Archive of European Projects

Workmentoring within a quality management system. Structure for cooperation between school and small and medium-sized Enterprices (SMEs).
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 30 Nov 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Name of project: Workmentoring within a quality management system. WorkQual. Structure for cooperation between school and small and medium-sized Enterprices (SMEs). Coordinator: Verkmenntaskólinn á Akureyri (VMA). http://workqual.vma.is The project is based on two big ideas: First: Build a handbook and a framework with processes, necessary data collecting sheets and checklists for the work needed when preparing and following a student in a workplacement. Second: Structuring a network needed for strong workplace education opportunities in the community. The project partnership consists of four colleges and two consultants. VMA in Iceland, Charlottenlund in Trondheim, Norway and Axxell in Finland, are vocational colleges offering many types of vocational study. Jules Rieffel is an agricultural college in France working with small workplaces in agriculture. The consultants, IFSAT in the Netherlands, also connected with a re-integration program for young unemployed, and Broadshoulders in England, have been involved in developing many different things in vocational education, particularly the role of workplaces. The need for this project has been identified when evaluating the WorkMentor project. This was the 3rd in a series of projects dealing with the learner in the workplace using a portfolio of evidence to report on his learning progress (ProVoTrain project), a project for the support to and teaching of VET teachers who needed professional adaptation to blended learning (POÈTE project) and the WorkMentor project which developed training packages for work mentors guiding learners in the workplace. During this evaluation it was felt that a solid support structure, a framework of agreements, arrangements and matching documents, could increase the efficiency of the learning placement and clarify the role of each of the three parties in the agreement. The main purpose of the project is to develop a system of processes, sheets, forms and inspections to use with workplacements that can be incorporated into the quality management systems vocational colleges or other providers work with. This is directly linked to the efforts of the European Commission when developing tools to use when comparing and cooperating within the scope of vocational education. ECVET, EQF and other tools have been established to facilitate the flow of students and qualified workers. The EC has furthermore allocated funds towards development of international relations and connections in education through it's Lifelong Learning Programme, the Leonardo da Vinci for VET and more recently throught the ERASMUS+ program. The WorkQual project will collect information on which aspects different stakeholders want to discuss when looking at learning in the workplace. The partners will host meetings with local stakeholders and collect the viewpoints from six countries, comparing the different situations and designing a common practice when placing students in workplaces. This common practice will be written into the processes and documents used at each college and inspected as a part of the Quality Management System of each college. The final major output will be a system integrated into each country's system and rooted in the general European system proposed in the European tools. This will be made publicly available on a dedicated website. It is the belief of the partnership that this system for working with students in workplaces is of great importance now when many countries have been working on their vocational education systems. Often the responsibility of training in the workplace is placed on the colleges. This calls for a structure and a transparent system to use when placing students in workplaces and monitoring their competence. Even if many countries have good structure for this they are not taking the role of workmentors in the workplace into account. The general assumption is that there are three responsible partners involved: a college/provider, a workplace and the student. The system must take this into account so the education will be manageable for the college, not a burden for the workplace and it will be relevant and inviting for the student. The goal is to develop a system that can be used in many sectors. Even if there are different competences to gain in the workplace for different vocations there are general factors involved in the success of students. How can we match the student to the most suitable workplace? What does the underlying agreement look like? How can we support the students during workplacements? How can we evaluate the student without expecting workplaces and students to deliver lengthy reports? Will the workplacement be valuable for the student when entering the vocation? The same questions asked in every sector of Vocational Education and Training.
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