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Start date: Jun 1, 2016, End date: May 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Twelve years of experience of the Goldenberg Europakolleg (GEK) – both a college of further education and a vocational school- offer an established project background and a perfect basis for the new European programme ERASMUS+. Both of the school’s locations are situated in major economically important areas near Cologne. Our cooperation with many successful and internationally active companies in the fields of agricultural machinery, chemistry and the metalworking industry demands a vocational training which prepares trainees, and the teaching staff as well for the challenges of a growing European job market. The GEK is a European School which highly values on their European oriented education. One example is the variety of language courses on offer such as English, Dutch, French and Spanish. We consider it to be important that our students have the opportunity to use these languages in real-life professional situations. These take place during a three week internship work placement abroad.Here, our project background and our project objectives are closely linked. The VET mobilities of trainees as well as trainers lead to an increased cross-cultural understanding of a common Europe.The experiences of our students abroad lead to a higher self-confidence and encourage them to seek for job possibilities beyond their country borders. Another project objective is that “Europe” is part of the school’s curriculum. Lessons in various subjects deal with topics that are relevant for a European way of thinking. This is supported by the school’s annual European week which offers the students a variety of projects focusing on Europe. With the start of ERASMUS+, the GEK is able to offer almost 100 mobility participants the chance to travel and work abroad in 2016/17. This is the largest number of participants so far and follows the plans of our district council in Cologne to raise the number of vocational mobilities to 10%. These participants are for example technicians for illumination advertisements, electricians for automation engineering, chemical lab assistants, metal workers and technical assistants in the field of design.So far we have organized VETPRO-projects for trainers and teachers which took them to our partners abroad for one week. Last year they worked under the title “Teaching the European Way”. Our IVT-projects under the title “Different Places-Different Faces” enabled our students to work for three weeks in Finland, Rumania, Malta, Great Britain and on the island of La Palma.All those activities are now coming together with ERASMUS+ and the GEK is now offering future participants to work under the title “IVT quality+”. In addition to our student mobility under KA1, we also succesfully applied for a KA2 strategic partnership. But the GEK does not only send students abroad, we also welcome our partner school’s students from Finland here in the Rhineland area. The teachers and trainers of the GEK organize accommodation and internships with our cooperating companies in the field of electrical engineering, chemistry and design. These internships usually last from four to six weeks.Our project implementation has been consistently improved and is now divided into 3 main stages: The first stage is the application phase. In this stage students qualify by participating in cross-cultural preparation lessons. Here they also create a europass CV in English and pass a mobility interview, to show their motivation to work abroad. This stage ends in an intercultural evening which prepares all the participants for their upcoming departure day.The second stage is their actual stay abroad. During this time, the students are monitored, both by the local partners as well as the responsible teachers and trainers of the GEK. The participants document their linguistic, social, personal and professional impressions and experiences in a travel diary called “Travelog”. It is an important instrument of the third stage of the mobility project. This is where the evaluation of the experience abroad is going to take place. With the help of the Travelog their gained competence are documented and can be comprehended. Later on these competences are evaluated in our competence overview, which are used to fill out the europass Mobility certificate.The project results, their benefits as well as their impact are closely related. The Europass Mobility is one example. It is used for future applications by our trainees after the end of their vocational training, as well as by our teaching staff for better career chances. This document increases their career prospects on both the national and European job market. Our collaboration with regional companies that employ apprentices of our foreign project partners, often results in the decrease of language barriers and more cultural acceptance. By implementing our European mobilities we do not only spread the idea of Europe within the GEK but also increasingly on a regional level.

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