Local skills in a European context
Start date: Jun 1, 2015,
End date: May 31, 2017
Students at agricultural schools are educated for jobs in agriculture and horticulture, which are directly influenced by international factors (e.g. with respect of marketing and labor). It is also jobs where professional qualifications such as practical skills are important. Many students from agricultural schools will in future be colleague with a (foreign) European, head of a European - or directed by a European - in Denmark or elsewhere in Europe. Therefore students from agricultural schools also need international competence to fulfill their potential - just as Europe needs the students to be open to the possibilities of a European labor market through obtaining international competence. It should be understood as an enhanced ability of the student to:
- use a foreign language in a professional context
- Work and make decisions in a reality that is influenced by international factors
- Use his knowledge and be able to challenge themselves under the special conditions that apply when you do not share the language and culture
A consortium of eight agricultural schools, the non-profit organization Travel to Farm and the Association of Danish Agricultural Schools therefore apply for an ERASMUS+ KA1 project. We do this based on an overall common goal of getting more of the students at the Danish agricultural schools to take part of their practical training in European countries. To promote this goal, we will test a model for cooperation on students' long internship in Europe. The goal is for the period 2015-2017 to send 64 students for 3 month internship to five countries: Poland, Norway, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany.
The project has two components:
- Test a model of cooperation, methods and routines around longer placements in European countries for students from agricultural schools
- Implement well-documented work-based-learning internships for students with different professional profiles and in different stages of education.
The students are sent abroad with a focus on the theme: ”Local skills”. The theme has been chosen in order to build on a strength in the student at Danish agricultural schools: practical skills. "Travel out and get started learning more through doing something of which you are good at". Through the learner's strength position we wish to ensure the best obtainment of skills and competences in a wider sense, including international competences. The project thus supports national and European objectives of increasing internationalization of education, a developed use of work-based-learning and better skills in order to boost growth and competitiveness.
The model for the cooperation and practical routines that will now be tested in a wide consortium, is based on experience in two previous projects between Travel to Farm and one respectively two agricultural schools (Leonardo da Vinci program 2010-12 and 2012-14). From experience, it established a procedure for the recruitment, selection and preparation of students before sending interns. In relation to a specific intern, the use of ECVET systematics ensure that pre-defined relevant learning objectives and learning outcomes during and after the stay will be assessed, validated and recognized in a qualified way. The responsibilities and tasks both on cooperation and student internships are defined in advance:
- to the schools as sending parties
- to Travel to Farm as project manager and lead intermediary partner
- to intermediary partners in five European countries
The Association of Danish Agricultural Schools complements two schools and Travel to Farm in a steering committee. The committee must follow up on the project's operations, performance and dissemination along the way as well as evaluate and gather experience at the end.
The project is targeted at students in agriculture (livestock and arable farming) and horticulture (open field, greenhouse, landscape gardener). They will be at different stages (after basic course, after the first main course or after the second main course). Regardless of their academic profile and level of education, it is the aim of the project that each of the 64 students will experience a successful and proven internship in a European country. In addition to formal learning, the student will obtain informal learning through her/his meeting with a foreign culture and professional practice. We expect this will enhance student motivation and maturity and the ability to integrate an international perspective in her/his further education or career. For the consortium as a whole the expected result will be the experience of cooperation and methods that can be included in each member's future efforts to promote the internationalization of education. It is a success criterion that the consortium members based on their positive experiences with the project will be interested in participating in the development of a new application at the turn of the year 2016/17.
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