Some 185 delegates from 28 different countries attended this international conference in Thessaloniki its’ sponsor and organiser was Cedefop who are the ‘European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training’. Director James Calleja explained their support for the conference by saying “That the core values of vocational education and training lies in quality apprenticeship programmes.” He also noted that apprenticeships give young people the security of a pay packet and dignity of a recognised qualification – both pre-requisites for employment.
SME Instrument: Further €9 million for Feasibility studies (Phase 1) and €108m for Innovation Activities Awarded (Phase 2)
Following the latest cut-off date for Phase 1 of the SME Instrument, out of a UK total of 19 beneficiaries a further 5 SMEs (4 projects) in the midlands region have been selected for feasibility studies under the Horizon 2020 programme. This brings the total number of midlands SMEs who have benefited from Phase 1 funding to 10 out of a UK total of 46. Beneficiaries will receive €50,000 for each project and can also request up to three days of business coaching.
This feasibility study scheme provides businesses with the opportunity to test an innovative idea, develop its feasibility and eventually take it to market. In addition, the first beneficiaries of Phase 2 have also been announced with 2 Midlands SMEs benefitting from funding for their innovation activities and business plan development.
The Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) pilot provides funding for close-to-market innovation activities in any area of technology or application, aiming to reduce the timing of concept idea to introduction to market.
The FTI Pilot will be implemented in 2015 and 2016 with a total budget of €200 million (€100 million per year) across the Horizon 2020 priority Societal Challenges and the specific objective of Leadership In Enabling And Industrial Technologies (LEITs).
Proposals for funding must be submitted by consortia comprising between three and five legal entities established in at least three different EU Member States or countries associated to Horizon 2020. Proposals should build on a business plan and focus foremost on achieving high impact.