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European Vocational Skills Week
News article5 April 2022Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Highlights of the Info Day Webinar: How to organise your online VET event & link it to the Week

Highlights of the Info Day Webinar

Organising online events linked to the European Vocational Skills Week 2022 (the Week) has become so much easier for those who attended the successful Info Day Webinar that took place 29 March 2022.

Experts gave attendees critical practical information, while attendees could ask questions and respond to polls to give feedback and get support and ideas. Overall, 188 participants from several countries joined the discussion with expert advisors in the public and private sectors.

Ana Carrero, Deputy Head of Unit, Vocational Education and Training, at the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, presented a detailed overview of the Week’s goals and main activities scheduled. ‘We want to showcase the excellence of VET and attract not only young people, but adults of a working age. We all know how important re-skilling is to overcome the challenges of the digital transition. We also want to make sure employers are aware of the benefits VET education offers for sustainable growth.’

The Commission has developed a set of key messages per target audience to keep the Week’s events harmonised, which is particularly important for any events that are officially linked to the Week. There are many good reasons to link your event to the Week: ‘It’s an opportunity to contribute to greater awareness, and we will help you get visibility and exposure for your event as well as provide resources to help make your event a success,’ explained Ms Carrero. It is important to demonstrate key criteria to make sure those planning events will be eligible to link their activity to the Week.

Moderator Brian Maguire (journalist and communications expert) presented a 10-point quick start guide for organising an online event, focusing on the top keys to success, prefaced by the many benefits of the online format - including expanded reach, access to important data analytics to help improve future events, higher attendance than in-person, and lower time and cost. It’s all about knowing your target audience, adjusting the messages for them, engaging them and, of course, avoiding technical issues, all of which increase attendance. As Mr Maguire explained: ‘Keep it simple and make it intuitive, choose the platform people are familiar with, provide accurate instructions and reminders - and test everything!’

Audience engagement is essential. ‘Make it a two-way conversation and use chat for collecting questions. Invite speakers who have valuable information to share and make sure they have a strong good social media presence to drive engagement,’ added Mr Maguire. On engaging the media: ‘newspapers need to fill their space; your job is to make it easy for them,’ he explained, while pointing to the available communication toolkits for those linking their events to the Week.

A slido poll showed that almost 4 in 10 participants were not comfortable with reaching out to the press to promote their events and activities. Media relations expert Beata Pal Christodoulou offered several tips, emphasising the necessity of simplicity when engaging the press as a key element to achieving media coverage. Even though engaging the media can be challenging, it can be a success if you ‘have something really special to share’. Ms Christodoulou shared examples of news angles that might be of interest to journalists, particularly if they have a human-interest element, like the success stories on the Week’s website.

The important role of National Contact Points (NCPs) in partnering with local event organisers to help them get their message out and gain exposure was also highlighted during the webinar. Mariama Idrisu (event organisation and planning expert, as well as stakeholder lead for the Week,) gave an overview of the role and mission of NCPs, adding, ‘We, the stakeholder team, also remain available to help you as much as we can’. Evelin Männiste, communications manager at HARNO, the Estonian NCP for the 2022 Week Campaign, deep dived into the types of activities that NCPs undertake and shared examples of what worked for Estonia’s NCP and others in previous online events.

NCPs can help event organisers gain media coverage, supporting them through their networks to get the message out. Such practical support is critical, but so is the sense of solidarity. ‘Networking, having a dedicated landing page, and marketing support are all important, but it is also crucial to provide motivation and support to organisations that want to organise events to ensure they do not feel alone,’ Ms Männiste said. Solidarity is augmented by linking to the Week. ‘Organise one small event, but be a part of a much larger one,’ she concluded.

If you are interested in organising an event before, during or after the Week and are based in the EUEFTA, EU candidate countries, or are supported by the European Training Foundation, find out how you can link your event to the Week today. Benefit from a host of co-promotional activity and higher visibility, while also gaining access to a range of communication toolkits and tips from experts.