Applied Innovation and Research in
Vocational Education and Training

What are CoVEs and why is it a priority for the European Commission?  

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What are CoVEs and why is it a priority for the European Commission? 

Amid the twin transitions in Europe, with a progressively dynamic and competitive economy, Vocational Education and Training (VET) are paramount in equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge needed for the job market. Recognising the importance of VET and its potential to drive innovation and competitiveness, the European Commission has outlined its vision for VET and emphasised the significance of applied research. 

Rapid transformations emphasise the necessity of making applied research in VET a reality, and the development of a European reference framework for applied research, supported by sustainable consolidated financial models. Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) serve as strategic hubs for cooperation between VET institutions, businesses, and other relevant stakeholders, facilitating knowledge transfer and sharing of best practices, while fostering collaboration between education and training providers and the labour market. 

European innovation and competitiveness depend strongly on applying research in VET and various European policies and EU programmes which promote opportunities for international cooperation, knowledge sharing, and capacity building. A comprehensive mapping exercise of VET centres involved in applied research alongside the collection and analysis of case studies can describe the diverse approaches, methodologies, and outcomes to applied research in VET, which can lead to considerations on the need to reinforce the efforts at the EU, national and local levels whereas inspiring policymakers, educators, and practitioners about the possibilities and benefits of applied research in VET. 

A common EU framework for applied research in VET would harmonise research activities across different VET centres and countries, considering Europe's varying policy contexts and financial models. It would provide a common language, guide methodologies, ethical considerations, and dissemination of research outcomes to ensure accessibility and actionability for stakeholders. Consolidated applied research practice in VET, supported by solid funding streams, would enhance sustainability and outcomes.