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Business & IT Experience
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project targets Barking & Dagenham College (BDC) learners who are studying a Business & Finance BTEC Level 3 qualification and Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) learners, who are studying a HND Level 5 qualification. The participants will complete a 4 week mobility experience within a range of Business and ICT focused organisations; the hosting organisations will provide the participants with the opportunity to increase their professional skills and work based competences, with a view to making them more job-ready and placing them in a strong position to access job opportunities. Both the Business and ICT sectors have been identified as growth areas that will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the UK in the next 7 years and the mobility project will assist the participants in terms of understanding the needs of employers and being well placed to access employment opportunities as they are created. The participants will complete their mobility experiences in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. Prague has been selected as an ideal destination for this target group of participants as the creative and digital media industries, which will provide opportunities that respond to the needs of the ICT students, has seen a huge increase in growth over the past decade, to become one of Europe's leading hubs for digital and creative technologies. Similarly, partly due to the investor-friendly approach of the Czech government, business growth in Prague has increased massively in the last 15 years, providing a multitude of work placement opportunities that respond directly to the needs of Business & Finance participants. As part of the Business & Finance and ICT courses, the participants involved in this project will be required to gain sector specific practical work experience in order to achieve their full qualification; the mobility project will offer the opportunity to gain real work experience within a professional environment, whilst increasing their personal and soft skills. Whilst the course that the participants are studying at BDC will equip them with technical skills and theoretical knowledge, the mobility experience will add value to the participants' studies through the provision of a practical element that will increase their employability and significantly improve their chances of obtaining sustainable employment at the end of their studies. The project will recruit 66 participants to complete a 4 week mobility in Prague over a project cycle that will span 2 academic years. In each academic year 1 group of 15 ICT participants and 1 group of 18 Business & Finance participants will travel to Prague with an Accompanying Person (BDC course tutor), to complete their mobility. The vast majority of participants will not have completed an overseas work placement and therefore the 4 week mobility period is considered a realistic and attainable time frame for each group to gain valuable work experience, allowing a sufficient period for the participants to adjust to life in a new country as well gain a meaningful experience with the host organisations that will enable them to achieve their specific learning outcomes. Within their work placements the Business & Finance participants will complete tasks within their host organisation that include strategic planning, marketing and business analysis. ICT participants will undertake various duties that include contributing to the design of user interfaces, editing, user centred design and programming in JAVA, J2EE. The completion of these tasks will respond directly to various mandatory units within each of the respective course curricula and the participants will gain first hand experience of working in a team within a fast paced, professional business setting. Within their placements the participants will receive support from staff within the host organisation; this staff member will assist the participants and review their progress towards achieving Learning Outcomes, as well as providing a basic function in regards to pastoral support. All of the project participants will agree a number of different Learning Outcomes at the start of their mobility, which reflect key skills, knowledge and work based competences that need to be achieved in order to obtain specific course units; participants will work towards achieving these Learning Outcomes during their 4 week mobility. Ahead of commencing their mobility the participants will receive preparatory training in the UK. This will include some linguistic training, to help the participants to cope with daily situations, as well as some practically focused training which will assist the participants to prepare and maintain realistic expectations. The mobility project will also benefit BDC staff, enabling them to increase their teaching competences as well as gaining a better understanding of the needs of employers, on a European level.
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