The economic and financial crisis has highlighted the pivotal role that adult learning plays in the promotion of employment, economic recovery and competitiveness, as the latter are envisaged in the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. According to the EC Education and Training Monitor 2014, high-quality vocational education and training (VET) is key to lowering unemployment and facilitating the transition to the labour market (EC, DG EAC, Education and Training Monitor 2014).
Relevant quantitative evidence shows that within the group of graduates from upper secondary education, graduates from VET programmes have better employment prospects (Cedefop 2012).
Simultaneously, the acknowledgement of the fact that more adult learning can help Europe to overcome the current economic crisis by meeting the needs for new skills has given a new impetus to the European Agenda for Adult Learning. The Commission’s Renewed Agenda for Adult Learning builds on the Strategic Framework for European Cooperation in Education and Training (ET2020), which is an integral part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, designed to promote growth and jobs in Europe, as well as contributing to the development of skills for the labour market.
The “Virtual Vocational Education and Training – VIRTUS” project develops an innovative, fully functional virtual vocational education and training centre, which provides appropriately designed modular certified courses in Modular Employable Skills (MES), corresponding to a wide range of circumstances such as regional growth potential and/or company restructuring and aiming at increasing the participation rate of adult learners in vocational education and training.
In particular, the virtual VET center provides two modular certified courses on:
1. Tourism and Hospitality Services.
2. Social Entrepreneurship.
An ECVET-standards modular course in Tourism and Hospitality Services undoubtedly corresponds to regional needs as Italy, Greece, Spain and Austria traditionally constitute major touristic destinations for both EU residents and non-EU residents.
An ECVET-standards modular course in Social Entrepreneurship also corresponds to current regional needs and challenges. In the current period of economic and social recession, social enterprises are able to bring innovative solutions for social cohesion and inclusion, job creation, growth and the promotion of active citizenship.