Vocational Education and Smart Specialisation Strategies: Report from the joint JRC – DG EMPL workshop

Publication article | | Teresa Paiva, Dana Redford, John Edwards

This report presents the main outcomes of a workshop on Vocational Education and Smart Specialisation held at EIT house on 30 January 2020.


Vocational Education and Training (VET) has been recognized as fundamental in providing skills to support innovation and smart specialisation through what is referred to as ‘Vocational Excellence’. It provides training that is responsive to business needs, for both initial qualifications of young people as well as for continuing up-skilling and re-skilling of adults. Seeking excellence in VET is also the aim of the Erasmus+ Call on Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVE). Despite the progress achieved, it is necessary to broaden the concept to help modernise this key sector of the educational and training system. CoVEs have a crucial role to play in providing the skills to deliver Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3), while also contributing to a wide range of other policy goals (e.g. Competitiveness, Social Cohesion, transition to the green and digital economy, active ageing, etc.), with targeted support from the EU funding instruments.
The organisation of this workshop reinforced the work already initiated by the Joint Research Centre and the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion to explore and strengthen the connections between VET and S3. After the launch of the five CoVE pilot projects in 2019, and in anticipation of the results of the second Erasmus+ Call for Proposals, this workshop reports reflects on what can be improved, and proposes recommendations on how the policy approach can provide most added value.

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