European Vocational Skills Week 2017

Next week is the second European Vocational Skills Week! Let's take a look at the ways vocational education and training has been providing people with opportunities in the UK through Erasmus+.

What is European Vocational Skills Week?

European Vocational Skills Week, which runs from 20-24 November 2017, is an annual initiative from the European Commission to raise the awareness and attractiveness of vocational education and training (VET). The week brings together a vast range of events taking place all over Europe that celebrate the immense opportunities VET can provide for young people, adults and companies. 

The motto of the initiative is “Discover your talent!” Every single person is talented and VET opportunities can help people discover these talents and provide them with the necessary practical skills, knowledge and competences to succeed in the labour market and society.

Take a look at the ways vocational education and training has been providing people with opportunities in the UK through Erasmus+.

Construction and electrical installation: building paths and lighting up futures

Leicester College is making its goal to provide experiential learning opportunities for participants through an international work placement, targeting young people who have not previously had the chance to travel. Through their ‘Electrical Maintenance Experience’ and ‘Leicester College Construction’ Erasmus+ projects, the college has been sending learners to local companies in Spain to improve their work-based knowledge and skills and increase their work readiness. 

Before I had a lack of confidence and experience. Now I have my first passport and am working towards an apprenticeship. - Coral, learner

While they are able to benefit from hands-on experience in new working environments, many of the learners comment on the value of the visit in terms of soft skills. They return with new-found confidence, communication skills and resilience in tackling new situations. For young people who may have never left the country, being given the opportunity to develop their skills abroad helped them discover new talents. Read more about their story and find some of their learners in our Shaping Futures exhibition.

Leicester College learners

From Padstow to Paris: a training tale worth telling

After 13 years of coordinating Leonardo and Erasmus+ projects, Cornwall Council Education Business Partnership has celebrated one of its biggest success stories. One of their previous participants, Ollie Clarke, took part in a Leonardo mobility placement in 2008 at The Hotel Warwick while training at The Seafood Restaurant. After finishing his apprenticeship, Ollie moved to Paris and became a chef in some top Parisian restaurants. He has recently celebrated opening his own restaurant with his life and business partner Julie Duckett. Read more about Ollie's experiences.

Cornwall Council's successful Leonardo projects paved the way for their current Erasmus+ projects. Many of the young people that take part in these projects have little experience of work or travel and need significant support; some come from socially and economically deprived areas and often have never left Cornwall. Their story highlights the ways in which Erasmus+ projects improve the employability skills of the learners that take part, particularly in an area like Cornwall where there is a strong network of catering and hospitality businesses and a highly competitive recruitment process. Despite the clear benefits for the participants, their story also showcases the benefits for staff, the colleges involved and the local area. You can read their full story here.

From addiction to employment: life-changing Erasmus+ experiences 

One of the most moving Erasmus+ stories we have received came from Jackie who took part in the Elevate project. Jackie had struggled with substance abuse from a young age. The project involved a visit to Sweden to take part in activities tailored to gaining employment after vocational learning. In order to apply to take part in the project, participants are required to be substance free for at least twelve months and volunteer for at least six months.

For me I absolutely loved the experience, to see how other people worked with people in recovery and getting involved in a bed and breakfast which was run as a social enterprise. - Jackie, participant

Since finishing her work placement through Erasmus+, Jackie has completed a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in business administration and is continuing to volunteer in the recovery community. The biggest success of this project is that all participants have remained substance-free after taking part in the mobility - highlighting the life-changing possibilities of Erasmus+ and vocational learning. Read Jackie's full story on our website.

Jackie, volunteer

How can I get involved?

There are a number of ways you can get involved in European Vocational Skills Week. You may like to attend an event or take part in an activity. Want to take a more active role? Why not organise your own event! From career days to competitions, workshops to award ceremonies - with over 1000 events registered, there's plenty to get involved in! 

For more information about events and participation opportunities, please visit the European Vocational Skills Week website or contact the organisers.

Interested in seeing more inspiring VET stories? Take a look on our Erasmus+ stories page!

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