For the first time, a German provider is a recipient of the EU award for vocational education and training. What's more, this provider is from the bakery trade. This also demonstrates the positive changes in a sector which has successfully exploited its market opportunities in the face of the dominance of the food industry and food retailers.
For the fourth time, and in collaboration with the European training provider associations, the European Commission has awarded the "Vocational Excellence Award" for outstanding performance in the area of vocational education and training. This is awarded in four categories. Following selection of nominees by an international jury, European-wide online voting plays a role in arriving at the final decision. More than 15,000 people participated in this. 25 finalists from 19 European countries were invited to the Finnish capital Helsinki as part of "European Vocational Skills Week". At the end of the awards ceremony in the Finlandia Hall, Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility announced the now highly anticipated results.
In the "Innovative Vocational Education and Training Provider Award", the EU Award for 2019 went to the German Bakers Academy based in Weinheim in Baden-Württemberg. It is the training organisation for all bakery associations in Germany. Director Bernd Kütscher accepted the prize in Helsinki and in turn presented EU Commissioner Thyssen with a huge loaf of bread. One of the first people present to pass on their congratulations was Germany's first lady Elke Büdenbende, wife of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Michael Wippler, President of the German Central Association of Bakers and also chairman of the Academy, was delighted at receiving the high-level recognition: "Our national Academy is a beacon in Germany and in Europe with its innovative training provision. From virtual bakery tours using VR technology, to quiz-based learning apps and continuing education and training which is unique around the world, new standards are being set continually in Weinheim. These combine traditional craft trades techniques with innovative training provision and successfully bring our trade to the fore. Other trade and technical schools in the academy association also benefit from this."
Bernd Kütscher commented: "The award acknowledges an enormous team effort and ultimately underlines the quality of training as a whole in the German skilled trades and in particular in the bakery trade. We dedicate this to those who attend our training courses and to all the other people involved on a day-to-day basis in the area of initial and continuing education and training."