SAAM Seminar in Brussels: A big success to start a new phase of the project

The “SAAM Seminar: Capacity Building for Leadership in VET Mobility between Africa and Europe” was held in Brussels from the 14th to the 18th of February
The one-week seminar in the EU capital was part of the mobilities from Africa to Europe and a key preparation for the next phase of SAAM

After many months struggling for the visas and with the obstacles of the global pandemic, the SAAM Seminar in Brussels came true. From February 14 to 18, the “Capacity Building for Leadership in VET Mobility between Africa and Europe” took place in the EU capital hosted by the European-wide professional association EfVET. The event gathered around 35 African teachers and members of the management team of the partners’ VET centers alongside their European peers. In total, the event had more than 20 countries represented.

The one-week seminar was a very important part of the stay of the African partners in Europe. The teachers and staff of the VET African centers are spending a whole month in the European partners’ centers to learn how the schools work, strengthen their management and administration skills and see from inside the functioning of an international department. But, besides the job-shadowing in the EU VET centers, the SAAM team considered important to deliver a more specific training on how to establish an international department and that was the main focus of the SAAM Seminar.

At the heart of the project, there are two ideas. That the internationalization of a VET school is always a great opportunity and that strategic partnerships between Africa and Europe are key for both continents. Several experts from the European Commission that were invited to the Seminar also agree on that. The experts from the EU institutions took time to explain how to submit a project proposal, the current interests of the European Commission or how the financing works.

Mr. Joao Santos, Ms. Michèle Grombeer and Ms. Heike Buerskens

Ms. Michèle Grombeer, Head of the Skills Sector (European Education and Culture Executive Agency, EACEA), unveiled the key insights of the Capacity Building in VET Education. She talked about the objectives, the thematic areas, the budget and the Commission requirements of international cooperation projects.

Mr. Joao Santos, Senior Expert in the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion at the European Commission, gave a speech on Vocational Education and Training driving innovation through international networks and cooperation. According to Mr. Joao Santos: “The future of VET cannot be understood without good partnerships and worldwide cooperation; that’s the strength of the SAAM project”.

Ms. Heike Buerskens, Policy Officer VET in European Commission – DG International Partnerships, and Ms. Claire Herrmann, Policy Officer in European Commission – DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, also participated in the Seminar. Ms. Buerskens delivered a presentation on the present and future of the Strategic Partnership between Europe & Africa and investment in TVET Education.

Fr. TJ (DBTA), Ms. Valentina Chanina (EfVET), Mr. Miguel Santos (Asociación Mundus), Ms. Claire Herrmann, Ms. Heike Buerskens and Mr. Alfredo Garmendia (San Viator)

The SAAM Seminar also involved many of the project partners who agreed on sharing their experience in international projects and mobility programmes. They were the ones leading the different workshops which covered all the aspects of developing a project: Béatrice Bellet and Sergio Lagarde from Mundus taught about project design, Claire Challande from SEPR explained how to manage and implement a project and Valentina Chanina and Vittoria Valentina from EfVET shared their expertise in the field of dissemination.

The final goal of the Seminar was to prepare the African staff so that they can establish an international department in their VET centers in the following months. This is necessary for the next phase of SAAM which is the mobility of students, but also to allow the African partners’ VET centers to participate in other mobility projects and give their centers an international dimension. To explain the process of internationalization and the functioning of an international department, there were several sessions lead by SAAM partners too: Ms. Heidi Jokinen (KPEDU, Finland), Ms. Milagrosa Pérez (CPIFP José Luis Graíño, Spain),  Mr. Mirco Trielli and Ms. Thais Dutra (Yes Forum, Germany) or Ms. Carina Oliveira (Insignare, Portugal).

Ms. Cecilia Gbei Davis (Don Bosco Technical High School, Liberia) and Mr. Patrick Hinvi (Ecole Professionnelle Salésienne Saint Jean Bosco, Benin)

During the week, there was also time for the participants to discover the city of Brussels and to visit a Belgium VET Center: the Don Bosco Sint-Denijs-Westrem in Ghent.

Fr. Sudhir (St. Joseph VET Center, Sudan), Fr. Chris (John Bosco Institute of Technology, Nigeria) and Mr. Hervé Berlin Moudio (Proceffa, Cameroon)

The SAAM Seminar was a major opportunity to bring the partnership together again, to start planning the mobility of the students and to look to the future of the alliance between Africa and Europe in VET.



This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union, under the Africa-EU partnership. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union

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