The CaixaBank Dualiza and the Association of Vocational Training Centres FPEmpresa have selected the most outstanding projects from educational centres for their originality, content or impact in terms of encouraging students to take up vocational training.

Specifically, 28 ideas were selected from a total of 145 submitted throughout Spain. This figure represents a new record in the number of projects presented in this call, demonstrating the interest of educational centres in publicising their educational offer and Vocational Training. It also highlights the need for tools to carry out this purpose.

The interest aroused, in addition to the definitive application of the new Vocational Training Law planned for this year, has led to around ten projects incorporating specific actions related to the new regulations.

However, innovation is also gaining strength in many of the ideas presented, ranging from traditional open days to virtual visits to the centres, or the incorporation of robots that can provide all the information on vocational training to interested families.

Technology is gaining importance in many projects. Thus, it can be seen how, in order to promote farming families, the possibility of bringing a person closer to the formation of a honeycomb and the daily activity of bees is proposed, how the families of students are integrated into virtual or immersive realities, or how an Escape Room becomes an Escape Food to save the population from shortages by attracting new vocations.

At the same time, many are considering the option of approaching young people through social networks, either by using the tools provided by applications such as TikTok or by producing video podcasts to showcase the training on offer.

Getting closer to the reality of companies continues to be the main focus of many of the initiatives, whether through guided tours or meetings and open days.

In most of the initiatives, the gender gap is also addressed through measures to reduce it in strongly masculinised cycles. These include the creation of an application that allows young female students to get in touch with women who have studied technological professions and have developed in these professions.

In addition, projects aimed at primary school students have also been selected, as they lack the prejudices that may accumulate in other age groups and are more likely to receive activities that represent a first approach to vocational training. Once again, the majority of the projects received came from public schools, 71%, compared to 23% from state-subsidised schools and barely 6% from private schools.

Curiously, two of the vocational families that receive most demand, such as Administration and Management and Computer Science and Communications, are also the two with the highest concentration of these guidance projects.

The Guidance Call is a project launched by CaixaBank Dualiza and FPEmpresa with the aim of supporting educational centres in their work to raise awareness of vocational training among students who are in the process of deciding their academic future. In its five editions, around 120 educational centres have taken part through around one hundred projects that have had an impact on thousands of students.

To see the list of selected projects in this new edition, you can access through this link.

The Association of Vocational Training Centres FPEmpresa has attended on 30-31 of January in 2024 the first face-to-face meeting of the European project ENNEPlus – Enhancing VET National Networks Through Ecoinnovation at the All Digital office in Brussels (Belgium).

This project is the successor of the previous ENNEPlus project and will run from 2024 to 2026. The aim of ENNEPlus is to enhance the capacity of VET providers to contribute to transformative and sustainable change in their local communities through networking, capacity building and challenge-based activities in the field of eco-innovation.

The project meeting was led by Egina (International Academy of European Fellowships), the project coordinator in Italy, and was attended by the other European partners, including WKO Steiermark and FH Joanneum from Austria; EfVET and All Digital from Belgium; Sereco from Italy; Innogestiona from Spain; and Apemeta and Arts & Skills from Portugal.

Empowering European VET networks through Eco-innovation

During the first session, participants learned about the specific objectives of the project and the work plan that will be followed during the process. In addition, the main dates of meetings and work deadlines were established, and the Social Hackathon, which will take place in Umbria (Italy) from 4 to 7 July 2024, was presented.

Afterwards, FHJoanneum presented the studies of its educational institution, the projects in which it participates and the different learning scenarios. Innogestiona explained their environmental role and how they approach their management and community participation in the ENNEPlus project.

During the second session, Egina presented the administrative management of the ENNEPlus project and explained how partners should present their activities. Subsequently, FHJoanneum showed the steps of the excellence assurance plan and the next tasks related to it, while EfVET shared the dissemination and communication plan of the work.

To conclude the meeting, the partners participated in the last activity, divided by countries to discuss other possible actors that could join the local actions. They also shared their social networks and told the partners about the activities and projects carried out by each of the organisations.

The Association of Vocational Training Centres FPEmpresa has attended the meetings of the Executive Management of EfVET held on 18th and 19th of January at the Escola de Comércio de Lisboa (Portugal). FPEmpresa was represented by Carlos de Olagüe, EfVET coordinator for Spain and member coordinator for Madrid and International of the Association.

The day’s agenda included discussions on various topics such as: policy, conferences, financing, projects and teamworks. However, one of the most important topics on the agenda was the preparation of the next EfVET 2024 Conference, which will take place on 24-25th of October in Amersfoot, the Netherlands, as well as the presentation of several proposals on the theme of the EfVET 2025 Conference.

The EfVET team also carried out an evaluation of the EfVET 2023 Conference held in September 2023 in Rhodes, Greece. The Board members have highlighted those areas for improvement to be introduced in the next congresses and welcomed the activities that have been a success among the participants.

EfVET network increases with the addition of new members

During the meeting, the President of EfVET, James Calleja, welcomed the new representatives from Estonia and Norway, “highlighting the growth of the Organisation and the importance of having more perspectives that serve to enrich our reflections”, said the FPEmpresa Member Coordinator for Madrid and International.

After the EfVET members presented their work plan within the network, the Board of Directors established a new update of the EfVET Communication Plan, stressing the need to update the priority communication channels of each EfVET member.

To conclude the meeting, James Calleja has shared with the territorial coordinators the next dates and venue of the EfVET Board meetings, as well as the realization of different working groups to respond to their concerns regarding the next Conference.

“Once again, we thank our colleagues from Portugal for organising this event, which aims to promote Vocational Education and Training under European values. We continue to work for quality VET beyond our borders, and this is evidenced by activities of this nature”, concluded Carlos de Olagüe.

The Asociación de Centros de Formación Profesional FPEmpresa has held an online session to disseminate the results of the PRALINE project with its affiliated centers. Following the closing session in Rotterdam (Netherlands) in December 2023, FPEmpresa’s International Project Technician, Guillermo Gonzálbez, has led the meeting and has shared project materials with attendees on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. Gonzálbez has explained that “the Association is expanding more and more internationally. Proof of this is the projects and contacts being carried out in different countries, such as Thailand.”

Throughout the presentation, Elena Argudo, Project Director at FPEmpresa, has stated “the work of the European project strengthening transnational networks of Vocational Training through mutual learning, peer counseling, and capacity building”. This objective has been added to consolidating the EUproVET network, established in 2009, collaborating to support strategies that improve learning and education in participating countries.

Project Results

Over the 3-year course of PRALINE, various meetings were held to define 18 recommendations based on Good Practices, identified during Peer Learning Activities (PLA). The selected cities where results were collected include Valencia (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal), Dublin (Ireland), Tallinn (Estonia), La Rochelle (France), Helsinki (Finland), Zagreb (Croatia), and Rotterdam (Netherlands).

These recommendations, conveyed in FPEmpresa’s dissemination, aim to align with different national, regional, and institutional circumstances. Similarly, they promote continuous learning for all European citizens and contribute to building an inclusive society.

The presented results include:

Learning opportunities
  1. Ensure that all students, independent of socio-economic background, have access to quality education and training in order to provide them with the necessary skills, in particular those required by the digital and green transition. Less common approaches to reach out to the ‘hard to get’ target groups might be fruitful.
  2. There is a need to be more innovative in delivery models for adult education, creating flexible models for personalised learning paths including the recognition of prior learning and work experience. This should be reflected in a choice of access to learners – face-to-face, online or a mix of both.
  3. Ensure that salary goes on during study leave. This must be regulated through law with a requirement for employers to comply.
Labour market and other stakeholders
  1. Ensure a stronger link between educational institutions and the demands of the labour market in order to increase the responsiveness of education and training systems to meet the needs of learners and the rapid changes in the labour market and society as well as enable smooth transitions.
  2. Advocate and support flexible and adequate work-based learning opportunities for adults as an important step in occupational progression for every individual.
  3. Encourage and promote stronger cooperation in public-private partnerships to make lifelong learning a reality for every individual.The importance of these partnerships was again underlined during the Covid-19 pandemic, when work disappeared in certain sectors, but arose in others The crucial role of VET/adult education providers in supporting SMEs with business innovation, productivity, and product development deserves more recognition.
  4. Promote Vocational and Educational Training courses and other forms of lifelong learning as a means of integrating migrants and refugees in their host countries and leading them to the labour market.
  5. Facilitate strong sectoral dialogue (providers, authorities, social partners) and meaningful, sustainable cooperation in education and training by fostering peer learning among European, national, and regional/local partners in education and training.
Quality, VET providers and teachers
  1. Improve the quality of adult learning- and VET institutions to enhance good learning environments for students and supportive work environments for teachers, trainers, school leaders and other education personnel in relation to digital and green transition of VET institutions and in light of the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
  2. Adult education programs that support wellbeing, mental health and integration of mentally or physically challenged people should be a shared responsibility of providers and stakeholder services.
  3. Increase attractiveness of the profession of adult learning educators, VET trainers and other education personnel by improving recruitment processes and ensuring their retention, decent and challenging working conditions and stable employment.
  4. Ensure that adult educators receive training on adult education that includes topics such as: principles of adult education (andragogy), adults’ motivational orientations, adults’ reasons to withdraw from training/education, use of materials in adult education, psychological counselling and guidance applications in Adult Education. Ensure also that the training will be systematically repeated.
  5. Encourage and support the continuous professional development of teachers, trainers, school leaders, supported by necessary reforms in consultation with social partners, governments and other relevant stakeholders, in order to provide skills that co-align with the needs of the labour market and are accessible to all.
  1. The profile of VET/adult education needs raising at government level. Too many people are taking a path through to university and then end up coming back to the VET system to retrain. This is an unwise use of public funds. The Covid pandemic and global conflict has shown that the VET/adult education sector is extremely resilient. Governments should build on this and support growth.
  2. There is a need to consider both the social value as well as the economic value of adult education. Governments should consider the importance of both. Leisure or social adult programmes can be a first stepping stone back into education and training for hard-to-reach adults.
  1. If a variety of learning access is offered, i.e., hybrid learning, to increase adult participation, then infrastructure and technology needs to be in place and the funding to cover this. Ensure also that the funding system encourages more effectiveness and transparency of learning rights and opportunities.
  2. Invest in supportive learning cultures for lifelong learning, in schools and companies. Combining younger and older learners contributes to a supportive learning culture and makes provision financially viable.
  3. Covid has resulted in better sharing of resources and learning materials. A move towards collaborative working between providers and teachers should be positively encouraged.

Finally, the Association has shared the PRALINE website and FPEmpresa’s website on the project, as well as resources developed during the initiative such as the study on “Adult Learning in Europe” or the informational brochure on PRALINE.

Promoting Adult Learning in Networks (PRALINE)

After being introduced in February 2020, the Promoting Adult Learning in Networks (PRALINE) project was approved in 2021, specifically under Key Action 3: Support for policy reform, and within this, in the sub-action ‘social inclusion and common values: contribution in the field of education and training.’ A project that has involved the participation of 11 partner organizations from 10 different countries and has been coordinated by the Dutch association MBO Raad.

Access the recorded session at this link.