An exhibition showing the 20 best photos (winners and runners-up) of the first #CedefopPhotoAward was opened by Cedefop Director James Calleja at the Thessaloniki Cinema Museum on 5 November, with three of the four winners present.

The exhibition is hosted at the museum by the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF) and will be open to the public until 25 November.

‘Youth in education and training’ was the theme of the competition on Instagram for EU residents aged 18 to 30. More than 200 photos were submitted during the award’s two phases.

Mr Calleja thanked festival Director Élise Jalladeau for the cooperation with Cedefop, which has made it possible for the winners to attend the opening night of the 57th TIFF on 3 November and watch various movies over the first weekend as part of their prize.

‘This is an initiative where we involve young people in what we do at Cedefop – promoting talent and vocational education and training (VET); when you look at the photos they’ve taken, they are all related to VET, related to a career, and this is in line with what we preach and try to put into action,’ said Mr Calleja.

Beautiful photos

Ms Jalladeau congratulated the winners, adding that the photos ‘are not only interesting, not only telling us about VET; they are also very beautiful.’

She referred to the museum’s educational programmes in film literacy: ‘We welcome more than 25 000 young people who follow the educational programmes every year, so it makes sense to host this exhibition here and it will be a pleasure to have you next year too.’

There were two winners for each phase of the #CedefopPhotoAward. Antía Varela Torres, 18, from Spain and Vasiliki Kalopita, 24, from Greece, who triumphed in the first phase, were at the event along with Raquel Pereira Sousa Pinto, 22, from Portugal, one of the second phase winners. The other, Nico Conti from Malta, was not able to attend.

A great experience

The three winners explained the thinking behind the photos that gave them the award and summed up their experience of taking part.

Raquel, a medical student, said: ‘It’s been a great experience coming to Greece for the first time and visiting Cedefop where I learned many interesting things.’ She is also looking forward to going to Brussels for the first European vocational skills week, organised by the European Commission, with Cedefop one of the partners. There, she and Nico will take part in an award ceremony during the closing event.

Vasiliki, currently a trainee at the European Parliament Office in Malta, singled out receiving her award by Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen at the European Youth Event in Strasbourg in May as the outstanding moment of the process: ‘It was one of the best experiences in my life, which I’ll never forget. Also, being here in a city that I love, meeting all of you and the girls is really great.’

Antía, a photography student, was also impressed: ‘I feel that this award gave me the opportunity to open my world. Going to Strasbourg was such a great experience – going to a foreign country and participating in the event at the European Parliament, giving my opinion on things, being listened to, meeting a lot of people. And then coming here; more travelling, meeting more special people, going to Cedefop.’

Cedefop’s Head of Department for Communication Gerd-Oskar Bausewein, who was behind the idea of the competition, said of the project: ‘For me it’s very important that we were able to reach the young people in education and training in Europe and give them a platform for expressing themselves, their hopes, their dreams, their challenges.’