According to the European Commission, despite all the differences, there are four common elements to each Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE):
- Learner centred approaches.
- Provision of several services in addition to initial training: training for workers, training for the unemployed, consultancy services, entrepreneurship services, etc.
- Alignment with regional strategies. RIS3 is mentioned several times.
- Collaboration with the key agents at regional level: companies, R&D, authorities, etc.
CoVEs work at local/regional level, with students and companies from their areas, and they should be encouraged to continue doing it. However, a challenge remains as these centres need support to be connected internationally. Connecting CoVEs through transnational platforms led the European Commission to launch calls for proposals to establish European Platforms of Centres of Vocational Excellence.
The goal is that each CoVE works in alignment with its regional policies, collaborates with the key agents and provides services for its area, but, as knowledge and technology are, at least to some extent, global phenomena, a regional approach is not enough and we need to connect CoVEs with other centres: by working at European level, we will be able to perform better at regional level.
The initiative will be helpful for regional VET systems to be aware of the latest developments in their fields of interest and to connect with other agents with similar interests.
Following the definition of the European Commission, most Basque VET centres can be classified as CoVEs. Our centres follow learner centred approaches, provide several services in addition to initial training (training for workers, training for the unemployed, consultancy services, entrepreneurship services, etc.), are aligned with regional strategies, and collaborate with the key agents at regional level (companies, R&D centres, authorities, etc.).
They are working at regional or local level training students from the area, training workers from the area, training unemployed people and, in general, all their services are provided for the area. But, as globalisation continues advancing and as knowledge and technology are global phenomena, it is more and more necessary for them to be aware of what was going on in their fields at EU level. They need to connect with other VET centres and with other agents at European level to be aware, well connected and updated on the latest developments in their fields.
The European initiative on Platforms of Centres of Vocational Excellence can help our VET centres to continue being excellent by being connected at European level.
Iñigo Araiztegui, Head of Internationalization at Tknika (Basque Country)