CB_WBL Project Joint Meeting: how vocational education can answer cross-border economic challenges


In the age of technology 4.0 and socio-environmental changes, the demand for professionalism and transversal skills among young people is increasing.

“Work-based learning in the cross-border context” seminar took place on Wednesday 28 th November,in Sagrado (Gorizia), in which experts, speakers, stakeholders of Slovenia, Friuli Venezia Region and Veneto Region took part.

The seminar was the last date of this cycle of initiatives, promoted in the framework of Interreg Project “Slovenian-Italian Alliance for Cross-Border Work Based Learning” (acronym CB_WBL), whom lead partner is the Cooperative Center for Social Activity of Trieste.

This project is focused on work-based learning in the cross-border context. The aim is to enhance the cooperation between educational public institutions and the companies within the program area. This is a model of education which not only provides for classroom-based frontal teaching, but also significant experience in the form of practical learning at the workplace. This teaching methodology facilitates the acquisition of vocational skills as well as transversal skills (soft skills) by pupils, skills which are nowadays very much demanded in the workplace.

Participants learned opportunities for the development of cross-border learning pathways and for student mobility. In the first part a workshop, entitled “The challenges of the economy and the responses of education” and coordinated by Andrej šik (URES), was held. The interventions of Fabio Banali (contact person ASL Liceo Bagatta, Desenzano del Garda), Adrijana Hodak (Šolski center Nova gorica) and Chiara Salatin (ECIPA) highlighted the impact that digital technology and automation are having on the labour market. The speakers also highlighted the fact that environmental protection and the planning of a sustainable development model over time are changing the content/learning modalities in the technical and professional field: for young people the ability to acquire specific skills, which are complementary to the acquired knowledge, is becoming very much important.

In the second part of the meeting the results of analyses on vocational education and student mobility, carried out within the CB_WBL program, were listed by Mitja Stefancic (Cooperative Center for Social Activities) Vedran Jakačič  (Center RS za poklicno izobraževanje) and Teja Žagar (Center RS za poklicno izobraževanje). These analyses serve as a starting point for the development of innovative solutions designed to enhance learning at work in the programming area and to stimulate opportunities for pupil mobility, that between Slovenia and Friuli Venezia Giulia are not yet duly valued. As the communication expert Primož Mahne suggested during his speech, innovative tools include a web site providing practical information and some digital applications, which will be useful to both pupils and to their tutors in the development of learning pathways at work. The same tools are well-matched with other strategies of this type, which are essentially based on people’s interaction.

In the third part of the meeting, held in the afternoon, participants could take part in three seminars, organized in order to reflect together on the development of practical aspects related to learning pathways in the programmatic area as well as on how to promote student mobility between the two countries, especially through cross-border cooperation between schools and a more active participation of pupils, schools and companies in the area.

At the end of the day, participants agreed on good employment opportunities and easy integration into work, from which many young people can benefit, provided that they are able to cultivate their skills, the ability to communicate effectively in the workplace and to approach the world of work with the right amount of curiosity, accompanied by the willingness to learn.