The Commission unveiled the 12 winners of the VET Excellence Awards

European Vocational Skills Week took place across Europe and beyond last week (16-20 May). Organized annually by the European Commission, it is an opportunity to celebrate best practice in vocational education and training (VET), bringing together everyone involved – from local to national and regional authorities, students, teachers and actors from education and training organizations – to present the benefits that VET offers to young people and adults alike. This year’s sixth edition focused on “VET and the Green Transition”, helping people to acquire the skills needed for the green transition, in line with the European Green Deal.

During the VET Excellence Awards ceremony, the Commission announced the winners of this flagship award in different categories. An apprentice accountant from Greece, the Piedmont region of Italy and a Swedish tree care program received the European Vocational Skills Week 2022 Excellence Award, along with 9 other winners.

Vice President for the Promotion of the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinasmentioned: “It is great to see so many outstanding nominees and winners, celebrating the real benefits that vocational education and training can offer everyone, young and old alike. They show the transformational impact that education and training can have on people’s careers and lives. I would also like to give a “special mention” to our partners in Ukraine. We have worked closely, also through the European Training Foundation, and will continue to do so, to provide support on issues such as qualifications, to help the people of Ukraine in these extremely difficult times.

Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights, Nicolas schmitmentioned: “The green transition can become a real job driver if people are given the support they need to succeed in their careers and in changing labor markets. The VET Excellence Awards help us identify the best approaches to becoming fit to the green economy, overcoming the current labor shortages in key sectors such as construction, manufacturing and energy. I would like to congratulate all the nominees and VET learners, and to thank the thousands of vocational education and training providers for their dedication.”

This year’s winners

The Commission granted 12 awards in four categories and a special mention to apprentices, projects, companies and regions, from the EU, neighboring and neighboring countries, who have successfully used VET to build a greener, more digital and more inclusive society.

Winners include:

  • Evangelos Pouftasapprentice in an accounting firm in Greecewhich demonstrated the key role of apprentices in accelerating the digital transition of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), helping the company’s customers to digitize their work, such as setting up online services to remain competitive , particularly in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the increase in remote working.
  • the Piedmont region in Italy,with the support of the European Social Fund, promoted among young learners a culture of sustainability in food production and consumption along the agri-food chain.
  • the Project “Certification of Veterans Tree Management Skills” by Stiftelsen Pro Natura. This Swedish programme, funded by Erasmus+, is designed to raise the standard of care for trees that have an exceptional value for the conservation of nature, landscape or culture, called “veteran trees”.

The other winners are:

  • AKMI SA, Greece
  • Program ‘Professional inclusion and equal opportunities for the most disadvantaged’, ALMI BILBAO SAL, Spain
  • Cyclades – 5and Patra Evening Vocational High School, Greece
  • Environmental and agricultural education at school, Georgia
  • Teacher. Dr. Linda Clarke, University of Westminster, UK
  • ÖBB Infrastructure AG, Austria
  • Otto Stöckl Elektroinstallationen GmbH, Austria
  • Riga State Technical School, Latvia
  • virtual dawn, Finland

In addition to the prizes in the different categories, a special mention to Ukrainian partners who, together with the European Training Foundation, have reformed their education and training systems, focusing on qualifications, the future of skills in key economic sectors and governance arrangements to modernize the system and bring it closer of the EU system.

EU actions to promote VET

The Commission actively promotes vocational education and training as part of its work to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights, and in particular the right to education, training and lifelong learning of life. This is also important to achieve the main objective of the EU Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights to which all partners committed at the Porto Social Summit: at least 60% of all adults should participate to training every year.

On 1 July 2020, the Commission proposed a Council Recommendation on Vocational Education and Training, to make VET more modern, attractive, flexible and fit for the digital age and the green transition. This proposal is in line with other Commission initiatives, such as the European Skills Agenda and the Communication on supporting youth employment – ​​A gateway to employment for the next generation.

In addition, the Commission presented in December 2021 proposals for individual learning accounts and micro-certificates, to help open up more possibilities for people to find learning offers and employment opportunities.

The European Commission also supports vocational education and training through significant funding, such as through the European Social Fund Plus (with a total budget of nearly €99.3 billion for 2021-2027) , Erasmus+ and the Recovery and Resilience Facility, which has “reskilling and upskilling” as one of its seven flagship areas for reform and investment.

Comments are closed.