European Vocational Skills Week

Awards for VET Excellence 2020


Awards recognise excellence in vocational education and training

The winners of the 2020 Awards for VET Excellence have been honoured at the Closing of the European Vocational Skills Week. The winners come from across Europe and beyond, and they are all inspiring examples of excellence in vocational education and training (VET).

Each year, as part of the Week, the Awards for VET Excellence recognise individuals and organisations for their efforts in promoting and offering high-quality VET. The awards are a celebration of commitment to VET and are designed to highlight the quality in VET, provide visibility to the winners, motivate learners and trainers and support the development of networks and career opportunities.

The awards were presented by Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights. He said: ‘This ceremony closes a fascinating week. A week that showcased what vocational education and training has to offer. Participants have demonstrated that VET can be innovative. That it can be a bridge to the new digital and green world of work. Together, we will keep working to promote vocational education and training, and to make it more agile, digital and accessible to workers of all ages and throughout their whole life. We will keep making clear that VET is a unique path to employment.’

The 2020 winners are:

Category: Companies and learners award

Training at work

The award aims to give visibility to good practices of career-long professional learning in enterprises.

Magnetic MRO AS, Estonia

Learner: Mr. Kevin Parras
MMRO has shown that an enterprise and higher education institution can work together successfully. The quality and importance of the aircraft maintenance technician workplace-based training programme has been noticed by several parties and satisfaction with the outcome is high.
Kevin Parras is a 26-year-old professional ice hockey player who joined Magnetic MRO and its aircraft mechanic vocational study programme in 2018. He believes this apprenticeship programme is a great opportunity to start a journey in the aviation industry and gain a profession that lasts for a lifetime.

Category: VET innovators awards

Innovative VET Providers

The award aims to identify a European VET provider that has contributed to VET excellence through innovative practices. It is organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the expert group Platform of European Associations of VET Providers.

For 2020, this award category will also include two "special mentions" for distance and e-learning solutions for VET providers that use or have developed VET content for distance learning in an innovative way. This has been shown to be particularly relevant in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

BIC Ljubljana, Slovenia

The Biotechnical Educational Centre Ljubljana (BIC Ljubljana) strives to guarantee excellent conditions for acquiring up-to-date professional vocational skills and knowledge, through innovative progress and development. It has established a unique educational model, offering real-life working environments (school, veterinary clinic, tourist agency, eco house, microbrewery, restaurant, coffee shop and more) for students from all the vocational and professional fields in which BIC Ljubljana teaches.

VET Teacher and Trainer

The award aims to identify a VET teacher or trainer who has excelled in improving the VET learning experience or has contributed to innovative approaches to VET learning. This award is organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the Platform of European Associations of VET Providers, the European Trade Union Committee for Education and the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU).

Mr Vitalij Kabelis, Lithuania

Vitalij Kabelis is an expert teacher-trainer from Vilnius car mechanics and business school in Lithuania. His enthusiastic training style inspires students to strive for excellence in the construction, diagnosis and repair of car electric management systems. He is a judge and trainer of competitors in the EuroSkills international mechanics competitions, and develops e-learning tools and workshops for Lithuanian and European vocational teachers, students and workers.

VET Researcher

The award addresses researchers making an outstanding contribution to research in the field of green and/or digital transitions, in line with the Commission priorities for 2019-24: "A European Green Deal" and "A Europe fit for the digital age".

Team Prof Dr Raija Hämäläinen, University of Jyväskylä, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Finland

The driving force for research is our rapidly changing world. VET must aim not only to nurture specific professional competencies, but also to support productive learning processes. In addition to understanding the effects of technology on learning and professional development, our research aims to understand how learning and interaction processes occur and unfold over time at workplaces such as in hospitals, flight simulators and industrial contexts. We also develop and apply novel methods, such as eye-tracking and heartrate variability.

The Entrepreneurial School Award TES, JA Europe

The award encourages vocational and academic schools to put more emphasis on teaching entrepreneurial skills as a way to better prepare young people for the jobs of tomorrow.

Higher College for Engineering Wolfsberg (HTL Wolfsberg), Austria

The Higher College for Engineering Wolfsberg offers high-level vocational technical education in mechanical engineering, mechatronics, business informatics and industrial engineering. The school is well-known for its sustainable business collaborations, its technological final-thesis projects and its successes in innovation competitions, and is certified as a Competence Centre Entrepreneurship Education in Engineering.

Category: European funding for excellence in VET

European Social Fund

The purpose of this award is to give visibility to excellent ESF practices in the area of VET and skills development that make people more competitive on the labour market. This is a closed competition managed by the Commission in cooperation with the ESF Managing Authorities.

“Green Leather Manager”, Regione del Veneto - Area Capitale Umano, Cultura e Programmazione comunitaria, Italy

The Italian leather industry is rapidly shifting from traditional processes characterised by a heavy environmental impact to more sustainable processes. In this perspective, ITS Cosmo launched a two-year course, co-financed by ESF resources, to train a new generation of Green Leather Managers responsible for developing sustainable products and processes in Arzignano’s leather cluster, a concentration of hundreds of businesses in the Veneto region.

Erasmus+ Distance Learning

he award draws public attention to the Erasmus+ programme’s success stories within projects:
- focusing on environmental protection, climate change or new ICT and digital competences;
- demonstrating excellence in distance learning.
This is a closed competition managed by the European Commission in cooperation with the Erasmus+ National Agencies.

BLESABEE - “Innovative Blended Learning Toolkit for the Safe Pest Management of Honeybees”, Stredna Odborna Skola, Slovakia
Partner countries: SK, CZ, AT

Project BLESSABEE – from healthy bees to healthy people. The century of using chemicals is over, but the fight against the parasitic Varroa destructor mite isn’t. The international project combined research with practice. The result: a training course on non-chemical treatment of bee colonies by hyperthermia. The project’s motto is ‘triple safety’ – safe for bees, beekeepers and bee products.

Erasmus+ Green Dimension

This is a closed competition managed by the European Commission in cooperation with the Erasmus+ National Agencies.

"Energy efficiency in operation", Staatliche Technikerschule Mindelheim, Germany

To save the planet, we need internationalisation, a change of perspectives and knowledge about energy. Therefore our students are trained, travel and create workshops to share their knowledge in a foreign language with fellow students in special hands-on Energy Days at our partner college in Crewe (UK). This at-eye-level method does work – and could all over the world!

Category: European Agencies awards


The purpose of this award is to mobilise VET learners throughout Europe to showcase what VET means to them through a series of photos and, optionally, video. Teams of up to four learners are invited to produce an original photo story on VET: their "green or digital skills" story.

"Digital & Green Waves", 2nd VET School of Thessaloniki – OAED, Greece
Team members: Eleni FRANSIZI, Eleftheria-Giannoula SOKOLAKI, Eleftheria PIGKA, Sofia TSOCHATARIDOU

The four elements of nature are earth, air, water and fire. Our team of graphic designers focused on earth, presenting our own notion of “green”, which is not something ordinary. For us, “green” is family and friends who give colour to our days; it’s recalling precious moments and emotions; it’s joy and dancing, smiles and passions. It is a person, nostalgia, chaos and inaction. Our “green” is art. Our common stimulus is our interaction with nature. Nature inspires our life and is a major part of our reality. It guides us and defines our thinking. It inspires us in capturing images of our evolution.

ETF Innovation and Skills Award

The award will showcase good practice in teaching and learning digital competence (knowledge, skills and attitudes) at schools, universities and training centres (public or private, formal or non-formal education) providing initial and continuing VET in ETF partner countries.

Centre of Excellence in Construction, Moldova

The Centre of Excellence in Construction offers continuous professional development for VET teachers and trainers aimed at facilitating the transition to distance learning in technical vocational education institutions in the area of construction. The approach is characterised by: (a) focus on pedagogy of digital and online learning for VET teachers; (b) combined classic adult education with blended distance learning with a focus on digital competence development; (c) individual training needs assessment and adaptation of content; (d) assessment based on portfolios and summative approaches; and (e) impact assessment of training.

2020 Special Award: Distance and e-Learning

This year we also present two Special Awards focussing on VET distance learning*
The special awards present two VET providers using or developing VET content for distance learning in an innovative way. This has been shown to be particularly relevant in the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

- University Institute for Sciences and Techniques for Rehabilitation (ISTR), Lyon University, France
- Bursa Coşkunöz Education Foundation, Turkey

* These awards are not included in the online voting