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The Minister Jokin Bildarratz meets with the European Commissioner for Employment, Nicolas Schmit, in Brussels

2023 February 6
  • The two leaders shared their thoughts on European initiatives aimed at strengthening professional competences and skills and boosting talent

This afternoon, the Minister for Education, Jokin Bildarratz, held a meeting with the European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, in Brussels. The Minister was joined at the meeting by the Deputy Minister for Vocational Training, Jorge Arévalo, and the Basque Country's delegate to the European Union, Marta Marín.

This is the third meeting between the two leaders in just over half a year to analyse European policies on vocational training. The previous meetings took place at the end of June last year, in Brussels, and in November in San Sebastian, on the occasion of the International Forum on Excellence in VET jointly organised by the Basque Government's Department of Education and the European Commission.

European Year of Skills 2023

Today's meeting was held at the request of Commissioner Schmit, with the aim of holding a joint reflection on the policies that the European Commission is promoting in the field of Vocational Training and, more specifically, on the initiatives aimed at strengthening professional competences and skills, as well as training, retaining and attracting talent in the European regions.

The European institutions have declared 2023 as the European Year of Skills. As part of this year's activities and initiatives, the European Commission is launching talent-boosting mechanisms to help EU regions train, retain and attract talent. The European Commissioner Schmit wanted to compare these initiatives with the Basque Country and learn first-hand how the Basque VET sector is tackling the promotion of talent and the development of competences and skills.

During the meeting, the coordination and close relationship that Basque VET centres maintain with SMEs and micro-SMEs in the Basque Country for the development of innovation projects applied to products, production processes and services was also discussed. This relationship and cooperation between VET centres and companies takes place through strategic collaborative environments, in which VET centres and companies participate, called Tkgune networks, which are the Networks for Innovation and Technology Transfer in VET, an initiative promoted by the Department of Education.

Tkgune, which began during the 2013-2014 academic year, is a network formed by vocational training centres to facilitate the bidirectional transfer of knowledge between centres and companies. The aim of this initiative is to develop applied innovation projects with companies (SMEs and micro-SMEs) to respond to the scientific-technological updating needs of teachers, while promoting innovation, both in small and medium-sized enterprises and in VET centres. The knowledge generated during this process also reaches the students of the centres participating in the network.

After almost a decade of experience, the Tkgune network now has more than 4,400 participating companies (98.3% are SMEs, with an average of 40 employees), and more than 1,400 applied innovation projects have been carried out. At present, 46 VET centres participate in the network, with the involvement of around 312 teachers.

Tkgune develops its applied innovation projects in six technological areas:

  • Mobility
  • Energy and Environment
  • Digitalisation and Connectivity
  • Industry 4.0 and Advanced Manufacturing
  • Biotechnology, Chemistry and Health
  • E-Commerce, Hospitality and Tourism

New strategies for the transformation of European VET

The Basque delegation's agenda in Brussels will continue tomorrow with a meeting between the Deputy Minister for Vocational Training, Jorge Arévalo, the Director of Technology and Learning, Rikardo Lamadrid, and the Director of Planning and Organisation, Nicolás Sagarzazu, and the Director General for Employment and Skills of the European Commission, Manuela Geleng.

This new meeting will revolve around the transformation of the Vocational Training that the Basque Government is carrying out, to respond and be able to anticipate the changes that will occur with the full development of the fourth industrial revolution. To this end, the ways of promoting the policies set out in the 6th Basque VET Plan will be analysed in order to transfer them to the context of present and future European Vocational Training policies.

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Politicians attending the event
(XII term 2020 - 2024)