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European Vocational Skills Week
News article13 July 2020Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Newsletter 7/2020

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In the latest edition of the European Vocational Skills Week newsletter, we mark the launch of the 2020 event with a video from our new Commissioner, Nicolas Schmit.

We’re also delighted to be able to announce how the Week will happen this year, with all the necessary safety precautions in mind. Read on to find out how you can win a trip to be part of the hybrid event in Berlin – and be sure to register your own local online activities.

Happy reading!

Announcing the European Vocational Skills Week 2020

The European Commission is happy to announce that the next European Vocational Skills Week will be held from 9 to 13 November 2020 in hybrid format – partly in person in Berlin and partly online. In the video below, Commissioner Schmit officially launches the 2020 Week by explaining how VET is more important than ever in these difficult times.

→ Watch the video now

In agreement with the hosting German Presidency, we will limit attendance in Berlin to some 200 people, to respect the requirements of the COVID-19 period. Some of the meetings are carried over from previous years (such as our Directors- General for Vocational Training and the European Alliance for Apprenticeships), while others are new, such as the launch of the Skills Pact and a meeting dedicated to the role of social partners.

Don’t be put off by the apparent smaller number of activities this year. With the formal launch of the communications campaign and the upgraded online format, we expect to reach more people than ever before.

Important landmarks for Commission VET initiatives

On 1 July, the European Commission put forward an ambitious agenda to guide the recovery efforts in employment and society.


The Commission Communication on a European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience puts forward 12 EU actions aimed at supporting partnerships for skills, upskilling and reskilling for jobs, and empowering people to keep on learning throughout their lives. A major deliverable will be a new Pact for Skills to be launched in November 2020 during the European Vocational Skills Week.


The Commission proposal for a Council Recommendation on vocational education and training (VET) for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience provides the recipe to make sure VET equips young people and adults with the skills to support both the recovery and the green and digital transitions, while ensuring inclusiveness. It also puts forward EU-level actions to support VET reform and clear quantitative objectives.


The Commission Communication on Youth Employment Support: a Bridge to Jobs for the Next Generation sets out steps for averting a new youth employment crisis, with a proposal for a reinforced Youth Guarantee and modernised VET policy, a renewed focus on apprenticeships and a number of additional investment priorities to help young people. It also clarifies the vast array of EU funding instruments that can be mobilised to this end.


The Commission proposal for a Council Recommendation on a Bridge to Jobs – reinforcing the Youth Guarantee – provides a fresh look to our most established labour market intervention. It broadens the target group to ages 15 to 29, enhancing support for the hardest-to- reach. The reinforced Youth Guarantee also steps up the skills dimension by preparing young people for an increasingly digital world of work with short, targeted training.


Public consultation on the New Digital Education Action Plan:
In September 2020, the European Commission intends to update its Digital Education Action Plan and work further to promote high-quality and inclusive education and training in the digital age. The public consultation seeks to gather the views and experiences of all citizens, institutions and organisations from the public and private sectors on the unprecedented coronavirus crisis, the related switch to distance and online learning, and their vision for the future of digital education in Europe.

The consultation was launched on 18 June and will be open until 4 September 2020.


Second wave of the Eurofound survey “Living, working and COVID-19”
The COVID-19 outbreak is having a profound impact, with far-reaching implications for the way we live and work in Europe and beyond. Following Eurofound’s first pan-EU survey, Living, working and COVID-19, carried out in April 2020, the second wave of this survey is now open.

Launched on 26 June, the second wave will try to capture changes over time as Europe moves into a new phase where restrictions on work, travel and daily life are slowly being lifted. Based primarily on the same set of questions relevant to people across various age groups and life situations, the second wave will also include additional questions focusing largely on the self-employed. It takes approximately 10 minutes to complete, is anonymous and is designed for the general population aged 18 years or older and living in the EU Member States. It is also open to people from other countries.

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Europass, here we go!

The Commission has launched the new Europass, marking a fresh chapter in the modernisation of EU tools for skills. The new Europass offers a range of e-Portfolio tools for people of all ages, at all stages of their lives, to help them communicate their skills, qualifications and experience and manage their learning and career.
Discover all its features here.

Launch of Renewed European Alliance for Apprenticeships

The European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) aims to strengthen the supply, quality, image and mobility of apprenticeships. In order to give a renewed boost to apprenticeships across the EU, the Commission’s Youth Employment Support package of 1 July 2020 announced a renewed European Alliance for Apprenticeships. The renewed Alliance will call for new commitments for digital and green apprenticeships, focusing on the economic sectors that will be on the frontline of the transition to a climate-neutral Europe.

The Launch of the Renewed European Alliance for Apprenticeships will be organised virtually on 15 July (16.30-18.00). Invited guests will be high-level representatives of the different EAfA stakeholder groups (social partners, businesses, chambers, regions, youth organisations, VET providers). The meeting will be introduced by Commissioner Schmit followed by two statements from German ministers: Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister for Education and Research, and Hubertus Heil, Federal Minister for Labour and Social Affairs.


Are you organising a local activity as part of European Vocational Skills Week? This year we’re encouraging you to organise digital events to promote VET – it could be a webinar, digital press campaign, online careers fair, Facebook Live, Instagram Live or another online gathering. Whatever activity you’re planning, be sure to register it before 31 July to be in with a chance of winning a trip to the main event in Berlin.

Register via this link and when your submission is approved, you’ll automatically be entered into the prize draw. What’s more, we’ll shortly be sharing with you a handbook containing all the tips you need to organise a successful VET activity

Don’t forget to share your VET story with others! There’s a special section for this on the European Vocational Skills Week website. Read the stories of organisations and individuals and be inspired by how VET is influencing their lives and their communities.

EPALE – the Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe – has achieved a new milestone: it reached more than 70 000 registrations in June 2020.

Are you one of those 70 000 registered EPALE users? If not, you’re missing out on a rich reservoir of information, teaching and training resources and good practices. As well as blogs, news, partner search, literature and teaching tools and materials, EPALE hosts communities of practice – online groups where people with similar interests from the sector can build a common space for exchanging information, opinions and good practices.

In particular during the COVID-19 pandemic, more adult learning professionals have joined EPALE to offer help and information on ways to overcome the challenge of providing adult learning opportunities online. You too can share your experience with the EPALE Community Response to COVID-19 section.

Join the conversation!

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