Archive of European Projects

Pan Wales Vocational Staff Mobility
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Context/background of the project CollegesWales employed a full time International Coordinator in November 2010 to engage the Further Education Institutions (FEIs) in Wales in European funded projects. The focus had been on developing learner mobility projects on behalf of the FE colleges. In 2014, CollegesWales submitted this first centralised application for funding for staff mobility - the focus on improving teaching and learning within the FE sector in Wales proved to be the catalyst for submitting a pan Wales application for Erasmus+ funding for this project. Methodology to be used in carrying out the project The Erasmus+ guidance specifies procedures for bids to be entered on behalf of VET consortia - CollegesWales has adopted this methodology of applying for funding since its first Leonardo learner mobility application in 2011. For this particular project, CollegesWales was the applicant organisation and there was one receiving organisation, Helsinki Vocational College, Finland. The FE colleges in Wales were the sending organisations along with a private training provider and representation from the Welsh Government and Estyn, her Majesty’s Inspectorate in Wales. The objectives of the project were: - to gain an overview of the Finnish education system and the positioning/status of VET within that system - to have a detailed understanding of VET structure (proportion of work based learning/classroom learning, VET qualifications/levels) - to gain an understanding of quality assurance in the Finnish VET system (internal inspection processes/teacher observations and assessment of teaching & learning) - to observe innovative lessons in a Finnish VET school and to discuss and share examples of good practice from both countries - to understand how staff Continued Professional Development is organised in relation to improving teaching and learning - to explore Finnish standards of literacy and numeracy in comparison to those in Wales (PISA) and how this is embedded into the VET system/how is it assessed - to gain a better understanding of PIAAC to help formulate Wales’ decision to take part in this in the future Number and profile of participants Funding was requested and received for eighteen participants. Two participants had to withdraw from the project and, despite contacting the sending organisations to try to fill those places, this wasn't possible. This resulted in 16 participants taking part in the project. Twelve of the participants were from seven Further Education colleges, one participant was from a private training provider and three participated from CollegesWales’ Improving Quality Group (IQG) - all of these organisations were based in Wales and were the sending organisations. All of the participants were responsible for putting strategies in place to improve teaching and learning within their organisations or were responsible for overseeing quality assurance within and across the FE sector (Welsh Government and Estyn participants). The European partner was Helsinki Vocational College who provided CollegesWales with a letter of intent committing itself to organising a training programme for the participants in Finland. The Helsinki Vocational College has worked for a number of years with Coleg Gwent in Wales on learner mobility programmes. CollegesWales has offered a reciprocal visit to Wales for Helsinki Vocational College staff in the future. Activities The visit lasted 5 days - 2 days travel and 3 days training - an outline of the actual training programme is included in the annex. Impact and longer term benefits Participants returned from the visit and submitted reports on the visit to senior management teams at their organisations. A paper for discussion was submitted to the board of CollegesWales. The paper was written by the Chair of the Teaching & Learning Network and the Principal of Coleg Gwent with the focus on the professional trust that is placed in teachers in Finland and the 'lighter touch approach' to quality assurance in relation to improving standards of vocational teaching & learning in Finland. CollegesWales' Teaching & Learning Network has provided a national forum for discussing the training that took place in Finland and deciding on what aspects could be progressed within the network. In addition, with the involvement of Welsh Government and Estyn representatives who were members of CollegesWales Improving Quality Group (IQG), the longer term picture may see changes implemented at policy level following the delegation's observations in Finland. In addition, a hashtag was developed on Twitter (#FinWalesFE) to capture thoughts, comments and reflections of participants on the visit. One of the participants, in collaboration with CollegesWales, wrote a report on the visit that was featured as a one page article in The Western Mail's education section. The Western Mail is South Wales' leading daily newspaper although it has national coverage.
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