Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 07:36English


Supporting modernisation in the EU TCLF (textile, clothing, leather and footwear) VET systems to enable economic growth, promote the industry to new entrants and support industry innovation. 



“Collaboration between VET providers, research centres, social partners, and local and national authorities is critical for economic growth.”, C. Arias (CEC) 

On the occasion of the EU Vocational Education and Training (VET) Skills Week, the Erasmus+ Skills4Smart TCLF industries 2030 Blueprint project consortium welcomed over 100 EU TCLF VET providers and other public and private stakeholders to a webinar presenting the opportunities and next steps to build up a European TCLF VET Network promoting excellence. In addition, the audience learned about the results of a survey to over 100 VET providers and the outcomes of 7 national VET workshops with over 200 participants from 13 countries, which explored how Europe’s VET providers currently collaborate, where they need more support, how they deliver learning, and how Covid-19 has impacted their entities. 

According to first step replies received in an online workshop survey, the top three requests for investment from VET providers were for support for digital teaching tools and methods, ongoing teacher and trainer training (through mobility), and pan European events to promote TCLF VET studies to young generations. The Skills4Smart TCLF2030 project is already working to support this wish, in part by updating 8 occupations most in demand by European TCLF employers and developing the respective curricula and online training courses. 

A Network to turn current challenges into opportunities 

Christian Baio, SPIN360, reported the immense challenge of the changes being forced by Covid-19, the clear impact on less advantaged students, and the hard work by providers to pivot very quickly to the online space. But he also recognised the first shoots of opportunity: ‘Disruption is an agent of change and some of the changes forced upon us may have longer term benefits.’ The march to digitisation at all levels of study was gaining pace before Covid-19 and is now accelerating. 

A Network to diversify and scale-up collaboration activities 

Paul Lasserre, European Footwear Confederation (CEC), presented findings that further evidenced how VET providers with external networks benefit from greater opportunity for international collaboration, regional and national policy development, and business development. Being part of a network means having better connections and creates opportunities to both initiate new projects and take successful initiatives to the next level – even more so when the Network has an EU-wide scope. 

A Network to support economic growth 

Carmen Arias, CEC’s Secretary-General, spoke about the opportunities that international collaboration can bring to modernise skills ecosystems at regional and national level in order to better support the industries’ recovery and growth. She underlined the relevance of a European Network of TCLF VET providers promoting excellence, which could guide VET providers on the way to increase resources, latest technology teaching tools and methods as well influence in regional policy development. She also highlighted current EU initiatives, resources and support available to participants. 

Project partners continue working on strengthening the collaboration between VET providers (often with niche specialisms and innovatory offers), industry and crucially, regional government in these sectors shaped by its geographic and technical cluster structure. In the next weeks, VET providers will be invited for further sharing of experiences, and to identify the future joint initiatives under the Network of VET providers promoting excellence in the TCLF sectors. 

In the meantime, stakeholders are encouraged to sign-up to the Newsletter in for regular project updates. 

Press release


16 November 2020