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European Year of Skills

Meet the Champions of Excellence

23 February 2024

9:00 – 14:00 

Location: European Economic and Social Committee, Rue Belliard 99-101, 1040 Brussels

About the event

Get inspired by vocational excellence at our event on 23 February 2024, hosted at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels. Co-organized by the EESC and the European Commission, this gathering will highlight the value of vocational education and training (VET) and encourage young people to choose VET as an effective learning and career path. 

Key Highlights: 

500 Participants, 400 Young Minds: engage with a diverse and inspiring community, where 400 young individuals converge to explore the boundless opportunities within vocational education and training (VET). 

Champions of Excellence: meet recent EU champions from WorldSkills, EuroSkills, and Abylimpics in more than 20 different disciplines and learn from their experiences and achievements. 

Panel Discussion: Commissioner Nicolas Schmit and EESC President Oliver Röpke will exchange with the champions and talk about VET excellence and the essential role of VET to seize current and future job opportunities. 

Exploring Opportunities in VET: 

Workshop Sessions: engage in discussions and be inspired by VET learners on critical topics such as skills for the future, gender stereotypes, and learning mobility. 

Interactive Stands and Skills Demonstrations: visit our 20 interactive stands, including skills demonstrations in mechanical engineering, robot system integration, car painting, floristry, and more. Connect with organizations shaping the future of vocational education. 



8:30 – 9:30

5th floor

(Atrium 5 & Foyer 5)

6th floor

(Atrium 6 & Foyer 6)

Arrival of participants & registration

Welcome coffee

Interact with the Champions of Excellence, who are available to meet and discuss with the participants (also during the breaks) in Atrium 6

Visit of the stand activities, which remain open throughout the event:  around 20 stands, including skills demonstrations, are displayed on the 5th and 6th floor of the building

Check the map of the venue here.

Wall of ideas (6th floor): leave your mark and contribute with ideas in response to a variety of questions and statements

Photo booth (5th floor): seize the moment and capture memories!

9:30 – 10:15

Room JDE 62 + listening rooms JDE 52 and JDE 51

(interpretation in various languages)

Interactive overview of the event (Introductory session)

Live streaming

Moderator: Rogier Elshout

  • Sofia Sevenants, European Year of Skills Task Force, European Commission
  • Katrina Leitane, member of the European Economic and Social Committee and President of its Youth group
  • Sylvaine Agator, Abilympics Champion, France
  • Charlotte Baeghe, EuroSkills Champion, Belgium
  • Garikoitz Mujika, EuroSkills Champion, Spain
  • Stefan Mißbach, WorldSkills Champion, Germany
  • Efje Descarpentries, National Champion, France


10:15 – 11:15

Room JDE 62 + listening rooms JDE 52 and JDE 51

(interpretation in various languages)


High level panel discussion

Live streaming

Moderator: Rogier Elshout

  • Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights
  • Oliver Röpke, President of the European Economic and Social Committee
  • Laurence Gates, CEO of WorldSkills Europe and Board member of WorldSkills International
  • Jule Janson, WorldSkills Champion, Germany
  • Tamas Bandur, EuroSkills Champion, Hungary
  • Saga Naumanen, Abilympics Champion, Finland


Q&A with the audience

11:15 – 11:45

Coffee break & visiting of stands, skills demonstrations & wall of ideas

Meet the Champions (6th floor) area in Atrium 6

Photo booth (5th floor): seize the moment and capture memories in delightful snapshots!

11:45 – 12:30/45

Workshop sessions

  • Opportunities for Learning mobility - room JDE 63 (6th floor)
  • Fighting gender stereotypes in VET (Vocational Education and Training) - room JDE 51 (5th floor)
  • SkillSet 4.0: Skills for today's and tomorrow's opportunities in the EU - room JDE 62 (6th floor)
  • Together for a digital and sustainable future: developing digital and green skills for every age - room JDE 52 (5th floor)

12:30 – 13:00

Visits of stands, skills demonstrations, wall of ideas, photo booth

13:00 – 14:00

Lunch and Visits of stands, skills demonstrations, wall of ideas, photo booth


Meet the champions

Meet the champions

This is a gathering of extraordinary champions, winners from skills competitions in their respective fields coming from all over Europe!


Get ready to ‘Meet the Champions of Excellence’: Learn from young people who took training routes into dream careers

Want to find out how vocational training could help you land your dream job? Then get ready to Meet the Champions of Excellence – around 40 inspiring young people who’ll be sharing their pathways to success and showcasing their skills as part of a special event on 23 February. The event is co-organised by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee.