Erasmus+

Sector Skills Alliances

What is the aim?

Sector Skills Alliances (SSAs) are designed to tackle skills, aligning vocational education and training (VET) systems with labour market needs. This is done by:

  • modernising VET by adapting to skills needs and integrating work-based learning,
  • strengthening the exchange of knowledge and best practices,
  • improving labour market mobility,
  • increasing the recognition of qualifications.

Priority is given to projects which address one of the specific objectives, which include:

  • improving skills and competence levels,
  • fostering quality, innovation, and internationalisation,
  • promoting the development and modernisation of education,
  • enhancing the international dimension of education and training,
  • improving language learning and teaching.

More information on these specific objectives is available in the Programme Guide.

What is the opportunity?

Sector Skills Alliances are an opportunity for eligible organisations to manage a project to address the challenges above. Specifically, this involves:

  • defining skills or training needs in a specific economic sector
  • designing joint curricula
  • delivering joint curricula.

Activities need to cover a sector with clear imbalances, which have been identified as:

  • manufacturing and engineering
  • commerce
  • information and communication technology
  • environmental technology
  • cultural and creative sectors
  • health care, and
  • tourism.

There are also opportunities to organise activities for the mobility of learners and staff insofar as they contribute to the achievement of the project's objectives.

How does it work?

A Sector Skills Alliance must consist of a consortium of organisations from at least three Programme Countries. In addition to this, there must be at least three organisations from every country involved in the SSA, one from each of the following categories:

  • Public or private entities that provide VET,
  • Public or private entities that have sector-specific expertise and represent or are present in a given sector,
  • Public or private entities that have a regulatory function for education and training systems.

The only exception to this is when a consortium contains an umbrella organisation; in such cases no further organisations from the umbrella organisation's country are required provided that the minimum number of participating organisations and countries are met (excluding the umbrella organisation).

A consortium must be led by an applicant, based in a Programme Country and responsible for submitting the proposal on behalf of the consortium, as well as for the overall management of the SSA. Project partners may either be:

  • Full partners, who participate actively in the project under the authority of the applicant, and
  • Associated partners, who contribute to the activities of the programme but are not contractually bound to the consortium.

The role of Associated Partners must be clearly defined at application stage, and they cannot receive funds. Both kinds of partner can come from either Programme or Partner Countries.

What else should you know?

Applicants and full partners can only participate in a single SSA at a time, unless they are the sole regulatory authority present in a given country and can demonstrate their monopoly.

SSAs should focus on innovation and on ensuring that the impact of the Alliance goes beyond the lifetime of the project, and going beyond the organisations involved in the SSA.

The role and added-value of all partners in an SSA should be clear. Tasks should be matched with the expertise of the partner in question.

The identification of future skills needs should be supported by evidence demonstrating the labour market needs to be met. This research should translate into outcome-oriented curricula, underpinned by a robust quality assurance system.

Lastly, it is essential to ensure that the recognition of skills is appropriately provided for in the relevant countries and sectors.

How do you apply?

Applications should be submitted to the annual calls for proposals published by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

Find out more

The Erasmus+ Programme Guide is the main source of information on Sector Skills Alliances, although more information on the application process is available from the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

For further information, you contact the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

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