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European Vocational Skills Week
News article9 April 2020Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Newsletter 3/2020


Welcome to the third European Vocational Skills Week 2020 newsletter. In this edition we share news on the Week, Erasmus+, ESF and on the fight against COVID-19 that we are all faced with.

We would also like to use this opportunity to wish you good Easter break!

COVID-19 - Commission and DG EMPL repsonse

The European Commission has launched a Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) to mobilise €37 billion of cohesion policy funds. This will flexibly respond to the rapidly emerging needs in the most exposed sectors, such as healthcare, SMEs, and labour markets, including education and training. It will help the most affected territories in Member States and their citizens:

We also launched a Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative+ to mobilise flexibly all unused Structural and Investment funds. Also, the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) will deliver food aid and basic material assistance through electronic vouchers, and provide protective equipment, thus lowering risk of contamination. The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) will cover temporary stopping of fishing activities, and the suspension of production and additional costs for aquaculture farmers, as well as producer organisations for the storage of fishery and aquaculture products:

You may have seen information on our initiative Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE)? Its aim is to help protect jobs and workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It will provide up to €100 billion of financial assistance to Member States, and will help the whole of Europe.

These loans will assist Member States to cope with sudden increases in public expenditure to preserve employment. Specifically, they will help Member States to cover two types of costs: those directly related to the creation or extension of national short-time work schemes, as well as costs for other similar measures they have put in place for the self-employed. Here are some Q&A:

Education and Training News

ERASMUS+ Practical Advice

The COVID-19 outbreak affects the carrying out of the many activities which are ongoing or were planned, under the Erasmus+ programme and European Solidarity Corps.

You will find practical advice for Erasmus+ beneficiaries and participants in light of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Europa web page :

New Relevance of On-line Resources

The coronavirus pandemic has affected education and training systems worldwide. The European Commission’s website features a page with links to the many platforms that support educators:

Online tools and digital tools are now enabling access to information and environments not usually available in every home or institution.

Together again despite COVID-19!

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closing of education and training institutions all over the world, several initiatives have been mounted to ensure continuity of the learning and teaching through this period. To capture the variety of initiatives that have been undertaken within our VET community on distance learning, the European Commission launched an online survey. Here you can see the overview of the survey and list of links, modules, tools and other initiatives useful for our VET providers:

You can also share your VET activities on distance learning as a response to COVID-19 here: They will be included in the overview available on our website.

All over Europe, practitioners and policy-makers have been moving as fast as they can to implement distance learning. Andrew McCoshan (expert member of the Education and Training 2020 Working Group on VET) reflects on some of the key challenges and opportunities emerging:

Increase your outreach

If you convert your planned physical event/activity into a virtual one due to the COVID-19 crisis, then please register it on our European Vocational Skills Week webpage so that we can associate it with the Week. Once you have done this, you can share the link to your meeting with us and we will promote it on the Week webpage. If you are interested in this option please contact us through this e-mail:

Share a report from your event or activity

You can share a report from your event or activity on our Facebook group or on our Facebook event page at any time.

Nice ESF examples

Although not directly as a response to the crisis, we see a number of European Social Fund projects coming through where VET will help fight COVID-19, for example:

  • Post-graduate medical training of the trainers in Malta: this training is relevant to present and future medical needs, providing medical doctors with the knowledge needed and improving the training environment for postgraduate medical trainees.
  • Digital learning environment for homecare in Finland: this will create a digital learning environment for practical nursing education.
  • Digital competence and ICT infrastructure development in schools in Hungary: this is a very timely large project that means state schools in the convergence regions of Hungary will be equipped with wi-fi, teachers will be provided with laptops and related training, and many schools will be provided with a set of tablets:

European Vocational Skills Week: Call for contibution to the ongoing review!

What is your view of the European Vocational Skills Week? Your thoughts, feedback and suggestions are crucial in designing the future content and ensuring the effectiveness of the initiative.

Technopolis Group have been commissioned by the Commission to review past European Vocational Skills Weeks (2016-2019). This review is important as it is to analyse the achievements and impact of the initiative to date and help shape its future.

Your input matters, therefore we would like to ask you to complete a short survey (no more than 10 minutes) to share your views on the European Vocational Skills Week. Please click on the link below to access the survey:

If you organised national, regional, and local events associated with the European Vocational Skills Week in the past years, you should have already received a different survey link, but you can also complete the more comprehensive survey targeting event organisers through this link:

Thank you in advance for your contribution! We really appreciate all of the feedback you can give.

Join the conversation

Let’s continue the conversation on social media. Use #EUVocationalSkills and #DiscoverYourTalent to follow the conversation online.

Check also our webpage, where we will soon announce the launch of the VET Excellence Awards. We will also share the latest update on the ILO-GAN survey on staff development and training in the context of COVID-19 pandemic for public and private enterprises and other organizations.