they will hop, skip and jump for further than we could ever imagine. And that’s our challenge as VET educators. Helping people along their life’s by bringing them into that magic educational experience – the discipline knowledge – the practical knowledge and the applied knowledge.

Margaret Reilly, Owner of Grand Designs, European VET Ambassador

Margaret gave us her life testimony. She started as an apprenticeship in 1997/98 when she was 16 years old and she open her own company in 2009.

She always had an entrepreneurial attitude, adaptability to change, willingness to learn, proactive and independent thinking, along with soft, management and negotiation skills.

Today, her company Grand Designs Kitchen & Bedrooms, Ltd is one of the leading manufacturers in Ireland.


Excellent VET for throughout life.

What kind of skills that best equip people for the work they do right now and how does skills need to change in the future?

Participants at this roundtable reported some of the VET experiences they have been living in their lives and in their companies, sharing some interesting solutions and strategies for success.

“In Finland we have to re-educate one million of finish workers. We have the system, but we don´t have the funds. We must share this responsibility with others. Companies should participate, governments should participate and even individuals.”

“VET system in Slovenia is going in the directions of Lifelong Learning. The learning never stops actually.”

“Every challenge, every change we want to achieve as to do with change of behaviour of all of us. We cannot leave anyone behind to the school system or to the labour market, because if we do so they will not participate because they will feel excluded. (Netherland)”


Thursday, 17th October 2019

VET for All – Skills for Life Conference 2

Service 4.0: Innovation for workforce upskilling and reskilling.

Making a change: skills strategy for the tourism sector – Silvia Barbone- Blueprint Alliance

Presentation of the ERAMUS+ project “The Next Tourism Generation Alliance” – Partners from Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, UK, Spain, Germany, Netherland and Ireland

The future of skills sector depends on what we do today NTG’s:

  1. Skills gap analysis (primary, secondary)
  2. Skills assessment method
  3. Industry led skills groups
  4. NTG’s Skills matrix
  5. New European NTG modules
  6. NTG’s skills development tools and toolkit
  7. Guidelines for HR / Education
  8. Quality framework
  9. Collection of best practices

Insights: Future skills gaps in Europe

  • AI and robotic skills
  • Skills related to applying digital hardware technologies, such as Augmented and Virtual Reality
  • Promotion of sustainable forms of transport (e.g. public transport)
  • Promotion of environmentally friendly activities and products



From bankers to nurses: skills anticipation and talent mobility in Belgium – Inge Janssens – Experiec@work

An employee with 30 years or more of service in one company may apply to relocate to another company that needs all his experience but cannot afford it while retaining all his perks.

Advantages. WIN4

Organization with experienced employees:

The employer keeps the full employees cost but is compensated for part of this costs through the service agreement. And can:

  • Keep their experienced employees motivated by offering alternative career opportunities
  • Optimize their HR costs
  • Create room for youngsters to evolve in the organization

Organization with need for experience:

The organization making use of the service can benefit from experienced employees at a lower cost (i.e. the cost of such profile with only 10 years of experience). And can:

  • Attract experience
  • In the context of an upcoming “war for talent”
  • At a lower cost
  • Allow their current employees to gain new insights


Experienced employees can:

  • Keep on valorising their talents
  • Share their experience with others
  • Go for new experiences without loosing the link with the initial employer
  • Work longer, in a motivated manner.



  • Useful experience of senior employees doesn’t get lost
  • We allow employees to work longer, and reduce the cost for society
  • Will benefit from the increased exchange of experience between generations.


The learner’s angle: Marie Sophie’s career transition – Cook at Phare du Kanaal

She studied European Affairs and History, graduated from 3 Masters. Worked for less than 4 years in the European Affairs environment and then shifted. She stated a traineeship at the Phare Kanaal with 3 years of long training in Baking and Pastry at EFP in Brussels. On April 2019 she got hired by the Phare du Kanaal as part of the kitchen and Com Team. “Long working hours but worth it”.


Brainstorming among participants on various topics

Discussion question: how to overcome barriers to learning (e.g. if employees are in small companies have low skills levels or precarious contracts or simply employers who do not believe that adult learning is a solution)?

Basic skills at workplace: we recommend setting up a system that identifies skill gaps that is funded by a third party. This involves collaboration with the employers and with learners. Basic skills should be visible and certified. Responsibility is shared among all participants

Barriers: we need and employee/learner centric approach using individual but regressive amount, to be spent on modular and blended workplace training. Furthermore, to encourage low skills people we need to invest on confidence building/peer/coaching/networking.

Transversal skills are essentiality. They are what make us human. They need to be developed earlier and on an ongoing basis in work and life. Learner centric education must develop transversal skills.


Site visit: FAZER (Company)

In 1891, the young Karl Fazer opened his first café with a mission to make food with a purpose – and a passion to create moments of joy for all the people around him. It became Northern Magic. Made Real. Today, Fazer is an international family-owned company offering quality bakery, confectionery, biscuit and grain products, plant-based meals, non-dairy products, on-the-go food & drinks as well as food and café services. The Group operates in nine countries and exports to around 40 countries.
The success of Fazer has been built on Karl Fazer’s vision, values and fearless creativity: the best product and service quality, beloved brands, the passion of skilful people and responsible ways of working. In 2018, Fazer Group had net sales of 1.6 billion euros and more than 15,000 employees. Fazer’s operations comply with ethical principles that are based on the Group’s values and the UN Global Compact.

They provide trainee programmes together with the Vantaa Vocational College. They offer apprenticeship training in leadership and business management and in food industry (bakers, cooks and candy makers).


Vocational Excellence Awards Nominees Celebration

Companies & Learners Awards

– European Alliance for Apprenticeships Awards (EAfA)

  • Large company: Hidromek A.Ş. – Hayri Akgus, Turkey
  • SME: Limerick Strand Hotel, Tom Flavin, Ireland
  • Apprentice: Samuel Gilmore – Company Mark Pollock Joinery, Kilrea, Co Londonderry, Northern Ireland UK

– Training at Work Award: Hot &Cold Therm Kft. – Benkő Zoltán & István Győre, Hungary


VET Innovators

– Innovative VET Provider: Akademie Deutsches Bäckerhandwerk Weinheim – Bernd Kuetscher, Germany

– Teacher and Trainer: Mr Markku Vengasaho – Edusampo, Finland

– VET Researcher: Prof. Fernando Marhuenda, University of Valencia, Spain

– The Entrepreneurial School Awards – TES / JA Europe: Gradia Vocational Institute – Pirjo Kauhanen, Finland


European Agencies Awards

– ETF Entrepreneurship award: University of Alexandria – Essam A. Elkordi, Egypt

– #CedefopPhotoAward: Ortweinschule – College of engineering, art and design and Institute for research and technology Graz, Austria


European Funding for Excellence

–    European Social Fund Award (focus on digitalisation and technological change): Empleando Digital – Belén Sánchez-Rubio & Carmen Cárdenas, Spain

–    Erasmus+ project:

  • Vet and Skills for the Future: Developing Work Based Learning Model for VET – John Hurley, Ireland
  • Social Inclusion: New didactical models for initial VET training of young disadvantaged persons to reduce drop out – Maria-Luise Leitner, Austria


International Awards (Guests of Honour)

–    International Skills Competitions Awards-WorldSkills 2019: Stefan Planitzer, Austria

–    UNESCO-UNEVOC Skills in Action Photo Competition: Ruth Pemisola Oluniyi



Friday, 18th October 2019

Closing Conference

The last day of the Week featured the Closing, opened by the words of Commissioner Marianne Thyssen: “After four years of European Vocational Skills Week, I know I can expect the best VET has to offer”. She was then gifted with a specially made silk scarf, produced by a local Finnish small company, using a technique.

The European Vocational Skills Week 2020 will take place from 9-13 November in Berlin, Germany, and the theme will be excellence and digitalisation in VET.

The conference continued with a panel discussion and a session with testimonies from past contributors to the Week: Angeliki Filippidou, David Rozvanyi, Gisela Valdera and Alagib Maki Al Tahir. They shared their personal experiences and explained how the Week had made a difference to their life and career.

The testimonials also highlighted VET’s strong contribution to personal development and how it fosters democratic citizenship and European values.

Then there was a session with some of the European Vocational Skills Week Ambassadors, who explained how they pass the message in their own countries, inspiring people to get involved in vocational education and training.

“The EVSW is a wonderful initiative, and one that speaks to me personally. With VET you can better yourself, you are taking a journey that could change your life” said Belgian ambassador Mr. Pierre Kompany.

Recent articles