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Vocational education: the future is on stage in EU neighbouring countries

Check out events in November's EU Skills Week, when hundreds of events within member states - and more than a dozen outside - are due to take place in the EU's biggest annual focus on the importance and value of vocational training for successful future jobs and careers.

Future skills start at school

The third annual European Vocational Skills Week - which runs November 5-9, 2018 - is the cornerstone of a wide range of activities running throughout the autumn. There are already 540 registered events - hundreds of them in and around Vienna, this year's host city. The European Commission-backed initiative includes the European Training Foundation's major conference Skills for the Future: Managing Transition, scheduled to take place in Turin, November 21-22, 2018.

The need to raise awareness of the importance of skills training is key policy objective for the EU.

"Technology and globalisation are driving change all around us and challenge education systems to innovate and adapt," Cesare Onestini, director of the European Training Foundation says. "This is why as part of the EU Vocational Skills Week, we are encouraging events in all EU neighbourhood countries with a focus on promoting skills acquisition for people of all ages."

Skills Week in the EU neighbourhood

More than a dozen events in countries surrounding the EU have been tagged to the EU Skills Week throughout the autumn, with several during the week itself.

Turkey

In Istanbul, an "ArtCraft Lifelong Learning" festival, organised by iSMEK, the Istanbul Metropolitan Vocational Education Centre, a major training provider known as the "biggest public university in the world". It was expecting 500,000 people - including tens of thousands of students, teachers and parents - to attend its event, running October 15-24.

Organiser Eren Gökçe told the ETF that, though the numbers were estimates, the organisations trains "approximately 350,000 students annually" and that more than 3,5 million graduates had been through its courses since it was established.

Russia

In Russia three events organised by Swiss-based multinational Nestlé - the world's biggest foods and bottled water company - will run during the skills week early November.

In Moscow and Perm, leading global companies including measurement and analytics company Nielsen, British law firm White & Case, and French advertising and public relations company Publicis Media, will join Nestlé in a series of four online webinars November 6-9 "to present real business cases for youth to support them in navigating professional careers" hoping to "convince young people to choose [vocationally-related] professions."

There are also two regional events in Perm and Samara, where Nestlé has factories.

Azerbaijan

An ETF workshop November 8 in Baku, Azerbaijan will look at EU support to VET modernisation in the country; 70 teachers and trainers from vocational schools are expected to attend and Margareta Nikolovska, who is the ETF's country desk manager for Ukraine and Azerbaijan is running the event.