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Enhancement of Professional, Intercultural and Communication Skills - 2015
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

EPICS (Enhancement of Professional, Intercultural and Communication Skills) offers trainees in the dual system of vocational training the opportunity to develop several important competences by spending some time abroad. The requirements in different occupational areas have changed. Besides professional competence, language and intercultural competences have become more and more important in a Europe that is continuously growing together. A lot of companies in Berufskolleg Beckum’s commuting area cooperate with European partners or have their own subsidiaries there. Therefore the ability to communicate in a foreign language is gradually developing into a job requirement. The intercultural competences of a lot of our students in our rural environment tend to be rather underdeveloped. Some of them have been abroad on holiday, but their experience is limited to a touristic perspective. During the work experience the students have the opportunity to experience being an individual and a representative of our country abroad. It enables them to see and reflect the German everyday working life from a different perspective. The students‘ way of looking at things in Germany will become more reflected, they will draw comparisons between the countries, realize different values and evaluate them more consciously. An extended knowledge of the command of the English language could be assumed but basic communication in the foreign language is guaranteed anyway by everyday communication with their English-speaking contacts. The participants of this projects will be apprentices in the dual system of vocational training who train in the technological area of trade and industry. They train to be IT specialists – application development and system integration -, IT management assistants, painters, wood- and metal technicians or mechatronic technicians. There will be 39 students from these areas participating in the EPICS project. The companies where those apprentices are trained are small and medium-sized enterprises from different branches of trade and industry. At the start of the work exchange the apprentices will be between 18 – 22 years old. The implementation of the project begins with the selection of the participants. For that reason there will be an information meeting for apprentices and companies in May/June of this year. The project objectives and overall conditions will be introduced and explained. The responsible project managers subsequently select the participants according to their personal and professional suitability. There will be preparatory language courses during English lessons at the vocational college as well as a workshop about country-specific characteristics and peculiarities around one month previously to the departure. The responsible project managers organize and monitor the stay of the students. This includes organizing flights, accommodation in host families and the provision of a work experience placement.
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