Business College Helsinki

Top vocational education and training experts meet in Amsterdam

Top experts in vocational education and training gathered at the Forum for Vocational Excellence in Amsterdam on 25-26 September 2023, the first time the event was held in Spain last year. More than 400 participants attended the event in Amsterdam, with around 200 participants from all over Europe and beyond participating online. Participants included training providers, national authorities and companies. The Forum was organised by Katapult from the Netherlands in cooperation with Tknika (Spain, San Sebastian) and the EU Commission and the Community of Practice of COVE project managers (COVE = Centres of Vocational Excellence).

Business College Helsinki was present at the Forum through the DIHUB project. The project was presented at a stand in the lobby of the event with the help of DIHUB project brochures and a video. Rector Jaana Lehto, Development Manager Jouni Hytönen and International Operations Manager Hilla Helasaari were present at the event. The main panel on the second day of the event included EU Commissioner Nicolas Schmith (Jobs and Social Rights) and Dutch Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf. The panel also included a Dutch teacher, entrepreneur and student. The Dutch Education Minister stressed the speed of change in today’s world and our need to develop education in a time when so much can happen in a month. Many young people who are not traditionally thought to be suited to vocational training for one reason or another are being left out of education and training and are falling out of it. We should be thinking about how to get these young people back into education by making the education sector more suitable for them. Should the education and training system be made more suitable for young people, rather than looking to young people for the blame?

The event also included workshops where different dimensions of professional competences, mechanisms of action and networking with different actors were discussed. The Forum for Vocational Excellence has been recognised by the European Commission as an important voluntary institution for the development of vocational education and training, and sets an excellent example for other European development platforms. The initiative for such a platform has been taken by a voluntary COVE Community of Practice working group of COVE project leaders, which meets regularly and in which Business College Helsinki is also represented.

Erasmus+ COVE funding builds on the 2018 Centres of Vocational Excellence EU initiative. In addition to these funded COVE projects, the EU has mandated the European Training Foundation (ETF) to research and develop a COVE Label and COVE Award for VET providers or a VET consortium with a theme. The COVE Label will be launched in 2024 and will be divided into two quality labels. The first label will be awarded when an organisation commits to pursue the COVE label on the basis of a set of criteria (indicators). In the second, the organisation carries out a self-assessment of its performance using the ISATCOV tool against a set of indicators and the self-assessment is validated by external evaluators. The Quality Award is a European VET award based on the same indicator base as the Quality Label. It can be awarded annually to one or a maximum of a few VET organisations.

In 2019-2022, Business College Helsinki implemented the Digital Innovation Hub for Cloud Based Services (DIHUB), a project of excellence in vocational education and training. It was funded by the Erasmus+ “Centres of Vocational Excellence” (COVE) programme ( To date, the EU has funded a total of 35 COVE projects on different themes.

For more information, please contact Jouni Hytönen,

COVE Forum panelists
DIHUB project
COVE Forum participants
    Business College Helsinki