ETF 2023 Green Skills Award winners meet EU Champions of Excellence

"The future of Europe is young people," declared European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, as he inaugurated the Meet the Champions of Excellence event in Brussels today. "We have invested significantly in education and skills to provide every young person with an opportunity," he emphasised, echoing a sentiment by Oliver Röpke, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, who stressed the importance of integrating youth perspectives into the future of education.

In a hall filled with 450 young people from across Europe, alongside educators, trainers, EU officials, and civil society representatives, vocational education and training is taking centre stage. Widely recognised as a pathway to quality employment, its importance was underscored throughout the opening. However, what makes the occasion particularly noteworthy is the presence of the winners of the ETF's 2023 Green Skills Award, representing Lebanon, Morocco (in collaboration with Spain), and Kenya.

The 2023 Green Skills Winners

In Lebanon, Faten Sleem’s 'zero waste' initiative stands as a beacon of environmental stewardship and community empowerment. By engaging students and local stakeholders, Sleem champions waste reduction strategies that inspire sustainable habits and foster leadership skills.

Meanwhile, in Salé, Morocco, the Bouregreg Med-O-Med Gardening School, managed by FUNCI, provides marginalised youth with an opportunity to cultivate green skills in an eco-conscious environment. Through hands-on training and ecological practices, the school not only nurtures talent but also advocates for sustainable development.

In Kenya, the battle against e-waste finds a champion in the Promoting Demand-Driven Skills in E-waste Management and Recycling project. By equipping local technicians with essential skills, the initiative not only tackles environmental hazards but also paves the way for a greener, more inclusive economy.

Meet the Champions of Excellence event

The Meet the Champions of Excellence event, a collaborative effort between the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Commission, aims to spread passion and purpose among the youth. From traditional crafts to cutting-edge technologies like robotics and virtual reality, the event showcases the skills vital for the future workforce. Moreover, it serves as a platform for dialogue on work-based learning, the European Year of Skills, and social engagement.

ETF Green Skills Award: new call open!

Amidst the celebration, the ETF Green Skills Award opens its doors for the 2024 edition. Aspiring changemakers worldwide are invited to share their innovative solutions and transformative stories, contributing to the global agenda for green skills development.

First introduced by the ETF in 2021, the Green Skills Award is a global initiative that provides ideas and inspiration from all over the world about innovation happening thanks to individuals and institutions. The previous three editions of the award garnered around 800 applications from more than 60 countries and 33,000 votes from around the world. The 2024 edition is open for applications until 29 February 2024.

The ETF invites submissions of good practice stories on the development of green skills, aiming to provide inspirational and innovative ideas for policymakers and practitioners worldwide. The award is open to enterprises, training providers, industries, sectors, public institutions, public employment services, and schools implementing measures to prepare learners for the green economy. 

An ETF jury will select the 10 finalists. The winner will be chosen by public vote, and a further two winners will be selected by an international jury composed of experts in green skills. All three will receive the ETF 2024 Green Skills Award and various benefits  including an invitation to the award ceremony, the opportunity to be showcased in online communications, and the creation of short films highlighting their stories. 

How to apply: please complete the online application form by 29 February 2024 (23:59 CET). 

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