Centres of Vocational Excellence - first round of pilot projects approved

Centres of Vocational Excellence - first round of pilot projects approved

Source / author: 
EU STEM Coalition
Publication date: 
17 September 2019
Publication type: 

In 2018 the European Commission announced the launch of the Platforms of Centres of Vocational Excellence-initiative (PCVE)*. The objective the PCVE's is to promote the excellence, innovation and attractiveness of Vocational Education and Training (VET). The initiative aims to achieve this through the establishment of transnational collaborative platforms in which excellent VET providers (regional centres of excellence) in a specific sector (e.g. aeronautics, e-mobilty, green technologies) or related to a specific societal challenge (e.g. upskilliing, digitalisation, AI) are connected internationally. The format of the call was directly inspired by existing VET-concepts in e.g. Spain (Basque country), the Netherlands and other EU member states. 


In 2019 a first pilot-call was published under the Erasmus+ KA2 sector skills alliances call after which four pilot projects were approved (budget: max. 1 million EUR per project). A second round of 4-5 pilot projects (budget: max. 4 million EUR per project) will be launched in October 2019. The results of these pilot projects will be used to inform the definitive format of the PCVE's in Erasmus 2021-2027 programme.. 


In some of the Member States the national STEM platforms are directly involved. For example: in the Netherlands the 100+ 'Centres of Vocational Innovation' in VET are directly supported by the national STEM platform (PBT) which facilitates e.g. the establishment of the centres, periodic impact studies, peer-learning activities, etc. In coordination with the ministry of education, the VET-council and the individual Centres of Vocational Innovation it supports the Centres in the development of project ideas and business cases. As such, the platforms can play an important role in ensuring that the activities developed in the context of the PCVE-initiative complement and strengthen the broader objectives for STEM in the entire education chain (primary- to higher education) as much as possible. This is especially important given the fact that:


  • Current and future shortages of technicians are often most pronounced in VET
  • Insufficient availability of specific kinds of technicians (e.g. heatpump installation specialists) directly affect other policy objectives (e.g. energy transition)
  • The supply of VET-level technical specialists is most affected by demographic changes (with expected declines of student populations of up to 30%)
  • More than higher education, VET is organised regionally


The EU STEM Coalition will continue to monitor this initiative and the results of the first rounds of pilot projects (of which the first will be launched in November 2019) in the run-up to the new Erasmus+ programme


* The PCVE-initiative was presented by the European Commission at the EU STEM Coalition's General Assembly meeting in Paris in October 2018 (see meeting report & presentation here).

The EU STEM Coalition will continu