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Fremdsprachenassistenten und Industriekaufleute EU - Kompetenz für Europa
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

For many years the Robert-Schuman-Berufskolleg in Essen has been offering, among others, a two and three-year course to become a “State-qualified Commercial Assistant with Languages”. The two-year course is for students with university entrance qualifications and the three-year course for those with higher education entrance qualifications. An important feature of these courses is an eight-week work placement, all or part of which can be absolved abroad e. g. UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands. The duration of the work placement abroad varies between four and eight weeks depending on the requirements of the company and the wishes of the trainees. The course, “European Business and Administration Assistant”, which is also offered at the RSBK, has been putting the requirements and wishes of the individual training companies into practise within the framework of the primary vocational training since 2004. This training course provides young people, who have higher education and university entrance qualifications, with a good alternative to a university degree. The mandatory 13-week work placement in the UK is absolved in their second year and is one of the main focal aspects of this year. Globalization of markets in international companies makes it necessary for employees, who have comprehensive language skills at their disposal, to possess inter-cultural awareness and demonstrate a high degree of flexibility and mobility. As these requirements need to be met during the initial vocational training, the above-mentioned courses with the following objectives were introduced: - increasing language and inter-cultural skills - the application of such skills in companies in other European countries - extending communication skills as well as the ability to acquire experience of working internationally and being mobile As a result, the trainees should be in a position to cope well with the increasing requirements of the job market. All the 31 trainees (33 mobilities) have completed their work placement predominantly in small and medium-sized companies, in administrative as well as tourist businesses i.e. 17 Commercial Assistants with Languages in various European countries or respectively 14 European Business and Administration Assistants in the UK. Contracts for these placements have been concluded. This type of work placement is particularly suitable because there they can better experience how complex company operations are than in large companies. A language course together with the work placement for the European Business and Administration Assistants also improves language skills and is completed with a BEC qualification. The trainees are accommodated either with host families or in student hostels. For both courses, the work placement abroad takes place after approx. half of the course. On the one hand, this has the advantage that the trainees have obtained considerable insight into how companies operate, as well as extensive language and commercial skills during their lessons at college. On the other hand, in the final year, they have to sit numerous final exams which certify the skills they have acquired and the relevance of the important role of their work placement abroad. As a result it has been possible to strengthen and expand the cooperation with our numerous international partners which has developed over the years. This has led to a high degree of satisfaction for everyone involved in these work placements. In conclusion, we would like to emphasize that we set great store on continuity and reliability when building up our partnerships and this is reflected in the structural growth. It is our wish to work together with companies based in the countries whose languages are taught at our college, in companies which mainly use these languages or with whom we have been involved in international projects. In various companies, the trainees can, with skilled instruction, put into practise and improve their foreign language skills as well as the theoretical knowledge which they have acquired. As a result of the mobility programme, the perspectives of life-long learning can be taught. Furthermore, motivation and the ability to work under pressure independently can be developed, while at the same time prejudice towards people who think and behave differently can be diminished. These aspects have been included in the main targets of our school programme which documents the European orientation of our college as a certified European college of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia.
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