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European Vocational Skills Week
News article19 October 2023Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Connecting the dots: over 500 participants at the Forum on Vocational Excellence in Amsterdam

The Forum on Vocational Excellence 2023 took place on 25 and 26 September in Amsterdam. Over 500 vocational excellence professionals exchanged best practices, co-created solutions for common challenges and expanded their network to ensure that Europe.

forum vet

The Forum is an annual event, organised by the Community of Practice of the Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs). The 2023 Forum was jointly organised by the Community of Practice on CoVEs, Katapult (main organiser) and Tknika, in cooperation with the European Commission. 

Vocational Excellence in Action: the Forum in a nutshell 

On the first day, participants dove into the Dutch VET system by visiting a local public-private partnership. In these public-private partnerships, VET providers, Universities of Applied Science, regional governments, employers, and other stakeholders in the regional skills ecosystem are working on innovation in education, lifelong learning, applied research, sharing facilities and creating networks to ensure students and workers have the right skills to do their jobs. You can find more information about the visits here

The second day started with an interactive talk show, followed by on site and online workshops.  

The 'Working on skills, what works?' talk show featured: 

  • Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights 

  • Robbert Dijkgraaf, Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science 

  • Gaby Allard, member of the executive board of the VET College of Amsterdam and board member of the Dutch association of VET providers 

  • Rossella Ricco, senior expert on diversity management at GiGroup (part of the GIVE CoVE) 

  • Anna Rossband, euro apprentice. 

Speaking about the importance of supporting young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs), Nicolas Schmit said that “there is a need to step up the support to NEETs, reaching out to them effectively and providing targeted support, including upskilling. There are almost 8 million of them. During the European Year of Skills, we have a special focus on activating more people for the labour market, in particular women and young people, especially NEETs.” 


What are the Centres of Vocational Excellence? 

The Erasmus+ initiative on Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) enables VET providers to rapidly adapt skills provisions to changing economic and social needs. This is possible by collaborating with companies to provide high-quality vocational skills to both young people and adults. Partners include providers of VET, universities of applied sciences, employers, research centres, development agencies, and employment services (among others), which work together in international collaborative networks.  

The Erasmus+ programme 2021-2027 aims to support the establishment of 100 international networks of Centres of Vocational Excellence in the period 2021-2027, with €400 million in grants to support the initiative.