Bratislava 2019 – Leading VET Changes for 2030: Co-creation and Co-responsibility for a better future

The European Association of Institutes for Vocational Training (EVBB) organised its annual Conference in Bratislava (Slovak Republic) from June 26th to 29th 2019. EVBB has the mission of assuring quality and fostering excellence in the VET field, promoting the interests of a liberal and socially committed education, supporting networking and cooperation of employment at EU level.

This conference, under the High Patronage of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic for Investments and Informatization and the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, has been organised in partnership with the European Entrepreneurs association (CEA-PME) and the Solidar Foundation and gathered about 130 experts (more than 25 different nationalities) both from education and industry sectors.

The opening day on June 27th took place in the Conference Hall of Volkswagen Slovakia (sponsor of the event) and has gathered distinguished guests from across Europe such as HE Oľga Nachtmannová (State secretary of the Slovak Republic), Joachim Bleicker (Ambassador of Germany to Slovakia), Doamna Steluţa Arhire (Ambassador of Romania to Slovakia). Outstanding experts in the field of VET enriched the conference with their speech: Thiemo Fojkar (President of EVBB), Connie Reuter (SOLIDAR Secretary General), Patrick Meinhardt (European Entrepreneurs association (CEA-PME) Representative), Jan Varchola (EU Commission – DG Employment), James Calleja (CEO of MCAST, Malta, and President of EfVet) and many more.

This 23rd edition of EVBB International Conference aimed to break down artificial barriers and pave the way to a new strategic partnership for the future of education. In times of uncertainty, co-creation and co-responsibility are the key words that inspire and lead our way to change the VET landscape within the European Union and beyond.

Since its establishment in 1992, EVBB has been strongly advocating for bringing education to the forefront of the fundamental reform in the economy and the society our times are calling for. A radical shift in the way of thinking and conceiving the educational system is required if we want to overcome the material and cultural obstacles on the way of the new human era that globalisation and digitalisation have the potential to bring about. If we want to meet the challenge, we cannot but recognise the role of all relevant stakeholders who need to be involved and proactively participate in the process of redesigning the educational model within the scope of a more open, smart and cooperative 21st-century world.

EVBB’s partnership with the European Entrepreneurs association (CEA-PME) and the Solidar Foundation is the answer to the fundamental role of civil society organisations and the enterprises. With respect to the latter, EVBB deeply believes that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play a pivotal role in the renovation of the educational system that is required by the present and future digitalised and globalised world. Not only because their cooperation with VET providers and educational institutes is a condition sine qua non to mainstream work-based learning within a dual system approach and beyond, but also because entrepreneurial skills are going to gain more and more relevance in the curricula of all-grade and all-orientation educational pathways. In this perspective, entrepreneurs have both a lot to teach and a lot to gain from a stronger partnership with VET providers and the educational system in general. On the one hand, small and medium enterprises offer the perfect working setting where students can gain and hone their vocational, relational and practical skills while participating in the actual reality of job and production and benefitting of tutoring and supervision. On the other hand, a stronger and more structural cooperation with VET providers is the only possible way, for the business world, to effectively cure the long-lasting and dramatic shortage in skilled workers it suffers from. As employers, entrepreneurs are the most entitled to teach their potential employees how to do their job. Last but not least, by getting involved in training and education, small and medium enterprises would make a social investment, enhance their image before the general public, gain socio-political ground to play on with a view to seeding their values in mainstream culture.

Different challenges have been discussed and tackled during the different workshops and debates that animated the three-day conference and the “Bratislava Declaration” – a document analysing these priorities and delivering some recommendations – has been validated and signed by all three partners: the European Entrepreneurs association (CEA-PME), the Solidar Foundation and EVBB.

(Some Presentations and the “Bratislava Declaration” coming soon)

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In the framework of the preparation of the Conference, EVBB produced a video interview with students from Germany (both German natives and Erasmus students) about “Education and Europe”. The feature is the result of a collaboration between EVBB, the University of Applied Management Studies (HdWM) in Mannheim and IB’s centre of “Assisted living for young adults and vocational education” (Betreutes Wohnen für junge Volljährige und Berufliche Bildung) in Mainz.

About the EVBB

The EVBB is a European umbrella organisation. It was founded in December 1992, a few days before the launch of the European Single Market.

Today, it has almost 60 member associations and members from more than 20 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia.

The EVBB has more than 35,000 employees in total in its member associations, working in over 1,500 educational institutions.

The EVBB Conference has been organised in partnership with

European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME (Confédération Européenne des Associations de Petites et Moyennes Entreprises) is a Brussels-based business federation which currently counts 20 European associations of voluntarily associated small and medium enterprises (SME) among its members, with more than 2 million enterprises voluntarily associated, employing more than 16 million people. It maintains relationships with 11 partner associations in Europe, Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

More information on the association can be found at

The SOLIDAR Foundation is the cooperation platform of SOLIDAR; a European network of NGOs working to advance social justice in Europe and worldwide. SOLIDAR brings together 60 member organisations based in 25 EU members states and in 6 candidate countries. Its members work together in Social Affairs, International Cooperation and Lifelong Learning.

More information on the association can be found at

About the “Bratislava Declaration” 

This document is the result of a common vision shared by the three Conference’s cooperating partners – EVBB, SOLIDAR and the European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME – addresses current challenges and provides some recommendations to the latter:

  • Democratise and integrate holistic education within a smart 21st-century ecosystem; Ensure quality and foster excellence for all pathways of study and career
  • Enhance vocational skills and promote VET as a first choice – How can we change the perception and brand image of VET? 
  • Strive for more Europe and more cooperation to bridge outdated gaps and build an open-border, cross-national landscape for education