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Vocational education and training connecting higher education and rural companies (Connect-VET)

VET has a unique position between more theoretical higher education and practice. It is typically an operator, who could have the skills both to understand the research information and implement it to the practice. Especially in rural areas the VET’s role has also changed from the traditional educator to important regional expert organization and developer. VET is an important link to the expertise esp. for small and micro companies to whom it is often the only expert organization available.This change has set new challenges to VET. They are required to form sustainable links to both research and enterprise life. These links are vital in order to accumulate the needed knowledge base for VET staff to act as regional experts and convey this knowledge their students. However, these connections lack in many VET organisations. This calls for new working methods and co-operation models on how to link fluently the HE/R and rural companies’ needs to VET activities and via this a)improve the expertise of VET staff, b)meet better the worklife’s needs in education and c) respond better to VET sector’s role as regional expert. This project focused on transferring and further developing organisational innovations in VET sector. The existing good practices for SME-VET-HE/R co-operation were collected together, complemented by the models/tools developed by previous initiatives, and modified to cover the whole micro enterprises- VET- HE/R knowledge chain. Selected models were piloted in 5 countries and based on the pilots long term co-operation plans were made. In each country the aim was to form “a trinity” VET-SMEs-HE/R to carry out the piloting. All the material collected during the Project and experiences gained from the pilots are collected together as a multimedia toolkit at www.connect-vet.eu. The toolkit aims to encourage and support the different actors systematically plan, try out and maintain this type of co-operation. And hopefully help them to avoid the most typical pitfalls. The project was implemented by a consortium including combination of players in LLL (both VET & HE), and NBE sectors from 7 countries (5 core partners, 5 supporting partners and 3 dissemination partners). The roles of the partners was divided according to their expertise: the core partners piloted the cooperation models with the supporting partners. The dissemination partners’ role was to guarantee the wide dissemination and exploitation of project’s results.
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