On 16 June 2020 Tknika the leader of the EXAM 4.0 one of the Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) Pilots projets supported by Erasmus+, organised a virtual conference about the Centres of Vocational Excellence.
Titled “Skills ecosystems for innovation, regional development and social inclusion”, the conference was not only dealing with Excellence: it was excellent in itself! The aim was to bring experts from all over the world to inform them about the EU initiative on CoVEs, and discuss how vocational excellence can empower people with skills for fulfilling lives and quality jobs.
The theme seems to have gained a lot of attention: it attracted 1.723 participants from 105 countries. The first reactions on social media seem to be very encouraging (follow #EUVocationalExcellence).
The conference started with a welcoming speech by Jorge Arévalo, Vice Minister of VET of the Basque Government, covering the major economic and societal challenges we are facing, and the need to manage simultaneously sustainability and complexity. VET providers need agility and intelligence to achieve this. Therefor they need to become “Smart” VET Centres.
In a second phase, keynotes were been presented by representatives from the European Commission and its Agencies. DG EMPL 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.
The European Training Foundation (ETF) 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. The Joint Research Centre (JRC) demonstrated how Vocational Excellence is linked to regional ecosystems.
Finally, the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) 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 projects: EXAM 4.0, DIHUB, DeuS, PoVE Water and TalentJourney. Their presentations were praised for the innovative processes and approaches they propose.
To conclude, Shyamal Majumdar, former Head of UNESCO-UNEVOC, spoke from his heart to 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 a very 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 online.