Over 100 European project managers from Salesian schools, VET (Vocational Education and Training) centers and social works based in over 10 European countries joined the 10th annual meeting of the “Salesian Europrojects” network. This year’s edition, formerly scheduled for a longer time in Brussels, took place on the 18th and 19th of November 2020 fully online, because of the covid-19 pandemic. On the second day, the participants received a training on the European Union’s (EU) policies for vocational educational and training by Mr Joao Santos, Deputy Head of Unit in the European Commission. The meeting offered also the opportunity to present the results after the first year of the “DBWAVE” project for a Salesian network of VET in Europe.
The meeting started in the morning of Wednesday 18th of November, with the greetings of Fr Miguel Angel Garcia, General Councillor for Salesian Youth Ministry. Fr Tarcizio Morais, coordinator of the Salesian EuroProjects network, offered then some ideas on how to better cope with the present challenges at the time of covid-19 pandemic. A time was offered in the same session for the sharing of experiences from different countries and contexts, as well as for the presentation of recent proactive good practices developed by the participants. In the last session of the first days, four different inputs were provided. Ivan Toscano, programme manager of CNOS-FAP (Italy), presented the most recent information on EU funding, including the Erasmus programme. Renato Cursi, Executive Secretary of Don Bosco International (DBI), shared the most recent updates on EU policies for education and vocational training (such as the European Education Area, the Digital Education Action Plan and the Pact for Skills) emerging after the 5th edition of the European Vocational Skills Week (9-13 November 2020). Tania Romualdi, from CNOS-FAP Bologna (Italy) and consultant for DBI, presented the “DBWAVE” (Don Bosco Web for a more Accessible and inclusive VET in Europe) project. Merche Lopéz, from the Salesian school of Saragoza (Spain), also presented a digital tool, being developed within the framework of the DBWAVE project, to track the experience of Salesian VET graduates in Europe.
On the second day of the Salesian Europrojects meeting, Mr Joao Santos, Deputy Head of Unit in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, delivered a training on EU policies for VET and on “skills ecosystems”. Among these ecosystems, a particular focus was offered on the recent initiative of the Centers of Vocational Excellence. Positively impressed by the number of the participants and acknowledging their important contribution to quality education in Europe, after his input Mr Santos replied to all their questions for over one hour. The last session was devoted to networking in separate groups according to the different sectors: schools, VET, social works. While waiting for better times for mobilities and international partnerships across Europe, this group of Salesian project managers has highlighted the importance of strengthening the relationships among partners for future collaborations. Participants appreciated the training and information provided and underlined how important is to keep on studying in order to provide quality opportunities for young people in the coming years.