Meet the Champions of Excellence: EESC and European Commission put spotlight on vocational training to address labour shortages

On 23 February, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Commission held a flagship event for the European Year of Skills, bringing together over 400 young people from all EU Member States to shine the spotlight on the skills needed for current and future jobs. From car painting and floristry to mechanical engineering and demining robots in Ukraine, young people had a chance to learn first-hand about changing skills and the value of vocational education and training (VET).

As Europe is moving towards more digital and green jobs, the current labour market is suffering from a persistent lack of skilled workers, with more than three quarters of companies in the EU reporting difficulties in finding workers with the necessary skills. VET, championed by EESC President Oliver Röpke and Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit, offers sound career prospects and quicker job opportunities for young people, as well as adults looking to change jobs or simply upgrade their existing skill set.

The event showed that VET is an excellent choice, offering strong career prospects and quicker job opportunities. In 2021, just over half the students enrolled in medium-level education in the EU were in programmes with a vocational orientation.

The aim of the ‘Meet the Champions of Excellence’ event was to promote the benefits and opportunities offered by VET, especially in the current context of labour and skills shortages and skills mismatches in the EU, and against the backdrop of the green and digital transitions and the future world of work.

The Meet the Champions of Excellence event featured 35 young EU champions from recent WorldSkills and EuroSkills competitions as well as from Abylimpics (skills Olympics for people with disabilities), where competitors participated in more than 20 different disciplines, such as mobile robotics, ICT, mechanics, floristry, graphic design, automotive technologies and construction. The champions, most of whom are under 25, shared inspiring stories of their learning and career paths. There were over 500 event participants, including over 400 young people from all EU Member States.

In addition, young people could observe and learn about traditional and new skills during specific demonstrations in areas such as floristry, car painting, robots and virtual reality, like robot system integration, a demining robot for Ukraine and mechanical engineering CAD. The event also included interactive workshops and discussions on the skills needed for the future and to adapt to the digital and green transitions, on transnational learning mobility and on promoting gender equality in VET.

Source: European Economic and Social Committee | News  (