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Pact for Skills
Call for proposalsClosed

Centres of Vocational Excellence

This call supports the establishment and development of international networks of Centres of Vocational Excellence, contributing to creating skills ecosystems for local innovation, regional development, and social inclusion.


Publication date
20 December 2023
Opening date
Deadline model
Deadline date
7 May 2024, 17:00 (CEST)
Funding programme
Level of funding
  • EU level




Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) aim to operate at two levels. At the national level the aim is to involve a wide range of local stakeholders creating skills ecosystems for local innovation, regional development, and social inclusion, while working with CoVEs in other countries through international collaborative networks. At international level the aim is to bring together CoVEs that share a common interest in: specific sectors or industrial ecosystems, innovative approaches to tackle societal challenges (e.g. climate change, digitalisation, artificial intelligence, sustainable development goals, integration of migrants, upskilling people with low qualification levels, etc.), or innovative approaches to increase the outreach, quality and effectiveness of existing CoVEs.

Activities/actions supported

This call will support projects bringing together local or regional partners from various countries to a set of activities under three clusters

  1. Teaching and learning: activities can focus on providing people with labour market relevant skills, implementing a lifelong learning approach to VET, developing VET curricula and qualifications, implementing learner-centred approaches to teaching and learning materials, investing in continuing professional development of teachers and trainers, establishing quality assurance mechanisms, providing guidance services and validation.
  2. Cooperation and partnerships: activities can focus on creating business-education partnerships, including by joining the Pact for Skills, promoting applied research and innovation, supporting VET internationalisation and mobility, fostering entrepreneurial skills, raising VET attractiveness.
  3. Governance and Funding: activities can focus on fostering autonomy and effective VET governance, creating skills ecosystems, developing sustainable finance models.

Projects must include activities under each of the clusters. For each cluster, a minimum number of activities must be selected: at least 4 for Cluster; at least 3 under Cluster 2; at least 3 under Cluster 3.

Proposals must include the design of a long-term action plan for the progressive roll-out of project deliverables after the project has finished. This plan shall be based on sustained partnerships between education and training providers and key labour market actors at the appropriate level. Furthermore, it should also ensure the appropriate visibility and wide dissemination of the work of the COVE network.

Anticipated outcomes

The gradual establishment and development of European networks of Centres of Vocational Excellence is expected to increase VET responsiveness to adapt skills provision to evolving economic and social needs, ensuring that VET is at the forefront of providing solutions to the challenges posed by rapidly changing skills needs. The CoVEs will form an essential part of the knowledge triangle by bringing close collaboration between business, education and research, as well as work between the VET community and across borders.

Institution providing the funding

European Commission

Size of funding

EUR 56 000 000


Overview of eligibility criteria

Any participating organisation legally established in an EU Member State or third country associated to the Programme can be the applicant. This organisation applies on behalf of all participating organisations involved in the project. E.g., VET providers, companies, industry or sector representative organisations, national/regional qualification authorities, research institutes, innovation agencies, regional development authorities.  The organisations must be active in the field of vocational education adn training or in the world of work. 

The partnership must include at least 8 full partners from a minimum of 4 EU Member States or third countries associated to the Programme (including at least 2 EU Member States). Each EU Member State or third country associated to the Programme must include: at least 1 enterprise, industry or sector representative organisation, AND at least 1 vocational education and training provider (at secondary and/or tertiary level).

Overview of award criteria

Award criteria include the following:

  • Relevance of the project (35 points)
  • Quality of the project design and implementation (25 points)
  • Quality of the partnership and the cooperation arrangements (20 points)
  • Impact (20 points)

To be considered for funding, proposals must score at least 70 points.


Application procedures

Applications must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). 

Application support available

For help related to this call, please contact: EACEA-Policy-Supportatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (EACEA-Policy-Support[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

For further information on this funding opportunity please check:


Link to the funding opportunity

Link to the programme for more info