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ETF launches a competition open to all vocational schools, universities, training centres and providers

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Why an ETF innovation and skills Award?

In a world of constantly changing labour market demands, people are having to learn new skills, change jobs and take up new occupations throughout their careers. This is due to a combination of different factors, such as accelerating technological advances, digitalisation of economies, globalisation, demography, migration and climate change. While the full magnitude and ultimate effects of these changes are not yet fully known and their impact will vary from country to country, education and training systems need the capacity to develop services and tools that support teachers, providers and learners and that provide the right skills that are needed by labour markets.

More learner-centred approaches are gaining ground globally. Active learning is vital to develop the competences of citizens and achieve better learning outcomes for successful careers and lives. Roles and functions of educators are evolving, as they become learning facilitators who share responsibility for results with the learner.

Lifelong learning is already a reality in people’s lives, but more investment is needed in continuing education and training, including non-formal and in-formal learning. Initial training and formal systems are of course important, but learners will find they spend a greater and growing share of their learning informally or non-formally. Technology drives this trend forward. Indeed, these boundaries - between general and vocational streams and between formal and on-the-job learning - will continue to blur. Learning provision should evolve to address individual needs and be more widely available to everyone throughout their lives. Education and training systems will have to become more ambitious and innovative to cater to the reality of individualised pathways, and age-neutral institutions and systems to support individuals in their transitions between work and learning throughout their lives.

What is the focus of the 2020 award?

Digital technology is transforming our societies. Digital competence, as one of the EU key competences, is becoming increasingly instrumental in almost all aspects of our lives, but in employability and career development in particular. Digital transformation is, to varying degrees, happening everywhere. The ETF is supporting its partner countries to reap the opportunities it offers by addressing digital challenges in the context of ongoing VET system reforms.

In this context, the ETF is seeking examples of good practice in teaching and learning for digital competence[1] development. Learning design and new/innovative approaches to the development of digital competences are the key selection criteria. Examples of good practice will be chosen taking into consideration the national, regional or organisational context and the relevance of the example to this context.

The examples selected will inform future ETF work and will provide teachers, curriculum specialists, training providers and policymakers with ideas and opportunities for their own work.

What is the EU doing?

The EU supports the development of digital competence by developing reference frameworks for citizens, educators and organisations (DigComp 2.1 including DigComp Into Action, DigCompEdu, DigCompOrg), as well as a self-assessment tool for schools (SELFIE). They are inspiring sources for practitioners and policy makers, with examples of concrete learning outcomes and progression levels. A Digital Education Action Plan undertakes concrete actions and supports technology use and the development of digital competences in education. At policy level, digital competence has been one of the eight key competences for lifelong learning for EU citizens since 2006, building the basis for policy development (see ETF position paper on digital skills and competence, and digital and online learning and the European Council Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (2018) for details).

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Who can participate?

The competition is open to all vocational schools and colleges, as well as universities, training centres and public and private training providers offering initial and continuing vocational education and training in the ETF partner countries[2].

How to participate

Please submit your good practice by 25 June 2020 by filling in the application form: http://ETF.APPLY.sgizmo.com/s3/

Selection process

The ETF Selection Committee will review all submissions against the eligibility and selection criteria.

Two finalists for the ETF New Learning Award will be pre-selected by the committee and will take part in an online public vote in the month running up to the EU Vocational Skills Week, which will take place in November 2020. The vote is organised by the European Commission via the website of the EU Vocational Skills Week. The two finalists, as well as the nominees for other EU Vocational Skills Week awards, will be presented to the wider public through a communication campaign.

The finalists will be invited to the attend the EU Vocational Skills Week and each nominee will be asked to present their work. The European Commission will announce the winners in line with the following procedure:

  • Step 1: pre-selection by the ETF Selection Committee. Weighting: 50% of the total vote.
  • Step 2: public online voting on the EVSW website. Weighting: 50% of the total vote.

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Award ceremony

A representative of each finalist organisation will be invited together with a representative of an education and training policy making body associated with the training provision. The Award ceremony will take place in Berlin, Germany, as part of the programme of celebration of the 2020 European Vocational Skills Week. The ETF New Learning Award will be conferred by the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion at a dedicated award event during the EVSW.

Do you have questions?

You can send them to goodpractice@etf.europa.eu


[1] see https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32018H0604(01)&from=EN (p. 7): Competence is defined as a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes, where knowledge is composed of the facts and figures, concepts, ideas and theories which are already established and support the understanding of a certain area or subject; skills are defined as the ability and capacity to carry out processes and use the existing knowledge to achieve results; and attitudes describe the disposition and mind-sets to act or react to ideas, persons or situations.

[2] Albania, Algeria, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Kosovo*, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine**, Russia, Serbia, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

** This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.

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