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Stepping Stones
Start date: 08 Jul 2016, End date: 07 Jul 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In 2014 the Isle of Wight College identified the need to internationalise its curriculum in line with its International and Prevent strategies. Following successful training of Health and Social Care and Childcare teachers in France and Norway respectively in October 2015, the College recognised the far-reaching impact such training had had and how this could be extended to include students and staff in other curriculum areas. The College therefore set up a wheel of internationalisation (WOI) to identify 4 stages of international involvement and map these against each curriculum area, prioritising those areas whose students would most benefit from a European experience. This then formed the basis for both this and future projects. Stage one of the WOI is identifying potential relevant partners and stage two is staff training with a view to improving teaching and learning, exposing students to the European experience through teachers' new skills and learning resources and developing opportunities for future student mobilities. Stage three is student mobility and stage four is ECVET.For our Stepping Stones project the College has identified that our Childcare department is at stage three and 12 level 3 Childcare students accompanied by 3 staff will complete VET Traineeships at Birkebeineren Friluftsbarnehage in Norway. Here they will study with their Norwegian peers at a local college, carry out work placements at a local Forest School and primary schools, and gain a Forest School qualification. Accompanying staff will investigate opportunities for ECVET in order to establish a sustainable, long-term collaboration and move to stage four of the wheel.We have identified further curriculum areas who are at stage two of the WOI and would benefit from staff training in another European country. They work with students who would most benefit from future European projects: Travel and Tourism, Hospitality and Catering, Engineering, Sport and work-based learning areas involved with vulnerable students who find it harder to get into work and therefore risk isolation and possible radicalisation. A total of 11 staff will travel to Lycée Professionnel Agostin ARRON in Guadeloupe, Gausdal Vidergaendeskole in Norway, Kiikula vocational college in Finland and the European Vocational Training Centre German Red Cross Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany. Their objectives will be to:1. Share best practice with peers both in College and in other European countries.2. Broaden their knowledge of vocational training in Europe.3. Internationalise the College curriculum.4. Improve teaching and learning by implementing new methodologies.5. Create a local labour market better-equipped to enter careers where contact with other cultures is necessary.6. Help prevent isolation and radicalisation of students.7. Raise the profile of the EU among young people on the Isle of Wight and what it means to be a European citizen.8. Establish sustainable, long term partnerships which will enable their curriculum areas to move to stage three of the WOI.On their return, staff and students will make presentations to their peers, parents, schools and local employers in order to raise awareness of the benefits and positive impacts that the mobilities create.We envisage that, as a result of this project we will have a better informed staff and student cohort who are more aware and better informed about the opportunities for working, living and studying in other European countries. Students participating in the mobilities will improve their linguistic competence and learn new skills which will help improve their confidence and their career opportunities due to their improved CVs. They will be more open to embracing different cultures and therefore less at risk of radicalisation. Staff will have learnt from their peers, exchanged ideas and shared best practice forming a basis for future sustainable collaboration with European partners. Through their dissemination of their findings, participating staff can inform the College senior leadership team of best practice, providing them with the opportunity to consider implementing new strategies, which in turn will enhance the student experience and their future.In the long term the impact of the dissemination of this project will lead to the internationalisation of all curriculum areas with student and staff exchanges. It will improve teaching and learning and help to develop an ethos in the College of open-mindedness towards Europe and the wider world, which in turn will impact positively on local ethnic communities. The opportunities for ECVET will provide our students with better employment opportunities, as their qualifications become more widely recognised throughout Europe, and help them to become European citizens.
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