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European Vocational Skills Week
News article30 April 2020Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

COVID-19 – we need European Vocational Skills Week more than ever


There’s never been anything like COVID-19 in our modern times, but European Vocational Skills Week is one tool that can help us deal with the challenges we all face in Europe’s VET community.

European Vocational Skills Week can help us face up to an uncertain future.

COVID-19 is having major impacts on VET, but VET is also a key part of the solutions to the problems that lockdowns and social distancing rules will bring to the economy and society. This is why we cannot give up. We need to go online to promote the value of VET as part of EVSW.

  • In terms of the challenges VET faces, already we can see:
  • Uncertainty about how best to deliver VET to young people and apprentices already on programmes.
  • The danger of inequalities in access to VET increasing since learners vary in their access to digital devices and the internet.
  • Adults in work being laid off or furloughed who are now at home.

In response, we can see VET:

  • Building a base of online/distance learning experience that could be a foundation for further development.
  • Taking steps to ensure all learners can access the new opportunities being put in place.
  • Finding ways to support adults who are at home to develop their skills and better prepare for the post-pandemic labour market.

At the same time, everyone who works in VET is facing the challenge of finding out how best to use digital learning tools.

And it’s here that the European Vocational Skills Week can really help - by providing an unrivalled forum for identifying common problems and exchanging solutions.

So what can you do as part of the Week?

1. Choosing the right method for the right audience

EVSW is great for promoting the value of VET and exchanging practical ideas. Fortunately, a key benefit of going online is that it enables different audiences to be targeted in different ways - and the list of potential target groups has likely got longer with COVID-19. This incudes current/future VET learners, trades unions, employers, parents of young learners, adults who have been furloughed or made redundant, policy-makers, learners with poor access to the digital world, the wider community ...

With on-line tools you can:

  • Pre-record content like a presentation of what’s been done to meet the COVID-19 challenges.
  • Livestream an event or discussion.
  • Write and publish articles and blogs.
  • Organise a remote conference to discuss challenges and solutions with project partners or stakeholders.
  • Have an online competition or exhibition.
  • Organise a virtual open day of your training centre.

For each of these methods, there’s big range of options available including social media channels like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook etc; and remote conferencing apps like Zoom, GoToWebinar, Google Hangouts.

An important step will be to get the right channel for the right audience: e.g. social media for young people; twitter, LinkedIn and remote conferencing for practitioners, policy-makers/practitioners.

2. What about the content – let’s get creative!

COVID-19 raises a large number of questions. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Show how online learning can be used to develop all types of knowledge, skills and competences using videos of concrete examples.
  • Share your views on how digital and green professional skills could help the post-pandemic recovery.
  • Post a series of short testimonials from VET learners and apprentices about the value of your programmes and what’s been achieved during COVID-19. Under supervision, they could prepare and run their own online activities to show.

Andrew McCoshan (Expert member of Education and Training 2020 Working Group)