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Apprentices in Vocational Education and Training
Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Dec 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Project AVocET (Apprentices in Vocational Education & Training) is a VET initiative for people who are employed and enrolled on an apprenticeship scheme with a vocational framework recognized by the National Apprenticeship Service. (NAS). The target group also includes vocational training staff, all of whom will be employed in vocational fields ranging from, Health & Social Care, Manufacturing & Engineering, and Motor Vehicle, to Catering & Hospitality, Sport & Active Leisure, Business Administration and Information Technology sectors- with a primary focus on SME (small/medium enterprise) employers where 'transnational' work placements for young apprentices are not generally available. The identified 'needs' in this cohort relate to aspiration, achievement and employability amongst young people who follow the apprenticeship route - if aspiration is about inspiration, and achievement is about opportunity, then employability is about workplace skills - both vocational and personal. The identified needs are also reflected in The social context of the college, which echoes its predominantly rural location with pockets of social and economic deprivation - and a relatively high level of economic migration from EU member states such as Poland, Portugal and Lithuania. This rural economy is separated from larger centers of population by limited road and rail links whilst the skills of its labor market are generally below the national average. In this region the college is one of the larger employers and, with a hinterland extending over 50 miles (80km) from our main campus, we take a proactive approach to engage with our learners and constantly aim to modernise and internationalise their prospects through an active EU agenda. Specific local issues include NEET (Not in Education, Employment & Training) and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) whilst our commitment to raise the career aspirations and vocational skills of our young people through mobility exposure to the ‘wider’ work experiences and opportunities available in mainland Europe, complements local efforts to attract inward investment to the area from our European trading partners. The specific aims of the project is two-fold - to engage young apprentices in a structured work-placement with a host employer in another EU Member State, and to engage training/teaching staff in parallel teaching observations/job shadowing roles, where a sharing and comparing of innovative and new practices can be experienced. These placements will expose participants to new people, new places and new cultural norms, which aims to make them highly receptive to new approaches in the teaching and learning of unfamiliar skills This alternate context will be used to reinforce the Project AVocET goal which is to improve vocational skills capability and enhance the employability of Apprentices, and support teaching Professional Development. The content of the project, with a primary focus on experiential learning in a host-employer workplace, will facilitate the acquisition of both vocational/technical and professional skills and social/language skills, whilst extended exposure to a different culture and lifestyle will help to develop positive attitudes, promote European citizenship/integration, build self-confidence and encourage IVT participants to explore pan-European employment opportunities. The project also incorporates a valuable underlying activity which is specifically designed to underpin and develop the ECVET principle, while at the same time raising personal horizons for wider opportunities in the employment market. Language skills are assessed pre- and post mobility to provide an indicator of cultural exchange and capability as aresult of participating in project AVocET. The desired impact that project AVocET aims to achieve are twofold: It aims to meet the aspirations of the European Quality Charter for Mobility (2006), by both enhancing personal and professional development, and also improveing the quality and efficiency of education and training systems by the creation of a true European area of education and training. Project AVocET addresses and supports both of these aspirations through meaningful and reliable employer linked mobilites, and professional training development opportunities using trusted and established European partners. This move towards an ECVET model for training reflects our support of the European Charter aim to develop a "true European area of training..." Each partner is committed to the mobility of VET placements to the development of the structured, transparent, recognized and accredited learning that the ECVET principle incorporates, supporting the Copenhagen Declaration (2002) and the Maastricht Communique (2004) which assert the priorities of transparency, recognition and training quality' for vocational training.

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