Learning Through Mobility
Start date: Jul 1, 2014,
End date: Jun 30, 2015
St. John's Central College is a college of Further Education and Training within the Cork Education and Training Board. We provide a wide range of Vocational Education and Training to students who ae 18+ years of age. A significant percentage of the students come from vulnerable social groups such as people who are long term unemployed, early school leavers, lone parents etc. We first began working on projects at a European level in the mid 1990s and since then we have developed a strong network of partner colleges throughout the European Union. This has led to the development of a very strong European ethos within the college. A staff member at Assistant Principal level is in place to coordinate the colleges European activities. Each year we host students from all of our partner colleges, include these students in classes within the college. organise workplace training for them and share curricular information and training methods with our partners. We know from experience the amount students can gain from participation on mobility projects both in the improvement of their vocational skills and personal confidence. All of our partners provide vocational education and training and have a very high level of competence in this area. Students are given the opportunity to experience different working environments, different training techniques and the use of equipment that may not be available in our college, They also have the opportunity to improve their foreign language skills, gain an appreciation for cultural differences with our partner country and gain an awareness of the employment and training opportunities available in the host country. The project is open to all students of the college and a well defined application and selection process is in place to ensure that participants get the best possible result from their mobility experience. Through our choice of partner colleges we can accommodate students from all of the vocational areas being delivered within the college on mobility activity. The vocational areas available include Hairdressing, Information Technology, Motor Maintenance, Animal Care / Veterinary Nursing, Furniture Making and Restoration, Photography, Film Production, Multimedia and Tourism. This year we plan to send 67students on the project. These participants will be welcomed at their host college where they will have an opportunity to meet students of their vocational area, use the training facilities of the college and gain an understanding of the vocational level expected of students in the host country. During this initial period the students will be accompanied by a teacher from our college who will help them to adjust to their new environment, will meet with the employers to make sure there is a clear understanding of the students training needs and meet with the coordinating teacher in the host institution. The students will then begin a fifteen day period of work placement. This will be organised by our host partner through their contacts with employers in the relevant vocational area. In each case the students will be assigned a mentor within the company to help them develop their vocational skills. Their progress will be monitored by the coordinating teacher from the host institute and regular contact will be maintained between the host college, the student, the employer and our college to ensure a high level of quality is attained during the placement. Participants may use their placement experience as part of their FETAC level 5 or 6 Work Placement module. They will also receive the Europass mobility document. Upon completion of the project an evaluation process is carried out involving our college, the host college, the student and the employer to check that project goals have been met and that any difficulties encountered can be addressed in future projects. Upon completion of the project we expect students to have improved vocational skills, greater self confidence, greater motivation, improved language skills and awareness of cultural diversity, greater appreciation of the skill levels available within their vocational area in the host country and a greater knowledge of the job and training opportunities available within the host country. In the long term we expect students who have participated on mobility to ave a greater potential for employment, the skills they gain can be taken into the workforce and they can act as multipliers in the use of these skills. Some students will have gained the confidence to go to another European country to work or engage in further training. Within the college the skills and experiences brought back by students and accompanying teachers can act to enrich the experience of other students who were not able to participate on mobility activity. Through our dissemination activity we hope to be able to make others aware of the EU's role in vocational education and the opportunities available for work and training within the EU.
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