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Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Tartu Vocational Education Centre, Viljandi Vocational Training Centre and Rakvere Vocational School (consortium) provide vocational education for about 5000 students on a daily basis, constituting almost 20% of Estonian students who acquire their first vocational qualification after either basic or high school. Due to the forementioned impressive numbers we significantly contribute to the Estonian economy and carry a lot responsibility. The new law for vocational schools obliges us to develop learning outcome-centered curricula, shorten the duration of studies, enlarge the role of apprenticeship and flexibility of studies. Companies expect us to offer vocational training in areas which more effectively meet the demand of the labour market and to teach our studets modern working techniques. Requirements for school leavers` foreign language skills and key competencies were also upgraded. When developing their plans, TVEC, VVTC and RVS have taken the requirements into account and prioritised outcome-centered curricula, introducing apprenticeship and enhancing teacher competence. The project sets ambitious objectives: raise schools` and companies` awareness of preparing and introducing apprenticeship through learner and teacher mobility; bring new compentences into curricula and implementation plans design, also into organising high quality apprenticeships, initiating and supporting mutually beneficial contacts between schools and companies; gain practical experiences for apprenticeship supervision from French colleagues. The described approach will guarantee skills that are necessary for establishing closer contacts with companies and labour market which is crucial for vocational education. Other important goals are to reduce dropping out of school and raise the number of school leavers who start work in a job they are qualified for (was only 41 % in 2011), to promote vocational education (motivated applicants) and learner motivation (apprenticeship). Student satisfaction surveys in consortium member schools during the last 5 years have shown that foreign traineeships were often mentioned as a motivator. The number of applicants has gradually gone up, that is why schools development plans include bigger numbers of students who would participate in international projects. To achieve the goals of the project the consortium (in cooperation with accommodation/catering area experts) will organise altogether 38 mobilities, including 3 heads of the corresponding fields, 17 specialists from schools and companies and 17 students. According to the schools plans to start apprenticeship programmes in the nearest future, they will focus on the French apprenticeship competencies and experiences, also on supervision of Estonian students by French supervisors. During the project the activities will be coordinated by a team of project managers that will initiate activities, appoint people responsible and supervise the process and the results achieved. It is important that the project managers support the preparation and organisation of mobilities in all aspects (formation of teams with departments, organising interviews for applicants, organising travel and itineraries, supporting participants, organising assessment, advertising, facilitating communication between departments and partners etc.) As a result of the project the specialists` and students` competences and motivation will have been enhanced, preconditions to reduce dropping out of school and implementing apprenticeship will have been created. The percentage of school leavers who start work in the job they are qualified for will have risen. As a long term effect the popularity of vocational education in Estonia will grow, teachers in vocational education will be more competent and empowered to train highly skilled employees for Estonian entrepreneurs, thus contributing to `Estonia 2020` strategy.
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