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JOBIT - Innovative teaching methodologies and courseware for software development VET to reduce skills gap in IT
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Aug 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Finding people with the right experience and skills continues to be a challenge across Europe. Skills mismatches and occupational shifts have worsened as jobs are opening up for technical professionals in Europe. It is a well-known fact that programmers are the most sought professionals in almost all European countries. Software development in a wider sense is becoming an integrated part of many different jobs in the modern society. Different sources declare thousands and tens of thousands developers needed in the labor market. Until recent years in majority of European countries software development jobs have been regarded needing educational preparation on Master’s or minimum Bachelor’s level. Today there are many successful examples of teaching programming starting already in primary schools. Examples of successful software development curricula on EQF levels 3, 4 and 5 can be found in different European countries, but they are not common yet. Also the employers are sometimes still hesitating whether the vocational training provides the skills needed in labor market. Current project focuses on meeting the needs of the employers with developing innovative and effective software development teaching methodologies for Vocational Education and Training on EQF levels 3-5. For this the consortium takes the following actions. To study the labor market needs and the views of employers a focused analysis is planned as a first and an integral part of the project. The study will analyze the numerous ICT labor market research studies carried out in the partner countries and other European countries and study the needs for EQF level 3-5 software developers in participating countries. One focus of the study is to disseminate the understanding that vocational schools are capable of preparing skilled to start take their first job as junior programmer. Based on the research a conceptual framework is put together for the innovative integrated teaching methodology of the crucial subjects of software development. Crucial subjects are not just directly programming-related subjects, but also mathematics and social behaviour related subjects tackling team-work, cooperation, project management etc. Good cooperation and close interaction with employers and real customers is crucial in developing the relevant methodology. Thus the methodology will strongly rely on engaging field working practicians in the teaching process but also providing real-life tasks and mentoring during practice period. The innovative methodology will built to a handbook in a form of guidelines for the teachers. The accordingly developed courseware will make use of the innovative educational technologies and provide teachers also with guidelines how to continue to develop the up-to-date courseware during their future work. The project also includes a training component for VET school software development course teachers. The training will be carried out in all three countries with the specialists as lecturers. We expect to involve around 20 teachers from each country. As a result of the training the participating VET teachers get confidence in their knowledge and skills on teaching software development as having acquired the knowledge from specialists and straight from the field during their practice. The VET schools will have a step-by-step tool (the handbook) to execute the innovative methodology for the crucial subjects of software development. They have an understanding of the employers needs and the field labor market. The European labor market will benefit from the skilled and competent VET graduates.

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