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European Commission - Press release

European Vocational Skills Week 2018 helps millions to discover the benefits of vocational education and training

Brussels, 9 November 2018

Today marks the end of the 2018 edition of the European Vocational Skills Week, organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the Austrian Presidency.

Thanks to 1512 events that took place all over Europe, the campaign has so far reached over 2.2 million people, 1.2 million more than last year. And it does not stop here, as many more associated activities and events are being organised across Europe until December 2018. To close the week, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, has announced the winners of the Awards for VET Excellence 2018.

At the closing event celebrated today at the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber in Vienna, Commissioner Thyssen, said: “It is a pleasure to be here today and feel the support that there is for vocational education and training all across Europe. Each and every one of you has contributed to making this third European Vocational Skills Week a success. Our campaign has reached millions of Europeans to convince them that VET is a great first choice. With your help, we will continue our work to position VET for what it is: an option that leads to successful careers and a choice that benefits the whole of Europe." 

“During the European Skills Week in Vienna, representatives and experts from all Member States discussed and worked intensively on the further development of VET in Europe”, said the Austrian Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs, Dr. Margarete Schramböck. “The broad interest and willingness to support gives us a clear sign, how important VET is to deal with future skills needs and to make the best possible use of the resulting opportunities for the economy and society.” 

The Austrian Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research, Heinz Fassmann, said: “The 2018 edition of the European Vocational Skills Week was a great success. Once again, it has clearly demonstrated the vast support for VET in all EU Member States and the efforts undertaken at the European level to make VET a real first choice. Given the role that VET plays here in Austria, the Austrian Presidency was honoured to be part of this year's edition.” 

The Austrian President of the Federal Economic Chamber, Harald Mahrer stressed: “I'm pleased to host the European Vocational Skills Week at the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. “DiscoverYourTalent” as core message of this year's European Vocational Skills Week leads to Austria dual system as Best-Practice in the European Union. Currently about 40 per cent of all Austrian youngsters enter apprenticeship training upon completion of compulsory education. This is in fact thanks to the companies' effort they take to keep up with a European-wide problem, the lack of skilled employees. This close cooperation of economy and education is one of the most important success factors to have an attractive apprenticeship system."

The week has been organised with the strong involvement and support from two EU Agencies - the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) and the European Training Foundation. During the Week, Cedefop organised a conference on the future of VET, the European Alliance for Apprenticeships celebrated its fifth anniversary, and the Commission together with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) hosted a Forum on adult learning.

Finally, today's closing event included an awards ceremony and a presentation of the European Vocational Skills Week 2018 Ambassadors. Both the awarded initiatives as well as the testimonials of the VET ambassadors highlight and confirm the crucial role of vocational education and training in helping people seize the opportunities offered by the new world of work.

Awards for VET Excellence 2018 

The Awards for VET Excellence 2018, handed out by Commissioner Thyssen during the closing conference of the 2018 VET Skills Week, celebrate outstanding examples of vocational education and training in Europe and act as a benchmark for excellence across the field.

The full list of winners and categories:

1. Companies and Learners

  •          European Alliance for Apprenticeships - Apprentice. Winner – Domenico Calabrese, Italy; European Alliance for Apprenticeships - Large Companies. Winner – ESB Networks DAC, Ireland; European Alliance for Apprenticeships - Small Companies. Winner - Atelier du Pain, France
  •          Training at Work. Winners – Human Partner Sp. Z o.o. and Joanna Kamola, Poland
  •          International Skills Competition. Winner – Daniel Gerber, Skills of Electrical Installation, Switzerland
  •          Junior Achievement (JA) Europe. Winner – Marmatia Technological High School, Simona ONA, Romania

2. VET Innovators

  •          Innovative VET Provider. Winner – Xabec Vocational Training Centre, Spain
  •          Special selection in the context of the European Year of Cultural Heritage – Compagnons du Devoir et du Tour de France, France
  •          Teacher and Trainer. Winner – Joanna ┼╗ebrowska, Poland
  •          VET Researcher. Winner – Learning Layers, Estonia 

3. European Funding for Excellence

  •          European Social Fund project.Winner – Closer to the Labour Market 2, Poland
  •          Erasmus+ project.Winner – Mobile Learning in VET towards 2020, Italy

4. European Agencies' awards

Visit the European Vocational Skills Week website for more details about the categories and the winners. 


The third European Vocational Skills Week took place in Vienna from 5 - 9 November. Organised by the European Commission, the motto for the Week is “Discover your Talent”. The aim of the Week is to show that VET is a smart choice, leading to excellence in education, high-quality jobs and greater employability. This is one of the ten key actions proposed by the Commission under the Skills Agenda for Europe, launched in June 2016. The importance of the right skills is also recognised in the European Pillar of Social Rights, a joint commitment of all European institutions and Member States.

Showing the success of the Week, this year there have been so far: 

  •          8 national events organised
  •          Events taking place in 47 countries
  •          More than 500 participants attending the official Week in Vienna
  •          26 national and pan-EU Ambassadors engaged

The events per country can be found here.

For more information

Press release: Vocational Education and Training at the heart of Europe: Launch of third European Vocational Skills Week

European Vocational Skills Week Website and event map

Facebook Event Page: European Vocational Skills Week 2018

Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2018 Website

Follow Marianne Thyssen on Facebook and Twitter, #EUVocationalSkills #DiscoverYourTalent



Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

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