Vocational education and training: Strengthening centres of excellence in Europe

As a result of an European Union (EU) commission initiative, more than 100 regional centres of excellence for vocational education and training (VET) and associated VET networks are set to receive total funding of €400 million from 2021 to 2027.

In a joint statement, unions representing teachers at vocational schools in Germany (Federal Association of VET Teachers, BvLB), Austria (BMHS Trade Union of Teachers at Middle and Higher VET Schools) and Switzerland (VET Switzerland, BCH) have formally welcomed this initiative by the commission. According to the statement, this will enable Europe to meet the demands of an innovative, inclusive and sustainable economy as well as promote sustainable growth, social justice and inclusion.

Since 2019, representative associations of VET teachers have been involved in the Erasmus Plus vocational education and training network "Designing Digitally Supported and Sustainability-Oriented Centres of Excellence in Vocational Education and Training in Europe (DunE-BB-EU 2019-2022)" in order to more clearly define the organisation of regional centres of excellence for vocational education and training in Europe.

When engaging together, European VET network stakeholders realised that centres of excellence for vocational education and training are used as places of knowledge and innovation. This is where local, regional, national and international partners and providers of education, VET and higher education come together to utilise all competencies for the creation of high-quality and excellent vocational education and training. Learners have the opportunity to obtain general and vocational education qualifications at different European qualification framework levels.

In the statement published at the end of June, the unions reminded policymakers that investment is needed by national states in the transformation of vocational schools into regional digitally supported centres of excellence in vocational education and training covering all aspects of sustainability education. According to the statement, Europe needs more than 100 centres of excellence for VET in order to meet the United Nations 17 sustainable development goals by 2030 and the international climate protection goals for each nation by 2050.

Source: dbb.de (website of the German Civil Service Organization), revised by iMOVE, October 2021