CEPROF stands for “Centros Escolares de Ensino Profissional”, which means “VET School Centres”. It is an SME constituted in 1991 specifically for the creation of the Vocational School of Espinho (ESPE – Escola Profissional de Espinho) – also created in 1991 and is one of the oldest VET schools in Portugal (until 2004 all VET schools in Portugal were private).
ESPE/CEPROF has the permission to be constituted as VET school “Autorização de Funcionamento nr 27” and is accredited by the Portuguese Ministry of Education.
ESPE/CEPROF also embeds a “Centre for vocational guidance and counselling” through its Centre for Qualifications (Centro Qualifica). This centre provides not only personalised vocational guidance and counselling by technicians of this Centre (usually Psychologists), but also validation and certification of professional competences of people over 21 years old. In this process of validation and certification of professional competences, the trainees are coached for the elaboration of a portfolio in which they show their professional competences, and are forward to further training to complement the missing competences.
By the conclusion of this process, the trainees can have their professional competences certified with a VET diploma until level 4, recognized by the Ministry of Education.
ESPE focuses on the VET training areas of Tourism, Cooking and Robotics and has a strategy that regularly creates cross-disciplinary school projects in order to be able to provide cross-disciplinary hard skills to the trainees. Some examples are:
– The setup of an automated system of hydroponic agriculture in the technical class-rooms of cooking, in order to give access to fresh vegetables for these class-rooms;
– The transfer of skills on automation to young entrepreneurs in agriculture (Erasmus+ funded project “Green STEAM Incubator”).