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European Vocational Skills Week
News article18 August 2020Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Newsletter 8/2020



In this edition of the European Vocational Skills Week 2020 newsletter, we’re calling for nominations for the VET Excellence Awards and hope to inspire you to organise your own Week event.

The VET Excellence Awards are a great opportunity to showcase your organisation or share your commitment to VET. We’ve highlighted two categories below. Could you be a winner this year?

Training at work award

There are many examples across Europe of entrepreneurs who value their workers and support their development. The Training at Work Award recognises the most active.

The award is open to companies that provide high-quality and inclusive upskilling and/or reskilling programmes for their employees. Applicants must be active in at least one of the EU Member States, EU candidate countries or EFTA countries.

EAfA Tandem Award

The European Alliance of Apprenticeships (EAfA) Tandem Award celebrates cooperation in providing high-quality, effective and inclusive apprenticeships. We want companies and individual apprentices to present an excellent example of apprenticeships in Europe.

It’s open to micro, small, medium and large companies that provide apprenticeships, and apprentices past or present. The application can come from either the company or the apprentice, but it must be supported by both parties. Applicants must be members of the EAfA.


This year we’re encouraging you to organise digital events/activities to promote VET – it could be a webinar, digital press campaign, online careers fair, Facebook Live, Instagram Live or another online gathering.

There are already 215 events registered across all Member States, reaching more than 626 000 people. Here are some examples:

At the Leksand Careers Fair, WorldSkills Sweden will be present with virtual reality gear to give high school pupils a taste of workplace study visits. They hope to encourage young people to consider VET as a way forward.

The annual German Skilled Crafts Performance Championship showcases the skills of young artisans and raises awareness of the importance of vocational training in the crafts sector.

In Lyon, an online event organised by the Croix-Rouge française will share testimonies from former VET students to inspire prospective students.

Feeling inspired to organise your own event or activity?
Registration is simple: just follow the instructions on this page. Spread the word about your event/activity and VET, with these toolkits to ensure effective communications, media relations and social media activities.


On 15 July 2020, participants from across the EU dialled in remotely to take part in a High Level Expert Live Discussion on the renewed European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA). Hosted by Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, the event took place on World Skills Day 2020 and marked the launch of a renewed EAfA.

The event emphasised the commitment of the German European Council Presidency towards supporting provision of VET, such as apprenticeships, and stressed the need to expand the availability of digital education and training to make VET more accessible.

A series of panel discussions explored what the renewed EAfA means for the role of businesses and apprentices, the role of regions, chambers and VET providers, and the role of social partners.

This was the third in a series of EAfA Live Discussions and the full report can be found here. The next topic will be announced soon and the discussion will take place in August 2020.


Don’t forget to share your VET story with others. On the Week website you can read the stories of how organisations and individuals are using VET to change their lives and influence their communities. How about these examples:

Zuzanna from Poland, whose traineeship in a Valencia tailor’s shop helped her realise her passion for sewing and increased her determination to develop her dressmaking talents.

Alina, a food technology teacher from Romania, who took her students on an intercultural trip to Italy.

You can share your story with the VET community here.


The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency has reported on the Erasmus+ Programme KA3 action: Support for small and medium-sized enterprises engaging in apprenticeships. A total of 16 projects were selected in nine Member States, from 91 applications.

The objective was to provide support for SMEs offering apprenticeships, either newly engaging or substantially increasing their current supply. The call was organised in two groups:

Intermediary bodies (e.g. chambers of industry, trade and crafts) aimed at building up capacity for intermediary bodies or using the supply chain of bigger companies to develop and set up support structures for SMEs.

European networks promoting targeted cooperation between the umbrella organisation of existing European networks/organisations and their national members or affiliates for developing and setting up support structures for SMEs.

In addition, projects conducted thorough research and consulted experts via interviews or focus groups. These activities aimed to analyse apprenticeship delivery and policy, SMEs’ needs, best practice and the skills required of in-company trainers. The results are mostly still available on the projects’ websites and contain information relevant to SMEs and VET institutions.

The majority of partnerships created online resources to make useful information to increase the quality of apprenticeships publicly available and to provide administrative guidance to SMEs. Some developed tools to assess companies’ readiness to hire apprentices and demonstrate where improvement is still needed. Many of these tools are still freely accessible online.

All projects widely disseminated results at events, via social media and in written communications. Some organised large-scale campaigns and several used testimonies to highlight the benefits of apprenticeships.

Download the full report here.

Join the conversation

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