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Vocational and Occupational Training & Experience
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project has been developed in response to the growing challenge of youth unemployment in the UK. We plan to address this by enhancing the project participants' employability and providing them with experience and insight in the European labour market through a structured international work experience placement. Our project will recruit young people who are undertaking a Level 3 NVQ in Professional Cookery and provide an enhanced capacity building opportunity for these young people who are hoping to embark on a career in the sector. We recognise the value of investing in young people who are currently training to enter the hospitality sector, as it has been identified as a growth area and therefore through supporting young people to better equip themselves for a career in the sector, we hope to contribute to the reduction of youth unemployment in the UK. The participants for this project will be young people (18 - 19 yr olds) who are studying for their Professional Cookery NVQ. Their NVQ will equip them with the technical skills and theoretical knowledge that they need for a career in the sector. To enhance their qualification, and put them in the best position for gaining employment in the sector upon completion of their course, they need to gain sector specific practical work experience, increase their soft skills and develop their language competences. 108 participants will be recruited over a 24 month period from 3 vocational colleges in the UK, who will work together as a consortium. Participants will travel in groups of 18 to undertake a 6 week placement in a range of relevant host companies based in Seville, Spain. The majority of participants will not have undertaken an overseas work placement before. Therefore 6 weeks is a realistic and attainable timeframe for the group. It is sufficient time for the participants to adjust to work and life in a foreign country, meaningfully gain from the experience and achieve a set of individual learning objectives in a structured and supportive environment. Participants will be joined by an accompanying person from each college. During their placement, participants will work in kitchens completing food preparation, cooking and completion which will correspond to the mandatory units of their NVQ, covering topics such as food hygiene & safety and cooking new dishes. They will learn how to work in a fast-paced, pressurised environment and how to work effectively in a team. At the start of the placement, project staff will support participants to agree a set of Learning Outcomes for the mobility which will reflect the course units that relate to the specific tasks that the participants will complete during their placement. Participants will receive pre-departure and in-country training to prepare them for the mobility and will have regular and structured supervision during the placement, to provide pastoral support and ensure they are making progress towards their Learning Outcomes and developing their personal objectives. REY Europe will form a consortium with the sending partners to design, deliver, evaluate and disseminate the project. With an ever increasing range of vocational opportunities offered to young people, this project will give participating colleges a competitive edge and make their course more attractive to future applicants. It provides an opportunity for colleges to learn about different approaches to work placements and objective setting. It enables them to diversify their course and methods of teaching and learn through international cooperation to enhance their existing course offer. The immediate impact of the Mobility, for participants, is to gain a practical insight into 'real' work in Professional Cookery, with a clear set of tasks and guidance. The longer term impact is for participants to secure meaningful employment in the sector. As well as developing professional skills in the kitchen, learners will benefit from an intercultural experience, increased language competency and personal development. This will strengthen their position in the labour market and their workplace readiness and instil in them a broader perspective and international outlook when seeking employment. The project will positively impact the Sending partners by enabling them to provide a rounded NVQ experience for their learners. Partners have the opportunity to develop longer term relationships with the host organisations in Spain and they will be more aware of EU programmes and the benefits of participation. College staff will develop their teaching competencies and understanding of different approaches to work experience placements. They will have a clearer idea of the needs of employers located within the catering sector, on a national and European level. The host organisations will learn new management techniques for working on EU programmes and develop their understanding of NVQ model of study and the teaching methods of Professional Cookery in the UK.
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