It is not usual to gather in the same conference all the most relevant European stakeholders in the knowledge triangle of VET: providers, researchers, institutions and policy-makers at European level. This event set the pace for a new stronger collaboration for promoting innovation and attractiveness of VET.
Inclusive Excellence is the distinctive element in the Cometa learning approach which helps students job placement and personal development. Cometa is a private VET training provider in Como, Italy that became a member of the UNESCO-UNEVOC, a network of TVET institutions. The official recognition was on 11 December 2018 in the presence of the President of Lombardia, Attilio Fontana. The ceremony was embedded in an international conference on the future of VET, organised by Cometa Research, VETNET, EfVET, and UNESCO-UNEVOC.
At the conference different perspectives on inclusive excellence in VET from practice, research and policy were presented. There are many challenges in achieving inclusive excellence in VET. Jens Liebe (UNEVOC) pointed in his keynote to problems related to uneven industrial and post-industrial development, poverty, population growth, pollution and degradation, equity and gender equality that all require skills to be at the centre stage in the local action, but in a global alliance perspective. Skills are essential, but what kind of skills? Bénédicte Gendron (University Paul-Valery Montpellier) underlined the importance to include social and emotional competencies in VET as a requirement for a comprehensive training (VETfulness); an aspect that was also emphasised by Giorgio Vittadini (Università Milano Bicocca), highlighting the crucial relevance of non-cognitive skills in education and training. These are some of the recent trends in the research in VET aiming at increasing VET attractiveness and effectiveness, as stressed by Christof Nägele (University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland), as chairman of VETNET, who advocated a stronger collaboration between researchers and practitioners in the VET sector. From Cometa Research Paolo Nardi (coordinator of Cometa Research) to outline the positive impact of this integration between theory and practice. Further notable contributions to the topic of inclusive excellence in VET came from Evarist Bartolo (Maltese Minister for Education and Labour), Melania Rizzoli (Lombardy Minister for Education, Training and Labour), James Calleja (EfVET President) and, for concluding remarks, and Dana Bachmann (DG EMPL).
Cometa Research, organizer of the event, is the Department of research promoted by Cometa VET school, a very singular example of connection between research and practice in VET. All the researchers are active teachers or tutors, developing their own action-research in collaboration with a wide range of academic centres in Europe and USA.
Materials and further information on the conference can be found here.