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European Vocational Skills Week
News article19 November 2017Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion3 min read

Closing ceremony of the first European Vocational Skills Week


The closing ceremony of the first European Vocational Skills Week on Friday, 9 December 2016 gathered some 600 participants from Vocational Education and Training, business, social partners, chambers of commerce, civil society, think tanks, research bodies and public authorities. More than 900 activities and events registered as part of the Week took place between September and December all over Europe.

Nine awards have been given for outstanding, innovative or remarkable performances. The idea of Awards is not aimed to single out the absolute best compared to any other possible alternative, but rather to provide a good example of what happens across Europe in the field of Vocational Education and Training. The European Vocational Skills Week 2016 Awards will motivate/inspire and showcase the benefits of Vocational Education and Training.

The awards were handed over by Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, who emphasised in her closing speech the dedication and shared effort put in by Member States, regions, VET providers, teachers, learners, the inspiring Ambassadors and businesses. She pointed out that making VET a first choice is one of the 10 key actions of the European Commission's Skills Agenda for Europe.


"The Best of Europe" Award, organised by EuroSkills 2016, Gothenburg, Sweden

Lisa Janisch, Austria for her outstanding skills. Lisa Janisch competed in her skills in the painting and decorating sector, among one of the 35 official skills competitions for the title Best of Europe. She competed not only with peers in her own skills profession, but also with 444 National Champions from all over Europe.

"Youth in Education and Training" Award

Nico Conti, Malta and Raquel Pinto, Portugal. This is a VET video/photo competition organised by Cedefop, Thessaloniki (EL) with two winners. The proposed photos/videos had to relate to the theme: "Youth in education and training".

“ETF Good Practice in the area of Youth Entrepreneurship Training" Award

The European Training Foundation (ETF), Torino (IT) published an open call for good practices in the area of youth entrepreneurship training in 2016. The award was given to Smadar Or, Israel, ORT Technology & Science Educational Network. ORT provides highly innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to technical and vocational education and training through project-based learning.

"Innovative VET provider" Award

This award is for the VET provider introducing/using innovative teaching methodologies, organised by the European Commission. The award was handed out to Rabbe Ede, Director of OPTIMA, Finland. OPTIMA was selected for their sustainable proactive efforts to innovative and flexible learning pathways and participative governance.

"VET researcher" Award, organised by the European Commission

Professor Dr Martin Mulder, Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands was awarded for his lifetime contribution to research on vocational education and training. Competence-based Education: Bridging the Worlds of Work and Education.

"EAfA Awards"

Applicants were identified and selected through the members of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA)
◾Category "apprentices":

Megan Niven, Nielsen (UK), for her active role in developing awareness of Apprenticeships in the Oxfordshire region. Megan has now a permanent position as Training Coordinator and is a formal Coach for Nielsen's 2016 Apprenticeship scheme.

The selection committee appreciated in particular her pro-active attitude to his work and the initiatives she has taken in the field of training and apprenticeships which go far beyond what was expected of an apprentice.

Lewis Churchill, IBM Europe. Lewis has repeatedly identified opportunities to extend his knowledge and skills, resulting in tangible business impact. He is recognised as a top performer at his level, receiving multiple IBM practice awards. He has contributed to the professional development of other apprentices and has been an active ambassador for apprenticeships at numerous events for school children.

The selection committee appreciated in particular his engagement and performance in the company and his personal development from somebody with difficulties at school into a responsible co-worker contributing to the company's objectives.
◾Category "companies":

Petronor, part of the REPSOL Group (ES). The company has a strong social commitment in a region with a well-established tradition of vocational training. The motivation to engage in vocational training comes from the awareness of the fact that the company's competitiveness depends on the quality of their personnel. Since the year 2000, Petronor has trained 400 people in work-based training programmes. This year they started a project for dual vocational training. Petronor, with the support of Basque institutions, has designed a 2-year programme for Specialist Dual Training.

The selection committee appreciated in particular Petronor's good cooperation with VET providers in the region in order to develop apprenticeship programmes that lead to a qualification. It also appreciated that Petronor actively develops training programmes that correspond their training needs.