Work Placements Abroad II
Date du début: 1 juil. 2014,
Date de fin: 30 juin 2016
The ERASMUS+ project WPAII started in 2014 aiming at the realization of 78 work placements abroad with a duration of a minimum 3 weeks for apprentices who work in German firms and take part in the “dual system” of German vocational education.
The project was the follower of “WPA” dating from the year 2011 and had the task of consolidation and broadening of the so far achieved results:
A. Enhancement of the internationalisation strategy of the Berufskolleg West in Essen and improvement of the cooperation between educational institutions and companies by sending students abroad.
The gain of new experiences and competences as a result of a work placement should lead to a triple-win-situation for all the partners involved (students – companies – educational institutions) leading in the end to a well-educated regional workforce for the benefit of the region’s competitiveness.
Further milestones had been the stronger involvement of the apprentices’ companies in the process of planning the structure and objectives of the work placement and also the participation of the chamber of commerce in the process of gaining credence among companies in the objectives of the project, inducing them to understand the work placement as a new and rewarding learning environment.
B. For the students the focus was on the following:
- Encouragement and improvement of personal competences such as flexibility, communication skills, team work capacity, tolerance, autonomy, self-confidence, broadening of the personal scope
- Acquisition and consolidation of vocational competences with regard to the level of the individual educational progress and according to a personalized learning agreement
- Improvement of foreign language skills
- Peer-to-Peer-networking: the participants take part in a multiplying process addressing fellow students and sharing their experiences and competences with them.
The documentation was carried out by the adaptation of documents and checklists created in cooperation with the GEB/District government Düsseldorf using I-pads for the preparation of mobilities and performance of work placements. The process of improvement of learning outcomes and of the determination of skills to be achieved by the student was carried on and learning outcomes were documented.
Three further vocational colleges with location in the district of Düsseldorf were participants in the project but in January 2016 it became obvious that not all of the work placements planned could be realized. This was partly due to the retreat of a Swedish partner that should have taken several students because of the loss of a crucial member of staff. Moreover some of the applicants for a work placement in Turkey didn’t take part in the programme because of the worsening political situation in 2015 and 2016.
To utilize the budged planned an amendment was filed in February 2016 to replace student mobilities by ten mobilities of teachers and company representatives (TANDEM-mobilities). The objectives were based on the aims of the GEB’s former project EVC (2014-1-DE02-KA102-000626).
The project’s WPA II final outcome comprised 48 student work placements in 8 different fields of vocational training (i.e. mechanics for constructions, lathe operators, mechanics for industrial machinery, electricians, painters, cooks, photographers, car retailers, wholesales men) and 10 teachers/company representatives’ (chemical industry/power stations) mobilities in seven different countries (France, Netherlands, Turkey, Finland, UK, Sweden and Spain).
The Berufskolleg West carried out the co-ordination. The majority of the receiving foreign companies were reliable and well-known partners because of their participation in former projects.
The students expressed their success in improving language skills, vocational and cross-cultural competences as well as personal skills in their online-reports.
Regarding the teachers’ evaluation on mobilities the information about foreign vocational education systems both practical and theoretical and the organization and internationalization process of vocational colleges was rated most important.
To acknowledge the gained competences each participant was given a personal EUROPASS-mobility and additionally a certificate from the GEB; some participants moreover got an employment reference from the receiving company.
The importance of international work experience in vocational education has grown in recent years. By the project WPA II – ERASMUS + and other projects carried out by the Berufskolleg West in the year 2015 more than
7 per cent of the school’s apprentices were enabled to gain cross-cultural experiences and working competences abroad.
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