Centers of Vocational Excellence and Innovation (CoVes): A new era for Vocational Education and Training (VET) institutions?

J.Manuel Galvin Arribas


This article builds on experience, analysis, research and other on-going developments of  European Training Foundation (ETF) working with a number of partner countries  on exploring and supporting how setting up VET Centres of Excellence and Innovation (CoVEs) ([1]).The analysis focuses on main ingredients and keys issues to boost policy development for establishing VET Centres of Excellence and Innovation (CoVEs). This is also documented by European and international examples.

The paper discusses the role of VET which is currently challenged by on-going fourth industrial revolution and current value of vocational skills for employment delivered by public sector. In this context, VET schools have to play progressively a role of policy hubs within- lifelong- learning ecosystems to introduce technological and digital innovations, boosting creativity and/or entrepreneurship skills networking with industries. VET institutions might be capable to contribute on lifelong learning linking vocational skills with Higher Education programs and also deliver Continuing Vocational Training (CVT).  All this is progressively shaping a new-amplified- role for VET establishments, which is opening increased policy dialogue in many countries around the world for reforming VET institutional networks based on setting up VET Centres of Excellence-and Innovation- (CoVEs).

The paper introduces a definition on CoVEs and a taxonomy for facilitating policy thinking, dialogue and further learning on how to set up CoVEs. Five possible policy options could be: a) To set them up as an independent training provider; b) Independent training institutions created from existing provider, which could deploy extended functions; c) CoVEs as a part of other training institution; d) CoVEs as network organisations for feeding excellence and innovation in VET communities; e) CoVEs as multiprofile/sectoral provider. 

In conclusion, it is plausible to assume that CoVEs might become leading organisations of a new era of VET institutions. However, policy learning and further conducting evaluation and monitoring practices to asses CoVEs performance are challenging issues still to be tackled for supporting further policy development.  

([1]) The ETF is an EU agency that helps transition and developing countries to harness the potential of their human capital through the reform of education, training and labour market systems in the context of the EU's external relations policy. It is based in Turin, Italy, and has been operational since 1994. 


Vocational Education and Training (VET); Skills; Centers of Vocational Excellence; Innovation; VET School Networks; Public-Private Partnerships

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