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Estonia: Vocational Skills Night boosts VET visibility

Vocational Skills Night (Oskuste ÖÖ) was held in Estonia on 17 October 2019 for the third time. This is a major event celebrating European vocational skills week, introducing vocational schools and promoting vocational education and training (VET).

In the words of organiser Kaire Mets, ‘no one could imagine life without skills and the joy of using them for making things. In our diverse programme, we want to highlight the value of skills and invite young people, families and adults to our VET schools to participate in exciting and hands-on activities’.

Some 26 out of 37 Estonian vocational schools participated in the event and opened their doors from 17.00 to 21.00 to offer a variety of interesting workshops and activities. The workshop topics reflected the diversity of VET, ranging from food photography to masonry, from mechatronics to gardening. Visitors could test a welding simulator or enjoy fashion or hairstyle shows by VET learners. Many schools presented programmes involving cutting-edge technology, such as interactive sandboxing and 3D printing, and quizzes on cyber safety and computer components.

Although surveys show that Estonian VET learners are generally happy with their studies and very satisfied with their teachers, vocational education is not a popular choice among the young ‒ only about 26% of basic school graduates continue to vocational education. VET courses are, however, becoming increasingly popular among adult learners. Vocational Skills Night is there to fight stereotypes and help attract new learners from all age groups to VET.