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Mechatronics, IT and Automation Training: Binational ways in the combination of vocational education
Start date: Oct 1, 2014, End date: May 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Europa-Berufsschule Weiden has been engaged in European Cooperation for several years and with more than 20 cooperating partners. Now the Europa-Berufsschule intends to offer advanced training for apprentices and educational personnel in the fields of automation technology, mechatronics engineering and IT in London (CCL) and Northern Ireland (SRC). The total number of the participating teachers and instructors is 34. All of them are skilled experts in their particular fields of technology or business and work in the area of vocational education and advanced vocational training. The 14 trainees are doing an apprenticeship at an advanced stage in the German Dual System. We intend to conduct the mobility projects in several stages. In the first strand, we primarily intend to prepare the theoretical backgrounds in the College of Central London and, building on these, develop bi-national educational modules. In a second strand, we intend to involve apprentices and test, improve and extend these modules in cooperation with the SRC in Northern Ireland. In the course of the project, the staff of the three colleges involved will mutually enrich their professional expertise. Further pieces of the training we aim for are information on the British vocational educational system, comparison of methodical and didactic approaches, job-shadowing and industrial placements in local companies, comparison of national educational laws, rules and regulations, and comparison of national standards as to tests and examinations. This expertise will find its way into the bi-national (English/German) educational modules, which are based on the different national curricula. The testing stage of the created educational modules will be put into practice in the course of the planned IVT project with Northern Irish – German student teams at the SRC. The mutual educational goal in this extraordinary learning environment should be considered a pattern that can be transferred to larger educational modules. The training project also aims at the possibility of an English final examination that might be acknowledged by the British Chamber of Commerce. That is, in this case, the participants should take an examination in the course of this particular learning module. The results of this examination are expected to show whether students are able to participate in the final examination of the British Chamber of Commerce in the course of a subsequent longer and more time-consuming training project. This particular learning module is about planning, assembling and controlling a conveyor belt, using also pre-machined and pre-manufactured components and assemblies. Further details are the principle of operation of the conveyor belt, including the chosen equipment such as drives, sensors and actuators. In the course of the project, it is also necessary to apply respectively transfer basic knowledge in the field of PLC programming, deepen that particular knowledge and control the conveyor belt with a PLC. The option of networking several conveyors in a successive stage is also integrated in the module. Furthermore, the students will become acquainted with country specific technical systems and different approaches. As the target hardware and the target software platforms of the colleges vary, it is necessary to adapt them to further a common international standard. Additionally, the participants will acquire intercultural and social skills and lose the fear of close contact with citizens of other countries. Also the general language skills of the participants and especially the practical use of technical terms will improve. The opportunity of experiencing actual applications of the teaching and learning content in the course of industrial placements will enhance the participants' motivation in the vocational training and their willingness to work abroad. Involving educational personnel in the training project brings about enhanced motivation among this personnel and consequently also among the students and their companies. It is also innovative, enhances the quality in various fields and prepares the basis for a better European understanding. Especially the fact that the teachers can network their educational activities on the European scale must not be underestimated. Accordingly, transnational mobility and the necessary flexible course of action will be the prerequisites for the future competitiveness, which finally will be crucial for our students’ job security.
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