Lifelong career development: exchange of good practices between France, Italy, Portugal, Bulgaria and Denmark

Spotlight on COCADE, the Erasmus+ partnership project supporting the exchange of good practices in the education and training sector (VET), coordinated by the Cité des Métiers International Network

In March 2017, the Cité des Métiers International Network made a request for financing to Erasmus+ for the COCADE project: the development of a careers advisory service in an integrated setting. Erasmus+ France / Education and Training selected this partnership project, supporting the exchange of good practices (Key Action 2, Vocational Education and Training). The subsidy granted was 185,195€.

Accordingly, COCADE started in September 2017, for a duration of 18 months. Nine partners from five European countries were involved.

Did you know that 100% of fundable partnerships supporting the exchange of good practices in the education and training sector were subsidised in 2017 and 2018?

Did you know that the objectives of the Erasmus+ VET partnerships correspond to the priority themes of stakeholders in your networks (key skills, workplace training, development of learning, the computerisation of training, etc)?

Did you know that these partnerships are relatively simple to manage? There is no compulsory co-financing; 80% of the subsidy is paid upon signature of the contract.


Discussions with Ludovic Collin, International Coordinator of the Cité des Métiers International Network and COCADE referent, and with Maud Bois-Gallou, network project manager.

  1. Can you tell us about the Cité des Métiers International Network and its main aims?

The Cité des Métiers International Network (RICDM) is an association created in 2001. It currently comprises 34 multi-partner platforms dedicated to the promotion of trades and professional life, in nine countries (France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Togo and Canada) of which almost half are in France (including overseas territories).

In particular it aims to:

  • promote the exchange of best practices between professionals working in Cités des Métiers;
  • facilitate the emergence and spin-off of new solutions, in order to respond better to people's expectations in the construction of their professional projects;
  • promote lifelong careers guidance, in particular through the development of new partnerships at national, European and international level.

In France, the Cités des Métiers are recognised as local stakeholders working for the Regional Public Careers Service (SPRO).



  1. The RICDM asked for financing for Erasmus+ Key Action 2 - a partnership supporting the exchange of good practices. Why did you choose this format?

Two reasons persuaded us to choose this format. First of all, the preparation time for this submission is not as long as for other formats (including partnerships to develop innovation). Secondly, the planned activities sit completely within 'exchanges of good practices'.

Reduced preparation time for the submission

This was the first time that the Network had been involved in an Erasmus+ project as a coordinator. The partnership supporting the exchange of good practices seemed easier to us to construct and then to coordinate. In this way, the team was able to take ownership of the management methods, as much in the administrative, logistic and financial aspects as in managing partnership relations.

Activities centered on the exchange of best practices

The COCADE project carries on the process of professionalisation, already in place within the network. It seeks to experiment and to consolidate, while opening up to external stakeholders. It therefore seemed more relevant to us to focus on a partnership for exchanging good practices, rather than a partnership to develop innovation. COCADE is part of the extension of this approach but shows willingness to have broader geographical coverage and more support for the public known as 'specific'.




  1. What is the COCADE project? What are its objectives and expected results?


The objective of this project is to develop the offer and quality of vocational guidance services in 'integrated places' at national and European level.

'Integrated places' means physical or digital spaces which bring different services and stakeholders together around careers advice. These stakeholders come from the sectors of education, training, employment and the creation of activity; they come from both the public and the private sectors.

For this, the project develops two aspects:

  1. professionalising the business of careers guidance in integrated places and supporting the practitioners in their training;
  2. strengthening the coordination of 'open' partnerships for the deployment of the offer of hosting, information and vocational guidance.  In fact, the adviser's work carried out in integrated places is based on the multi-partner approach, with professionals from different backgrounds. In this way, the regional work of the partners dedicated to careers advice and professional life overlaps the adviser's practice. 

This project consists more specifically of: 

  • strengthening the techniques and methods of the business of vocational guidance, to allow for better consideration of the problems of some publics, such as people with disabilities, young people and migrants;
  • strengthening advisers' transverse and intercultural skills; 
  • promoting the skills acquired by advisers to the partners.



  1. What does the European dimension add to the implementation of these projects? How did you form the consortium of nine partners?

The strengthening of lifelong careers advice and the structuring of the supporting professions form part of the priority issues of the European Commission (see New Skills Agenda for Europe, adopted in June 2016, with particular emphasis on the role of the careers guidance).

To form the COCADE consortium, the RICDM first appealed to members of the Cités des Métiers, especially those involved in the development of an initial training plan for advisers in integrated places. In this way, the Cités des Métiers of Paris, Normandy, Réunion, Turin and Porto joined the consortium.

After that, other partners were invited according to their expertise: RICDM networks and other partners.

University College Copenhagen, Denmark: the University was chosen for its methodology and techniques of implementing the training plan.

Espaço t, Portugal: this association specialises in vocational guidance for publics with specific needs - including disability. It works with the Porto Cité des Métiers.

Business Foundation for Education, Bulgaria: this organisation shares its experience on the certification of professional skills. It was formerly coordinator of PROMETHEUS Erasmus+ project, considered a success story by the EC, as well as by the RICDM.

This diversity of partners ensures the wealth of exchanges of practices.

The RICDM was more in the habit of working with Mediterranean countries, while COCADE was involved in the Balkan and Nordic areas (Bulgaria and Denmark). The process of careers advice in integrated places is well-thought-out and was tested in different regions in order to create a common culture. In the long term, it will be extended to other countries.


  1. What activities have been put in place? What are the main deliverables?


In September 2017, the launch meeting took place, bringing together all the partners of COCADE. Transnational meetings were then held to promote cooperation and mutual understanding, by spreading awareness of the specificities of the different agencies. For example, the Turin Cité des Métiers is in the habit of working with migrant publics; La Réunion Cité des Métiers with NEETS.

To expand the training plan of advisers in integrated places, work experience sessions (with trainers and learners) have been organised in December 2017 in Paris, and shortly in Porto.

The final meeting will be held on 24 and 25 January 2019 in Brussels; it will allow for the demonstration of some deliverables:

  • updating the training plan for advisers in integrated places;
  • validation of the terms of reference of skills for advisers in integrated places;
  • handbook of good practices for the management of partnerships in integrated places.

These deliverables will be also available on EPALE.



  1. What are RICDM's future projects?

Erasmus+ has chosen another partnership project supporting the exchange of good practices. It started in September 2018, for a duration of 24 months.

At the heart of this project lies the professionalisation of the teams involved in lifelong careers guidance, in the context of the digitalisation of society. How can we promote inclusion and digital mediation?

The adventure continues!


Useful resources:


COCADE project: et

Learn about the Erasmus+ Partnership VET exchange of practices and the methods of proposing a project:

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