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European Vocational Skills Week
News announcement20 November 2017Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Vocational skills in an unexpected place


When Sava took part in an Erasmus+ art education project while in prison, he never could have guessed how it would shape his future.

Sava Kostadinov was serving out a prison sentence in Bulgaria when he got the chance to participate in an Erasmus+ project. The project, which ran from 2014-2016, supported the development of art education in prison and allowed Sava to paint – something he quickly grew to love.

It also gave him a new direction for his professional life after prison. Once his sentence had ended, Sava began studying icon painting at Veliko Tarnovo University. During his time there, he produced a copy of an iconic painting from the Danish National Gallery, showing the father of adult education Nikolai F.S. Grundtvig, to show how much he appreciated the Erasmus+ programme.

Nowadays, Sava is devoted to a career in heritage preservation and icon painting. He fondly remembers the influence the Erasmus+ project had on him. “My involvement in a European project opened new horizons for me,” he says. “I never dreamt anything like this could happen to me. The project was the turning point of my life.”

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