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Start date: Jul 1, 2014, End date: Jun 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The ACER VETPRO4 project ran from November 2014 to June 2016 and consisted of nine mobilities to Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands. It continued and built upon a series of mobility projects funded under the Leonardo da Vinci strand of the Lifelong Learning Programme which enabled colleges from the East of England to build links with European partners to enhance their staff’s professional development and share expertise through practitioner visits to other VET providers across the European Union. VETPROs 1-3 gave 96 lecturers and managers from 12 of ACER’s member colleges (Further Education, VI Form and Adult Community Colleges) the opportunity to visit European counterparts in Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. The beneficiaries were drawn from a wide range of specialisms including Animal Care, Horticulture, Construction, Motor Engineering, Hospitality and Catering, Travel and Tourism, and Health and Social Care. As a result of these earlier visits, networks, partnerships and staff and student exchanges have been established and VETPRO4 further developed and extended these relationships as well as introducing a number of new European partners from members states not previously involved, such as Italy, Norway and Hungary. 48 college staff benefitted from VETPRO4 as follows: - ACER 3 staff (Hungary and Norway) - Cambridge Regional College 4 staff (Norway, Spain, Hungary and Denmark) - College of West Anglia 21 staff (all desinations except Hungary) - East Norfolk Sixth Form College 5 staff (Hungary, Denmark and Norway) - Oaklands College 8 staff (Netherlands, Hungary, Denmark, Norway) - South Essex College 2 staff (Spain) - Southend Adult Community College 5 staff (Norway, Spain, Norway) Two-thirds were female and one-third male; 43 White British, 5 BME; 17 managers, 25 lecturers/tutors, six training advisors, assessors or in a support role. 12 staff specialised in Work based learning/Apprenticeships; 7 in Health and Social Care/Early Years; 6 in Business/IT; 4 worked with NEET or LLDD students; 4 land based (Animal Care, Equine, Veterinary nursing); 3 maths teachers; 2 language/ESOL teachers and one in Construction. 45 of the 48 participants were either very or rather satisfied with the experience and would recommend VETPRO to others. The activities undertaken during each mobility covered the following: 1. Presentation of the VET system 2. Introduction to language and culture 3. Introduction to the host organisation 4. Visit to any appropriate institution 5. Teacher training 6. Work shadowing 7. Visit to employers In addition a half day was devoted to cultural visits/sightseeing. EU surveys and ACER’s own evaluation forms completed on return showed that 94% of the participants were very or rather satisfied with their experience and would recommend VETPRO to their colleagues. Feedback indicated overwhelmingly that the experience had been inspiring and educational; new relationships had been formed, not only with the European host organisation but also with colleagues from other colleges. The impact of the project is already being felt within colleges with initiatives such as the development of an Enterprise Zone within a college, loosely based on the simulated business model observed in Denmark, and a proposal to give learners responsibility for the care of animals over the weekend as observed in The Netherlands, in order to develop their independence and sense of responsibility. In the longer term we anticipate that colleges will continue and grow relationships to form longer term strategic partnerships with their European hosts through which further collaborative work/projects can be developed, however we recognise that these relationships are likely to be different in nature post BREXIT.
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