“Discover your talent”: it’s the inspiring motto chosen for the third European Vocational Skills Week scheduled from November 5 to 9, with its centre in Vienna and approximately one thousand events in EU28. It’s an initiative of the European Commission in cooperation with the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council. “Thousands of young people all over Europe will have a chance to learn about training and career opportunities thanks to vocational education and training” (VET) at a wide range of initiatives ongoing until December.
Building a career . “VET leads to exciting and rewarding careers in all walks of life – pilots, movie makers, aircraft technicians, you name it!” said the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen during the presentation of the program of the European Week. “What’s more, VET and apprenticeships give people the right skills to match labour market needs”, which vary greatly across EU member Countries and are in constant evolution. The initiative will bring together in Vienna, and in many cities that will host related events, education and training providers, civil society organisations, public authorities, business organisations, trade unions, and the broader public “to raise awareness of the benefits of Vocational Education and Training.”
Poor qualifications among the adult population. Data released by the Commission on vocational training in Europe (source: Eurostat) show that only “49% of upper secondary students in Europe participate in upper secondary VET.” Furthermore, “the employment rate of recent VET graduates in Europe is 74.8%.” The percentage of “low-qualified adults” has been “reducing steadily thanks to the European Social Fund assistance, but is still too high, at 22.5%”, pointed out the Commission.
From school to apprenticeship. The Austrian Federal Minister of Education Heinz Fassmann remarked: “The Austrian Presidency is delighted to be hosting the third edition of the European Vocational Skills Week, which will take place for the first time outside Brussels. Through the choice learners have between a dual apprenticeships scheme and a full-time school-based system, VET forms a highly valued and demanded part of Austrian education and training.”
Increased employability. The explicit goal of the Week is “to show that VET is a smart choice, for young people and adults alike, leading to excellence in education, high-quality jobs and increased employability”, the Commission underlined in a release. “In doing so, the Week contributes to the Skills Agenda for Europe and the roll-out of the European Pillar of Social Rights”, proclaimed a year ago in Goteborg. Through the European Vocational Skills Week, the European Commission wants to raise awareness of the wide range of opportunities available through VET, and encourage more people to participate and learn what it has to offer.” This year, the Week will extend its gaze to the future of this form of education, touching on topics such as digitalisation and internationalisation.
The “map” of events. In the framework of the campaign, opening events and Employers’ Days are being hosted in several Member States; 26 national and pan-EU Ambassadors have been appointed to raise awareness of the initiative, and awards to celebrate excellence in VET will be conferred during the Week. In 2017, the second edition took place with more than 1585 activities organised across Europe reaching 1 million people. The events for the third edition per country can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/social/vocational-skills-week/your-country_en<https://ec.europa.eu/social/vocational-skills-week/your-country_en>