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The second European Vocational Skills Week is here!

Throughout this week we will be showcasing vocational excellence and raising the awareness of the wide range of opportunities available.

This newsletter contains information to help make the most of the Week.

The plenary sessions of the European Vocational Skills Week Brussels events will be webstreamed! Follow the links below.

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Thursday 23 November 2017

Friday 24 November 2017

Throughout the Week use #DiscoverYourTalent #EUVocationalSkills to be part of the conversation on social media.

Post a message to tell us what you’re most looking forward to during European Vocational Skills Week, change your Facebook profile picture or even post a selfie from an event! Watch the video of Jorge Arévalo Turrillas, Regional Deputy Minister for Vocational Training at the Basque Government on the Facebook page.

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Da Vinci Symposium Recap, Photos and Presentations

TA3 2017 Theme: Crafting new learning environments; Be an entrepreneur of your own future!

Powerpoint presentations and photo gallery below

Watch a short video of the event here!

The 2017 TA3 Conference in The Netherlands, organised by Da Vinci College and Markiezaat College has adjourned.

Many TA3 members from the United States, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Spain, The Basque country, Germany and The Netherlands attended the symposium that was kicked off on 11th June with a cultural programme in Dordrecht city centre, visiting the Hof van Nederland museum. Participants were introduced to major events in the history of Dutch democracy, followed by a walking tour of the inner city sites.

On Monday at the venue of the Sustainability Factory TA3 members were joined by representatives from the European Commission, Efvet, Innotecs, the Dutch VET council and many colleagues from Dutch community colleges.

Marloes de Vries, vice president of the executive board of Da Vinci College welcomed attendees, reminding them of Leonardo da Vinci, whose curiosity and fascination for innovative objects and concepts would inspire us during the symposium and hopefully would enable us to think in different directions.

Keynote speaker Ruud Veltenaar, a very inspirational philosopher, reminded us that the world is in transformation towards the next phase in civilisation, which will have an influence on everybody. This transformation is already taking place: Shift happens! Education is to serve as a bridge between our inner world and the external world so that we may meet, face and solve our challenges, working for a greater purpose while investing in well-being rather than welfare.

European Commission representative João Santos explained European actions taken on mobility, Erasmus+ and ways of financing the efforts. He reminded us that young people will undergo numerous transformations during their working lives and will have multiple careers.

Other keynote speakers, professor Egbert-Jan Sol and Siemens Netherlands CEO Ab van der Touw confirmed these views in different ways in their analyses of job-related issues, demographic developments and stressing that employability depends on life-long development. Katie Hall and Susan Lupo stressed the importance of life-long learning pathways as a condition for remaining employable. Job descriptions should be well-aligned to the competencies required by enterprise, business and industry. They presented a framework for credentialing, developed by the Lumina foundation.

The speakers presented a joint vision of competencies that are crucial to employees of the future. We need people to have multi-communicative skills, to be flexible and adaptive and work together, combining the common good and personal interests. Interdependence will be a key factor in our lives. Education should be focused on both social and emotional intelligence.

Our teachers and leaders need to be curious, eager to learn and willing to share their knowledge and expertise. A concept like Watson IBM could involve enormous numbers of people in decision-making, based on algorithms identifying the optimum scenario. The shift is ongoing and will be ever more noticeable to all of us. Several speakers also mentioned the possibility of providing everybody with a basic income, preventing social problems and enabling people to free their minds to contribute without having to worry about basic needs.

Whatever we do: action is required.

After the keynotes the stage was set for a round of interactive workshops or breakout sessions exploring the focus areas of the conference theme, moderated by TA3 members.

The three focus areas were explored by both member and non-member attendees, the sessions providing plenty of opportunity for exchange of opinions and expertise. Of course sessions like these are not a source of ready answers, but represent a process of exploring global questions and issues that might lead to various local solutions, the start of an ongoing search process for the coming period.

The focus areas were: the transformation of learning environments, leadership of scalable innovation and learning and credentialing / life-long development.

Participants then had a tour of the Sustainability Factory, being the venue for the conference. They were presented with a short introduction to the concept of hybrid education in which the frontiers between education and enterprise are becoming more fluid and are gradually disappearing, one step beyond work-placed learning. They were involved in a number of hands-on activities, such as simulated welding, programming robots, and viewing the Nacelle. The Nacelle is the first simulated wind turbine in The Netherlands, recently acquired by Da Vinci College.

This very inspirational day was concluded by an informal dinner buffet, enabling participants to share their experiences of the day, strengthening relationships and tying new bonds.

During the industry tour on Tuesday we visited Woensdrecht airbase. The industry tour made it clear to all participants that regional cooperation is absolutely vital towards building sustainable economic progress. Tapping into the needs of regional enterprise and aligning efforts of education, local authorities and business to these needs, has yielded a common ground for further development.

A region needs a particular focus, in Dordrecht this is the Maritime Delta, in Woensdrecht it is the combination of the commercial Aviolanda Business Park with the military airbase being in conjunction with aircraft maintenance and training. This was even translated physically by removing the frontiers between both bases, a sign of mutual trust. The municipal authorities have been instrumental in bringing about and maintaining these networks. This has also been the main reason for Aviolanda to resettle in the region and for steady enhancement of the business environment by attracting new partners.

The cooperation described and the interconnection of multiple smaller networks is highly conducive to creating sustainable economic growth and has created thousands of (new) jobs. Markiezaat College presented participants with an overview of these partnerships involved in the maintenance of civil and military aircraft. The behind-the-scenes presentations and walks around the airbase were quite impressive. What was most striking is, that in order to be successful, concepts depend very much on informal relationships, lots of patience, concerted effort and a willingness to succeed.

The Dutch Air Force provided insight into the workings of the military operations at Woensdrecht and the cooperation between civil and military authorities. At the AMTS (Aircraft and Maintenance Training School) the attention paid to detail, quality control and safety regulations was quite visible, students being well-trained to reduce the number of mistakes to a minimum. The visitors went on to the Markiezaat campus where they were shown the learning environments of building and construction.

The Wednesday members’ business meeting reconfirmed the commitment of TA3 members to expand the network, to increase member-driven activities and to seek the cooperation of other alliances to enhance the impact the network may have on vocational training.

The presentations and impressions of the conference will be made available to participants (and other interested parties) through various links on this website. Due to contractual obligations Ruud Veltenaar’s presentation may only be made available through the following link, deze link (English version) or deze link (Dutch version) and must not be shared for unauthorised publication.

We thank all those who have contributed to making this conference a great success: the keynote speakers, the American and European secretariats, artists, Da Vinci and Markiezaat staff and students, workshop and breakout moderators, representatives of municipalities, and of course: the participants!


Presentatie TA3 Ab van der Touw

Presentatie TA3 Burke Murphy

Presentation TA3 Joao Santos

Presentatie TA3 Marsha Danielson

Presentatie TA3 Mark Weber en Michael Malone

Presentatie TA3 Katie Hall en Susan Lupo

Presentatie TA3 Egbert Jan Sol




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Da Vinci Photo Gallery

Photo Credit: Christinne Venter, Student, Da Vinci College Art & Design Department

Dordrecht, Netherlands

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TA3 European Secretariat, Hans Lehmann, EUC Syd Denmark participating in UNESCO event on Education for Sustainable Development

UNESCO is the lead agency for the Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), the official follow-up to the UN Decade of ESD (2005-2014). One of the GAP’s five Priority Action Areas focuses on implementing sustainable solutions at the local level. This involves mobilizing local municipalities and communities, ensuring that they have sufficient capacities in ESD, strengthening learning opportunities for citizens in various settings, and promoting collaboration among local stakeholders in different sectors.

To build global momentum for mainstreaming ESD at the local level, UNESCO will organize workshops in all five UN regions between December 2016 and December 2017. UNESCO will invite twenty-five cities or municipalities, each represented by two people, to participate in each regional workshop. At these workshops, which aim to enhance cities’ knowledge on how to best integrate and implement ESD activities, participants will share ESD practices and policies in urban contexts.

Together with the deputy manager from Sønderborg, I participated in the conference. The participants discussed how Education and Learning can support development and secure a sustainable future for all.

This is one of 5 events, (one in each UNESCO region is planned). Photo of our group at the UNESCO UIL headquarters in Hamburg, Germany at the Chinese conference center (a gift from Hamburg’s partner city Shanghai). There are participants from 15 European countries and North America (Canada, USA)

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What’s your community’s Return on Involvement?

This is a new lens on an old frame.  Communities today are revitalizing themselves not only seeking a Return on Investment, but also a Return on Involvement.  Attending a recent RED Group session – Regional Economic Development Group of Minnesota, I heard stories that put new meaning to *ROI.

Leaders from three regions in Greater MN put forth narratives that captured community driven grass roots initiatives aimed at improving the economic future of their regions.  With the creation of Bemidgi Leads in the Northwest, GreenSeam in Greater Mankato and a refreshed portrait of growth in Duluth in Northeast, MN, we learned about the power of effective and prolonged “intentional collective action” as cultural game changers in each of these regions.

BemidgiLeads (Building a Future of Promise for Our Community) participants gathered every week for three years to listen, evaluate and measure the pulse and prospects of their regions economic future – and they did it gratis!  They knew they had to take charge of their economic future to shape and revitalize the future they aspired to.  The effort has been transformative – creating a new narrative that is changing the cultural economic identity of their region.  They also determined that workforce and talent development could not be separated from economic development.

A decade later they are seeing the value of “the 16 destiny drivers” they developed as guiding the ongoing outcomes of their early listening sessions.  BemidgiLeads provided the community with a vehicle for people to make a difference and that in fact, created alignment at a strategic level!

One phenomenal active commitment they made is to Student’s First – assigning a town mentor to each and every 1,600 high school students! This kind of ROI sends a powerful signal to youth that they matter to the future of Bemidgi!  This one on one commitment has the potential to benefit the longevity of their community for generations. Measuring that Return on Involvement could be groundbreaking!

Each of these regions was once dependent on a natural resource based economy and find that today’s technology driven 21st Century Agriculture contributes more broadly, intersecting the local economy through tourism and business services.  All three regional initiatives defined success based on a new narrative, releasing themselves from the mantle of complaint, grievances and old myths to form instead a fresh identity to carry them forward, together.

Their Return on Involvement made me think about the preeminence given to “big data,” to the concepts of quantification trending nationally.  And these stories underscore the quote –

*“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” William Bruce Cameron

Alignment of assets and aspirations for a community can be measured as a Return on Involvement, especially if the interdependence that develops works not only across sectors but also inclusively across race, class and gender.

TA3 is a member driven network that brings a high level of Return on Involvement.  So consider joining us as we push the frontier of ideas at the next TA3 2017 Symposium in the Netherlands on new learning spaces.

  1. *the phrase Return on Involvement, is attributed to John Foley, Level Brand, Minneapolis, MN
  2. *Often attributed to Einstein but actually coined by William Bruce Cameron in “Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking”

By L. Burke Murphy, Director of TA3

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TA3 International Symposium Convenes at Lawson State Community College

(BIRMINGHAM, Alabama/June 9, 2016) – Participants journeyed from vocational and technical colleges in Denmark, Germany, the Basque Country, Northern Ireland, and the Netherlands and from the across the United States to Lawson State June 5-8 for the 27th Trans-Atlantic Technology and Training Alliance (TA3) Symposium. The conference topic was: Reaching the Millennial Workforce: New Ways of Learning, Earning, and Interacting in the Digital Age.

The program featured an outstanding lineup of experts from the U.S. and Europe who shared the perspectives of educators, the private sector, philanthropy and policymakers. “Our agenda included subject matter and experts who provided marketplace intelligence to our constituents – leaders of community and technical colleges and associated groups – to help understand the future contexts in which we are preparing our students and workers,” said Dr. Perry W. Ward, president of Lawson State Community College.”

A focus group comprised of four millennials from the Birmingham area provided their perspectives and interacted with the panel and the audience. Here are some key insights from the millennials:

  • All young people, regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic circumstances, education or geography want mentors.
  • Millennials want to have control over their path in life and education.
  • Millennials want to be connected – to the mission of a company, digitally, socially and within their communities.

Panelists shared these thoughts and recommendations:

PANEL A: New Ways of Learning

  • Millennials actions are heavily influenced by the economic conditions in which they grew up.
  • More robust career guidance is needed – teach students how to learn and self-actualize, connecting their passion with their values for a more sustainable career path – in order to get “the right person in the right seat.
  • Robotics will either be utilized to take your job or be your coworker.

PANEL B: New Ways of Earning

  • Continuous and blended learning is best suited for Advanced Manufacturing.
  • The number of jobs will decrease, but the level of specialized skills needed will increase.
  • There will be a universal need for hard and soft skills in all occupations.
  • Industry 4.0: Increasing productivity, connectivity and cost savings using data.
  • Great companies come down to people, skills and competencies.
  • Public private partnership is the key to success.

PANEL C: New Ways of Interacting

  • Teach skills in demand through contextualized learning, internships, and apprenticeships. Proficiency in literacy and numeracy are key!
  • Translation of skills is as important as having them in the first place.
  • There has been a shift from ‘lifetime employment’ to ‘lifetime employability.’

PANEL D: New Ways of Innovating

  • Tools for innovation include boot camps for entrepreneurship and Global Accelerator Networks.
  • Keep it Local Pledge – corporations commit to purchasing locally first.
  • Create new learning environments – with challenge-based learning where all teachers must be involved.
  • Staff need to be able to change through continuous professional development.
  • Preparing students will require mentoring on learning technologies and cohorts of team teaching.

Activities were held on the Birmingham and Bessemer campuses, as well as off-campus sites. The three-day event was kicked off with a tour of the Civil Rights District and reception at The Civil Rights Institute, a gospel choir performance, and exceptional food and hospitality. A tour of the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plant, review of Lawson’s Automotive Program, and The Innovation Depot tour were impressive and well received.

Thank you to our fantastic sponsors who made possible the invaluable opportunities for social networking, establishing connections, and discussing opportunities to collaborate on future projects.

Chancellor’s Office – Alabama Community College System


Festo Didactic


Office of the Mayor – City of Birmingham

Next year’s conference will be hosted by Da Vinci College, Dordrecht, Netherlands.

To see and download pictures from all four days of the TA3 conference, click here!

Download the PowerPoint presentations here!

Dr. Patricia Buckley, Deloitte

Sameer Gadkaree, Joyce Foundation

Gerry Campbell, Chief Executive, Colleges Northern Ireland

Xuan Ma, Pearson Education

David Hooks, Director “Edge of Chaos”

Jose Luis Fernandez, TKNIKA

Marloes de Vries, DaVinci College

Thomas Lichtenberger, President for North America, FESTO Didactic

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TA3/CSW Delegation visits El Salvador in February

Our highly engaged and productive week with the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) Team in El Salvador included review of documents we prepared for them in order to provide frameworks in setting up Industry Advisory Boards, Externship Programs, Faculty Development and Training in 21st Century Pedagogy as well as an extensive chart of internationally recognized certificates in many of the designated subsector categories of IT businesses in El Salvador.

Based on a rigorous selection process, RTI selected its first priority sector to be in IT, in Spanish – TIC (Information Technology and Communication). In a breakfast meeting with the IT industry association, CASA-TIC, our TA3 team led a highly engaged discussion about developing a more formal partnership between IT businesses and Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s). Members of CASA-TIC committed to joining the IT Industry Advisory Board (IAB) requested a Resource Guide be developed by our team to guide them in the formation and practice of the IAB.

A similar rigorous process was undertaken by RTI to select HEI’s with the leadership, depth of resources and willingness to commit to being Anchor and Associate HEI’s on the IT Industry Advisory Board. During a luncheon at the Crown Plaza Hotel, our TA3 team made a presentation to the Presidents of six HEI’s where they announced the Anchor HEI and the five other universities that remain committed as Associate members of the IAB. This was followed up by a TA3 team visit with the Anchor University Francisco Gavidia (UFG) to meet with President Mario Ruiz and the faculty from the Department of Educational Technology.

A Resource Guide is being developed that will serve the formation of IAB’s in six sectors. The next sector on the horizon will be Advanced Manufacturing, likely to be followed by Energy & Energy Efficiency, Food Processing/ Agribusiness, Logistics, and Health products and services.

The hybrid IAB model being developed merges Sector Partnerships and Centers of Excellence into something RTI is calling HEI/Industry Cluster Partnerships, forming the nexus of this USAID Partnership for Economic Growth initiative.

– Project Director, Burke Murphy

CSW Team breakfast meeting with CASA-TIC - the IT industry association on board with the IAB

CSW Team breakfast meeting with CASA-TIC – the IT industry association on board with the IAB

CSW and RTI Team meeting with President (Rector) of UFG, Universidad Francisco Gavidia, selected to be the Anchor HEI of the IT Industry Advisory Board

CSW and RTI Team meeting with President (Rector) of UFG, Universidad Francisco Gavidia, selected to be the Anchor HEI of the IT Industry Advisory Board

 CSW Team presentation to the HEI's selected for the IT Sector Industry Advisory Board

CSW Team presentation to the HEI’s selected for the IT Sector Industry Advisory Board

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TA3 Delegates experience culture, camaraderie and learning exchange in historic Belfast

Delegates from the Trans-Atlantic Technology and Training Alliance (TA3) met together in Belfast, United Kingdom for the network’s annual symposium and explored how to prepare for the future global economy through employer and educator partnerships. Hosted by the Northern Ireland Department for Employment and Learning, delegates and speakers were treated to a fantastic mix of robust learning and cultural exchange, sightseeing opportunities and historical experiences.

An open bus tour of Belfast kicked off the four-day event, followed by a networking reception at Crumlin Road Gaol. The conference featured keynote speakers from the U.S. and Europe, representing a wide variety of government, policy and educational institutions. Afternoon workshops provided further interaction and discussion among group members on the following topics:

• Qualifications,
• Competencies and Credentials,
• Making Apprenticeships work at SMEs,
• Matching Labor Demand and Supply, and
• Successful Models of College-Business Partnerships.

When the day ended, delegates and speakers were treated to local music and dinner at Stormont, the parliament building in Belfast. Minister of Employment and Learning, Stephan Farry hosted the event and concluded the evening with an informative and entertaining tour of the building, including the assembly and senate chambers

At the annual business meeting the next day, delegates discussed potential international collaboration on project work, exchanged ideas about current and emerging issues for educational leadership, faculty, and students, and prepared for the 2016 symposium, which will be hosted by Lawson State Community College, in Birmingham, Alabama.

On the third day, delegates participated in campus tours, including Norbrook Laboratories in Newry, which has grown to be one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies specializing in the development of veterinary and animal health medicines. Delegates were able to meet two apprentices during the tour. Apprenticeships was a central theme at this year’s event and cited as a key component of building the future global workforce.

The TA3 is a membership consortium of more than 30 leading community and technical colleges, and several state system offices, in the U.S. and Europe. The TA3 promotes community colleges’ efforts to support their regional economies, and promotes the value and importance of a global perspective on community college missions. The TA3 is managed by co-secretariats, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce in the U.S. and the Danish Agency for Higher Education in Europe.

More photos here! NI Hosts the TA3 Symposium 2015

tour of lisburn 2




tour of lisburn campus



jim and ed

steve and doug


PowerPoint presentations here!

Keynote Jim Jacobs

Nan Travers and Katie Hall, CSW Credentials Panel

Karin Sondergaard, Sapa Panel Presentation

Marsha Danielson Presentation

Ireland Presentation Matching Supply and Demand Ed Hughes

Preparing the Future Global Workforce D O’Donovan

Padraig Walsh – Presentation to TATTA Conference 2015 (8 June 2015)

Presentation da Vinci College Making Apprenticeships work Belfast June 2015

Presentation Vocational Education Da Vinci College Belfast TA3 tuesday 9th of June 2015 Marloes de Vries

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Leading Policymakers Discuss Workforce Innovation, Agency Programs and Funding Opportunities at the TA3 Policy Forum in Washington, DC

Attendees listen to the speakers on the Department of Labor Panel discuss apprenticeship

Attendees listen to the speakers on the Department of Labor Panel discuss apprenticeship

John Colborn from the Aspect Institute outlines ways for non-profits to effectively engage industry

John Colborn from the Aspect Institute outlines ways for non-profits to effectively engage industry








Member colleges from the Trans-Atlantic Technology and Training Alliance (TA3) convened at One Washington Circle Hotel to hear from a diverse line-up of national experts representing five federal agencies, a policy think tank, foundations and a regional commission. The TA3 is a consortium of leading community and technical colleges in the U.S. and Europe that promotes learning and innovation across borders, supports regional economies, and promotes the value and importance of a global perspective. Speakers offered perspectives on recent and pending legislation, the impact of political changes on workforce initiatives and funding, and successful programs underway around the country. Community college representatives shared experiences and made valuable connections.

Mary Ann Pacelli and Mark Troppe from NIST – MEP kicked off the morning by discussing their state program initiatives for accelerated industry skill development, as well as the paid internship model, part of Right Skills Now. Celeste Carter, NSF – ATE noted the impact a flat budget has had on the ability to fund students in advanced technology fields, while also aiming to increase representation of veterans and minorities in these fields. Several upcoming funding opportunities were shared with members as well.

The U.S. Department of Labor panel featured Gerri Fiala, Laura Ginsberg and Randall Smith who focused on changes to the public workforce system as a result of the Workforce Investment and Innovation Act (WIOA), the benefits of registered apprenticeships and employment initiatives, and supports in place for outreach and services for veterans.

Over lunch, members and speakers were treated to a video conference call with Michael Gould from the Department for Employment and Learning, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, who will host the TA3 June Symposium! After a brief introduction about the country and culture, Michael shared the draft schedule for the four day event that will take place June 7-10, 2015 and will feature keynote speakers from Europe and the United States, and well as workshop sessions in the afternoons. The theme will be “Building on Success – Bringing Business and Educators Closer Together”.

Maureen Conway and John Colborn from the Aspen Institute discussed the role of community colleges in sector strategies and how non-profits can most effectively work with industry.

Jeff Schwartz shared the unique geography and demographics of the Appalachian Region and how the Appalachian Regional Commission works with employers and supports community colleges in the rapidly changing regional economy.

Doug O’Brien and Alex Jones of the U.S. Department of Agriculture outlined the Rural Development initiative, which has a Community and Economic Development Mission and a $200 billion dollar portfolio. The discussion focused on the USDA’s intent to break the cycle of rural poverty by strategically funding and meeting goals set by state directors.

To close the day, Mark Mitsui from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), encouraged members to watch the State of the Union for forthcoming federal funding opportunities, including the American college promise proposal for free tuition at community colleges.

Members noted that the day gave them an insider look at the emerging policy landscape in the U.S., enabled them to make valuable connections they would not otherwise have access to and provided a forum for peer sharing and learning.