About CoVEs


A key initiative of European VET policy

The transnational platforms of Centres of Vocational Excellence are supported by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ programme. CoVEs aim to drive innovation and excellence in vocational education and training, by bringing together a wide range of local partners. VET providers, employers, chambers, research centres, development agencies, employment services, and social partners (among others) work together creating “skills ecosystems”, that contribute to innovation, economic and social development at a regional and European level. Vocational Education and Training (VET) has an important role to play in research, education and innovation. It can contribute to smart specialisation strategies that lead to sustainable growth, innovation, job creation and social cohesion.

The ultimate aim is to provide high quality vocational skills, to support entrepreneurial activities, to diffuse innovation, and to act as knowledge and innovation hubs for companies and particularly SMEs.

Watch the video: https://europa.eu/!cu83xr

The Platforms for Centres of Vocational Excellence initiative introduces a European dimension to vocational excellence by supporting the development of Centres of Vocational Excellence, operating at two levels:

  • National: linking Centres of Vocational Excellence closely to local innovation ecosystems, and connecting them at European level
  • International: establish major hubs through Platforms of Centres of Vocational Excellence for vocational training, by bringing together centres that share a common interest in specific sectors or trades, or innovative approaches to tackle specific societal challenges

Take a look at the CoVE factsheet.


Centres of Vocational Excellence are intended to be world-class reference points for training in specific areas for both initial training of young people as well as for continuing up-skilling and re-skilling of adults, through flexible and timely offer of training for the skills needs of companies.

They operate locally, being closely embedded in the local innovation ecosystems. CoVEs act as catalysts for local business investment, and ensure supply of high-quality skilled workers. They also support entrepreneurial initiatives of their learners (incubators), and act as knowledge and innovation hubs for companies (in particular SMEs).

VET excellence ensures high quality skills and competences that lead to quality employment and career-long opportunities, which meet the needs of an innovative, inclusive and sustainable economy.

Vocational excellence

The concept of vocational excellence entails a holistic learner-centered approach in which VET:

  • Is an integrative part of skills ecosystems, contributing to regional development, innovation, and smart specialisation strategies
  • Is part of research, education, and innovation, working closely with other education and training sectors, the scientific community, and business
  • Enables learners to acquire both vocational and key competences through high-quality education that is supported by quality assurance, builds innovative forms of partnerships with the world of work, and is supported by the continuous professional development of teaching and training staff, innovative teaching methods, mobility and internationalisation strategies.

Elements for success of CoVEs

CoVEs are characterised by adopting a systemic approach through which VET institutions actively contribute to co-create skills ecosystems, together with a wide range of other local/regional partners. CoVEs are expected to go far beyond the simple provision of a quality vocational qualification.

From available evidence (mapping study), keys to CoVEs’ success include:

  • Strong and enduring relationships between stakeholders – stakeholders include VET providers (including VET at the tertiary education level), higher education institutions, and businesses, in which interactions are reciprocal and mutually beneficial.
  • Being integrated in frameworks of regional development, innovation and smart specialisation – this allows synergies to be identified between policies and amongst stakeholders.
  • Integration of activities – there is great potential in CoVEs to achieve more than sum of their parts, in particular, where CoVEs build relationships between activities and research.
  • CoVEs include actions that help address diversity and promote – in particular through innovative and integrated approaches – ownership of shared values, equality, including gender equality, and non-discrimination and social inclusion, including for people with special needs/fewer opportunities.

CoVEs may also be relevant to some EU initiatives, such as the Blueprint for sectoral skills and Sector Skills Alliances that work on related activities such as understanding future skill needs and occupational profiles and translating them to qualification profiles.