Many of the challenges and opportunities that face vocational education institutions are international. So are the solutions!

It makes sense for vocational skills providers to come together to address these challenges and seek opportunities. Other actors like businesses, universities, research centres, local authorities, investors should also join in.

Having started in 2020, the ETF’s Network for Excellence (ENE) is intended to encourage the sharing of ideas, practices and experience between centres of excellence at both national and international levels, inside and outside the EU. 

ETF Network for Excellence (ENE) is working on 10 themes:

  • ​​​Lifelong learning and vocational excellence
  • Education-business cooperation (e.g., work-based learning, public-private partnerships) 
  • Pedagogy and professional development 
  • Entrepreneurial dimension of vocational excellence
  • Industry 4.0/5.0 and digitalisation
  • Autonomy and institutional development (financing, leadership, governance) 
  • Going green – supporting sustainable goals 
  • Smart specialisation – mobilising innovation, ecosystems, and SMEs
  • Excellence in social inclusion and equity
  • Career guidance and vocational excellence

From 2021 till 2023, the Network has focused its activities on six thematic partnerships, through which, groups of centres of excellence have been working together to improve in specific domains of excellence. 

1) Centres of Excellence and their role in Work-based Learning (WBL)

2) Autonomy and public-private partnerships in Centres of Excellence

3) Entrepreneurial Centres of Excellence partnership

4) Going green - GRETA initiative (Greening Responses to Excellence through Thematic Actions)

5) Digitalisation in education and the role of Centres of Excellence - DIGI ENE initiative

6) Skills for Equity and Social Inclusion - ENE SISI - (Sharing Innovation in Social Inclusion)

As of 2024,the focus is more on Entrepreneurial Centres of Excellence, GRETA, DIGI-ENE and Skills for Equity and Social Inclusion.

Since its creation in 2020, the ETF Network of Excellence has grown steadily. As of April 2024, it comprises 311 members from 51 countries worldwide (181 Centres of Excellence from 18 ETF partner countries, 85 Coves from 10 EU member states and 38 from 18 Sub-Saharan African countries, 1 from Philippines, 1 from Bangladesh and 1 from Malaysia, 3 from Switzerland and 1 from Chile).

The ENE supports the EU action to develop partnerships between centres of vocational excellence, with a particular emphasis on the transmission of excellence from the centres to the whole VET system at international level.

For more information about ETF Network of Excellence, please refer to the ENE page on the ETF website Vocational excellence | ETF ( and to other useful links in Open Space:

Link to the launch event of ENE on 3 December 2020

Link to ENE event on 11-12 March 2021

Link to the event on 29 and 30 November 2022

Link to the event in presence in Torino - Internationalising Vocational Excellence - on 9 and 10 November 2023 

Key messages from the ENE annual conference on 29 November 2022 (Day 1):

Key messages from the ENE annual conference on 30 November 2022 (Day 2):