SAAM Seminar in Brussels: Opening Session


Place: Bedford Hotel & Congress Centre (Brussels, Belgium)

Dates: 14th – 18th February 2022



9:00 – Warm Welcome from the SAAM promotor 

  • Mr. Alfredo Garmendia (San Viator)

9:05 – Warm Welcome from the SAAM coordinator 

  • Mr. Miguel Santos (Mundus)

9:10 – Welcome by EfVET Vice President

  • Mr. Stefano Tirati

From 1995 till 2016 Stefano directed a vocational training centre in Tuscany implementing IVET, apprenticeships, CVET, vocational guidance, entrepreneurial support. Since 1995, Stefano has led several research and pilot projects, with a local, regional, national or international dimension. He has been responsible for establishing, nurturing and further expanding partnerships involving a wide range of stakeholders: local VET providers, SMEs and multinational businesses, public authorities, research centres, chambers of commerce, social partners.

From 2016, as CEO at Learningdigital, Stefano supports corporate and educational providers to integrate learning processes in digital environments. Since 2018 Stefano had the honour to serve EfVET as Vice President, being responsible for fostering horizontal cooperation among members and implementing policy strategies through projects.

9:20 – Introduction of the agenda

  • Mr. Sergio Lagarde (Mundus – SAAM Technical Coordinator)


9:30 – Short interventions about partnership between Africa and EU

  • EVBB, Mr. Theodor Grassos


Theodor Grassos is Secretary General of the European Association of Institutes for Vocational Training (EVBB), for approximately two years and Vice-President of European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME. Mr. Grassos has a great experience in business development strategies and models and he has developed a creative approach and innovation, aiming to cultivate learning motivation.

Mr. Grassos has participated in European commission working groups as an expert. Among his key qualifications are the hands-on experience in implementing EU projects of high value. Having implemented and participated in numerous projects, he holds a strong knowledge of the current trends and strategies of the E.U. For more than 15 years, he has proven his extensive Knowledge of ESF and EU Education & VET strategies since he has successfully implemented various international cooperation projects Erasmus+, EuropeAid & EEA Grants as well as multiple co-financed projects.


  • Don Bosco Tech Africa, Fr. Tharaniyil George (TJ)

Fr. Tharaniyil George is currently Executive Director in Don Bosco Tech Africa and Technical Advisor to Don Bosco Boys Town. He was also teacher, director, board member for vocational education and training authority and financial administrator for the same association. With his experience and studies in philosophy, motor vehicle mechanics, technical teacher training, theology and master of business administration, he has led courses and seminars in the areas of vocational training and leadership.


  • Don Bosco International, Mr. Renato Cursi

Executive Secretary of Don Bosco International, the liaison office of the Salesians of Don Bosco with the European Institutions in Brussels.


10:30 – Capacity Building in VET Education: A new Erasmus actions is opened in Africa

  • Ms. Michèle Grombeer, Head of the Skills Sector, European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), Unit A2 – Erasmus+: Skills & Innovation, European Commission

Michèle’s professional goal is to translate policy into action. She worked as Policy Analyst for the Belgian Parliament and has a 30-years’ experience in the European Commission and its service providers. Passionate by life-long learning and transmission of knowledge, she joined the EACEA – European Education and Culture Executive Agency in 2006, at its creation. She contributed to the successful implementation of the Youth Programmes, managed several Policy Networks and is nowadays the Head of the Skills sector, in charge of EU funding opportunities in the field of Vocational Education and Training. Her teams are notably responsible for the management of the Erasmus+ Centres of Vocational Excellence, Capacity Building in VET, Erasmus+ Virtual Exchanges, Teacher Academies and EQAVET.

11:00 – Open discussion with the attendance




11:45 – How TVET is going to be a driver for innovation and how is it growing in the future?

Platform of Centres of Vocational Excellence

VET Skills Week

  • Mr. João Santos, Senior Expert, Vocational education and training, European Commission, DG-EMPL

João Santos is a Senior expert in the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion at the European Commission in Brussels. The Unit is responsible for Vocational Education and Training as well as for the policy orientation of the Erasmus+ programme in this sector.

He previously worked as the coordinator of a geographical desk, and was involved in the negotiations on the EU structural polices supported by the European Social Fund. His responsibilities included Employment, Skills, Social Protection and Social inclusion.

He also worked on international relations covering the employment and social affairs dimension of the EU bilateral cooperation with China, the USA, and Canada, as well as on multilateral cooperation within the United Nations framework, on issues related to the Social Dimension of Globalization and the Decent work Agenda.

From 2009 to 2013 he worked at the EU Delegation to China and Mongolia as a diplomatic Counsellor dealing with bilateral trade and investment issues, as well as people-to-people dialogue.


Questions and Answers



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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