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Partnerships for lifelong learning in engineering and technology
Date du début: 1 sept. 2015, Date de fin: 31 oct. 2017 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

1 Context/background The project “Partnerships for lifelong learning in engineering and technology” addresses two different models of cooperation between actors in vocational and higher education providing consistent and permeable educational pathways from initial training to higher educational levels. The schemes to be analysed are (1) integrated learning opportunities (for example dual study programmes) and (2) bridging programmes (for example programs, where one institution recognises the learning outcomes of another partner). In Europe, both types of programs have become more and more popular and attract a growing number of learners. Meanwhile, there is only limited information on factors determining the success and/or side effects of such partnerships in the long run. Such evidence has to be based on information given by all parties concerned, i.e. those offering the programs (educational institutions), those involved in practical training components (enterprises) and finally those enrolled and seeking employment thereafter (learners/students). The envisaged study will take into account all stakeholders concerned and contribute in filling the knowledge gap in the domain of technical professions in five European countries (Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia and Spain). 2 Objectives The aim of the project is to study the conditions and design of integrated education and bridging programs in technical occupations as well as their impact on a successful entry into the labour market as well as the development of vocational identity of learners. The project seeks for general conclusions in the respective national context and in a European perspective. Future programs can benefit from the experiences made and documented in cases of best practise which the study aims to identify. With this objective the study addresses some major and prevailing European topics such  new innovative curricula/educational methods/development of training courses  labour market issues incl. career guidance / youth unemployment and the aim of  overcoming skills mismatches. 3 Number and profile of participants The approximate total number of participants will be 900 – 1000 with an estimated share of 25-30 experts (incl. researchers), 150-180 company representatives and 700 learners (apprentices and students). In larger countries like Germany and Spain, the number of participants in each target group will be higher than the ones in Greece, Ireland and Latvia respectively. 4 Description of activities The project builds on four major steps that have been described in O1-O4 in detail. In brief these are (1) Mapping the design options for integrated learning opportunities or bridging programs in five European countries Activities will be a combination of desk research and interviews with experts and practitioners (2) Case Studies 1-2 cases per country will be selected for in-depth studies. These will refer to the fundamental characteristics of the partnership, including a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. (3) Commitment studies Learners/students of partnership programs and learners of traditional programs will be interrogated with an online tool. Whether integrated learning opportunities and bridging programmes show any difference from conventional or traditional programmes will be examined. (4) Employer survey Human resource managers/company owners will be interrogated on the extent and nature of employment of graduates as well as on their knowledge, skills and competences acquired through the respective learning pathways and their relevance at work. 5 Methodology Methodologically, the project transcends the explorative perspective of the former study by a research design that includes not only qualitative methods but also a strong quantitative component. A standardised employer survey and a commitment survey of learners will be used to test some of the hypotheses derived from the findings of the previous study. 6 Envisaged results and impacts Based on the analysis, the project team will develop manuals for educational providers and policy makers in Europe that provide information on which types or subtypes of cooperative educational partnerships/programs are suitable to the different educational systems in Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia and Spain or in a similar environment. 7 Potential long term benefits The project will help setting up new educational programs successfully. Also, providers of existing programs will gain from the findings of this study in deriving further reform initiatives. In the long run learning from best practise cases will contribute to successfully addressing the needs of the labour market, providing learning pathways in a sense of permeability and progression without marginalising traditional apprenticeships. The project will thus contribute to decision making in the sense of both, employability and (vocational/professional) educational goals.



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