The flag Erasmus+, the European Union’s programme for education, training, youth and sport, offers training, learning and mobility opportunities for Vocational Education and Training (VET) learners and staff, in Erasmus+ Programme Countries1 (27 EU Member States + 6). No Programme Countries, otherwise known as “Partner Countries” can take part mainly in higher education and youth activities, which are open to the whole world.

A move to internationalise the VET sector is taking place in the EU and a number of Partner Countries are asking for opening of the VET actions under Erasmus+ to international cooperation, to benefit from the good experience, which has been accumulated in the framework of Erasmus+ and its predecessor programmes.

The Economic Reform Programme for the Western Balkans recognises the importance of vocational educational and training (VET) in underpinning industry and propelling economic growth. VET graduates are also job creators. Labour market relevant skills acquisition must be adopted and recognised in all types of training, be it formal, informal or non-formal as most of the training is happening in the informal sector. VET must be a coherent system whose purpose is to meet the demand of socio-economic development in terms of quality-skilled human resources. In coherence with the 2016 Torino Process  Regional Report, the Western Balkans have VET’s responsiveness to the economy high on their reform agenda in a context of sluggish employment and high youth unemployment. Currently in the Western Balkans, the relevance of VET to employment is limited, training is costly and investments by governments challenging. The enrolment levels have increased, but the access of young women to VET remains challenging.

With the publication of the new Strategy on “A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans” by the Commission, adopted on 6 February 2018, the idea of VET mobility has experienced a regained momentum. The Strategy provides significantly enhanced EU engagement to better support the Western Balkans’ preparations on the European path and the VET scheme is one of the actions foreseen for “Supporting socio-economic development”, one of the six flagship initiatives.

The four targeted Erasmus+ partners in the Western Balkans: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo*2have been interested in a possibility of organising an Erasmus-type mobility action for VET, to benefit from the rich experience accumulated in the past and last year’s first pilot VET scheme for the Western Balkans and Africa (EAC EAC/S34/2018).

It is in this overall context that the present second pilot VET mobility scheme is being proposed.

The general objective is to contribute to the improvement and modernisation of VET systems in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo*, as well as reinforcing the links between VET and the labour market.  More specifically, the aim of the call is to enhance the capacity of VET providers in the four mentioned partners by promoting mobility activities aimed at improving the skills and competences of VET teachers, learners and managers and the occupational prospects of young students. Expected General Outputs – Exchange programmes between the four mentioned partners and the European VET providers; – The knowledge, technical and pedagogical skills of VET teachers is improved; – The knowledge of VET managerial staff is improved; – The transversal, generic and subject specific skills of learners are enhanced.

Indicative activities: Mobility arrangements (identification of target groups, development of individual programmes and action plans for schools and teaching staff, implementation of mobility in the EU), document best practices, dissemination at national and regional level,  creation and institution of networks and partnerships for exchanges.

The Commission expects to fund a maximum of four proposals. The total maximum budget earmarked for the co-financing is estimated at 4 (four) million EUR.  The maximum grant for each proposals will be 1 (one) million EUR and the minimum grant will be EUR 700,000 (seven-hundred thousand euros).   The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.

Steps Date and time or indicative period

(a) Publication of the call  8 April 2020

(b) Deadline for submitting applications 17 June 2020 – 12.00 noon (Brussels time)

(c) Evaluation period June – August 2020

(d) Information to applicants November 2020

(e) Signature of grant agreement(s) November- 2020