In January and February 2016, Cedefop received two secondary schools from the Northern Greek cities of Giannitsa and Florina (90 pupils and their teachers) and a group of secondary school directors from the Cretan city of Hania. Cedefop expert Ioannis Katsikis also participated as a keynote speaker in an event on professional orientation organised by the municipality of Kalamaria (Thessaloniki) attended by 70 participants.

The vice-mayor of Kalamaria, responsible for education, training and lifelong learning, said that Mr Katsikis’ presentation was perceived as a ‘reference tool’ by many. Hania school directors were very interested in European tools, pointing out however that the Greek system is still lagging behind in many ways, e.g. as far as parity of esteem for vocational education, as compared to general education, is concerned. Evangelia Sarri, director of a secondary school from Hania, said that the visit helped her understand the important work carried out by Cedefop. ‘The presentations were enlightening and meaningful. This knowledge will be helpful to our students who are seeking information for their future studies. I’ve already informed the school’s teachers’ association for the role and work of Cedefop’ she added.

In general, local stakeholders, especially young audiences and audiences of teachers, trainers and guidance staff working with young people, show a steady interest in Cedefop’s skills forecasts and labour market analyses. They are always keen to learn about Europass and to test it out in interactive presentations. And, considering that Greece is Cedefop’s host country, they are also interested in Cedefop itself, its work organisation and administrative set-up.

Local stakeholders’ positive and grateful attitude is a precious ‘barometer’ for Cedefop. Working for and with EU level stakeholders, Cedefop sometimes has difficulties obtaining information on the impact of its work and on the way it is perceived by its end-users. Greek stakeholders, many of them being multipliers ‘on the ground’, can convey this kind of feedback.

Cedefop continues its close partnership with the Europe Direct office of the Municipality of Thessaloniki. This cooperation is beneficial both to organisers and participants, as the themes covered by Cedefop and Europe Direct are complementary.

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