Students from Thessaloniki’s University of Macedonia have visited Cedefop to get acquainted with the organisation and what it does for vocational training and employability in Europe, as part of its mission to engage with the local community.

The visits were organised by Corinna Frey, Cedefop senior expert, Public Relations and Events.

On 10 April and on 6 June, 27 undergraduate students of the Department of International and European Studies, led by Assistant Professor Ioannis Papadopoulos, had the opportunity to receive first-hand accounts of Cedefop’s work. Senior expert Steve Bainbridge presented the agency’s work on skills forecast at their first visit and made a historical flashback and analysis of European Union policymaking in the areas of vocational training and lifelong learning at the second. Both presentations were followed by lively discussion with the students.

Some of them also expressed an interest in Cedefop’s traineeship schemes, while others focused on the ability to access the library for up-to-date information on particular topics.

Mr Papadopoulos noted: ‘It was the first time that these students visited a European organisation that is actively involved in the research and planning of special European policies. Their programme of studies includes the history of the European Union and the European integration process, and for this reason this visit offered them a valuable insight to the operation of such an organisation.’

About 40 under- and postgraduate students from the Department of Educational & Social Policy visited Cedefop on 14 May, under the supervision of Assistant Professor Ioanna Papavassiliou. Cedefop experts Loukas Zahilas, Pedro da Fonseca and Giovanni Russo talked to them about lifelong guidance, the national qualifications framework as well as about the agency and its functions.

Ms Papavassiliou said: ‘It was all in all a very interesting and successful activity, where students and their teachers were positively impressed. Each of the presentations was followed by lively discussion, questions and answers. As a result of the visit, we can also say that three of our participants applied for a Cedefop traineeship.’

The feedback from the students was also positive. Here is what some of them said:

‘The visit was for me a unique learning experience. We got plenty of information as well as the experience of a multicultural work environment among Europeans.’

‘We received fully reliable information about very important education and employment subjects.’

‘It was a chance for us to get to know Cedefop and its activities, but I can also see a chance for further cooperation between Cedefop and our Department in their common area of lifelong learning.’

‘I felt like being in a very active place, watching research actions in their development.’

‘It was for me a unique opportunity to see and get information about a European organisation.’

‘In a very difficult period for Greece, financially and socially, there is a European organisation, based in Greece, which can still do an excellent job. That made us hope for a better future if there can be planning, good will, respect and honest effort.’

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