Created as an innovative solution to Europe wide vocational education, Imove consist in various member from EU member states. As one of them, Arbeit und Leben, created with the motto “Qualification without borders”. Their aim is encouraging people to expand their knowledge and to move off the beaten track of thinking. And they did quite a successful job over the years. Recently they had another achievement. Let’s read their success story!
The 2016 Erasmus+ application of iMove partner Arbeit und Leben Hamburg has been successful! 720 Erasmus+ grants will be available over the next two years.
350 of the grants are for apprentices and vocational students of the iMove consortium in Hamburg. 120 are for the consortium’s vocational education (VET) staff and the remaining 250 grants are for individual placements of apprentices from the whole of Germany.
We are looking forward to continue sending young people and experts to our iMove partners all over Europe, to learn, to experience top quality work placements and get to know the working environment in other European countries.
”The Gothenburg Regional Association of Local Authorities (GR) is a co-operative organisation uniting thirteen municipalities in western Sweden. The combined population of these municipalities is almost 950.000 inhabitants. The task of the association is to promote co-operation over municipal borders and provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and experience within the region. “
During the spring GR has held a series of breakfast meetings around different topics concerning School working life issues. The meetings start around 08.00 and last for around two hours. Guests are invited to mingle with each other and to share ideas and experiences from their horizons. Carefully selected speakers hold presentations around the topic in question.
17th May, GR held a breakfast meeting and workshop at its conference premises in Gothenburg. The meeting was to inform about the iMOVE project, and also about the wider issue of creating sustainable long term and strategic plans to organize mobilities for VET students. Guests were shown the trailer for iMOVE and information and brochures about the project were handed out.
Speakers from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, UHR (Universitets- och högskolerådet, national appointed agency for Erasmus+), GTC (Gothenburg Technical College/Vovo), SKF Technical College and representatives from the Municipality of Kungsbacka were invited.
Johan Olsson from The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, talked about the importance of building bridges between school and the Business world. Students that have participated in a learning experience in another country are seen as attractive for the employers, in particular if they’ve had a work practice experience.Bengt Landfeltdt from UHR gave a picture from a national perspective, the status of VET mobilities in Sweden and the opportunities available. Information was given about the ongoing work, within EU, to create a common regulatory framework for validation in VET training and education.
Learning examples from Schools that have built up successful methods and strategies around mobility organization where given by Josefine Larsson from GTC (Gothenburg Technical College/Volvo Corp.), Ulrika Wiklander from SKF Technical College in Gothenburg and Andreas Mårtensson and Pernilla Öhberg, from the Kungsbacka municipality, informed about recent successful mobility projects in two of their VET schools.
During the workshop guests were divided into groups discussing two main topics:
How to create long-term sustainable organizational structures to implement mobilities abroad operationally and strategically
How can we be better at receiving students from other countries operationally and strategically?
Among some of the outcomes of the workshop was the fact that staff that has undergone working or learning experience abroad can raise the quality of companies. Skills development within education leads to greater participation and influence in the workplace, but for efforts to be sustainable, they need to be long-term and strategic. A good way to start is to use the channels and platforms that are available right now and build from there. Establishing good contacts with local companies building bridges between School and the working life, preferably through the establishment of “co-operative” organizations (including VET-schools, local authorities and companies involved in a particular sector) is also essential.
Coordination of mobilities is no easy task. It requires dedicated resources within the VET school or local authority; otherwise the efforts are not sustainable in the long-term. The setting up of local and regional consortiums, which is possible within Erasmus+, enables a long-term and strategic approach enabling more students to undertake a life-changing experience abroad.
To present the recent developments regarding the structure and the working mechanism of the network, 6th meeting of Imove was held in Wroclaw, Poland on 28-29 April. Funded by Lifelong Learning Program, meeting gathered members of the Imove network, government officials and stakeholder to the conference room in Lower Silesian Marshall’s office.
The first day of the conference started with the welcome speech of Dorota Kowalska from Semper Avanti. After the introduction, the first part of the conference started with the presentation of Andrea Lombardi from Uniser. Andrea presented the recent developments of Imove network and its progress during the two years of the project also the planned future of the idea of the network.
After the lunch, members discussed the future of Imove and how the network can expand their members and which strategies should be used to promote it. Members also planned the structure of the upcoming launch conference. Around the end of the day new Imove database was presented by UNISER.
The second day started with the same motivation and dedication of the first day. Members discussed the networking possibilities among the countries. And which methods should be used for recruiting new members and school to develop internship accessibility was also a topic.
Meeting was ended by closing sessions and 6th Imove meeting was officially ended.
Kungsbacka Municipality has achieved success in its internationalization efforts by focusing on the interaction between education and work, within the framework of vocational training including internship and studies in the EU.
“European Class in Industrial Automation” has recently been recognized by a panel of experts from the European Commission, which has highlighted the project as very successful. The award goes to projects that have distinguished themselves through their impact on decision making, innovative results and creative approach that can be a source of inspiration for others.
Secondary and Adult Education in Kungsbacka Municipality, together with Elof Lindälvs gymnasium have since 2009 pursued a trans-national school development work within the framework of the concept of European Class. It began when Kungsbacka, together with partners in Spain, France, Poland, Ireland and Romania, created an approach offering vocational students in secondary education a vehicle to read part of their education at another school in Europe. The project has over the years been supported by EU funds under the Lifelong Learning Programme.
Internships are seen as an increasingly important element of school-work collaboration as it helps to give students a broader experience of working life. The increasing need of qualitative work-practice experiences is something that managers at GR Praktikplatsen.se (department at GR that coordinates work-practice placements locally/regionally) notice a higher awareness of.
Internship in another country will not only create a greater understanding of other cultures, but could also lead to greater employability after graduation. Within the framework of the EU project iMove (Innovation on the Mobility in Vocational Education) GR is involved in exploring the possibility of creating sustainable structures for internship exchanges in Europe for students who take upper secondary vocational education. Kungsbacka, as well as other municipal authorities, have come a long way in this work, there are many opportunities but there are also a number of challenges to overcome. On 17th May, the GR will hold a breakfast meeting on this theme with participants from the iMOVE organization, local VET schools and authorities, businesses and branch organizations. Also participating in this event is UHR (Universitets- och Högskolerådet) the Swedish national agency for Erasmus+.
Read more about Kungsbacka success story award here:
Vocational Education & Training (VET), as its own name says, is addressed to those who want to keep educating themselves but in a field where they really feel like learning, vocationally. In the European Union this education is offered in multiple paths, so that everyone can find some studies in relation to their passion. When finishing secondary school, students can continue studying either for having a university degree or having some VET studies. All over the EU, an average of 50.4% decides to choose VET, and around a 0.68% of the EU’s PIB is invested in it through public funds (data from 2011). So, the scope of VET in the EU could be considered quite wide.
This data shows that more than the 50% of the students all over the EU would rather “work with their hands” (blue-collar). Here comes the issue; in general terms, society still considers there is more value in white-collars than in blue-collars. Moreover, blue-collar work is considered as a lower status. Mark Phillips, a teacher and Educational Journalist wrote about it in 2012 for the George Lucas Educational Foundation (we encourage you to read it). In his article, he wrote about the destroying effect that this way of thinking has on kids and on society; Kids would be coerced to choose university studies rather than VET, which would set aside the kid’s natural gifts. Meanwhile, nowadays in society technical skills are crucial, the ones which usually are developed in VETs. If we do not have those professionals, the future of the civilization and economy we are working for may be in danger.
There are varied types of intelligence and all deserve the respect of the people. Furthermore, if we want a healthy economy and society, we need to learn how to take advantage of all these intelligences without underestimating any of them because of their learning path. Each person has its own natural gifts and preferences, and as a society, we need to accept them and ensure that we are working on exploiting that potential.
In a previous post has been shown the importance and the benefits of cooperation, and a great example of it was the “i-Move program”. Today we’ll talk about “how to create a network” or how to organize in order work collaboratively.
A network implies the participation of at least 3 members, and many times happens to be a lot more. In case of i-Move, at first there are 11 members getting together but the network will probably grow up as it is opened to get more entities in. When so many organizations want to cooperate, at first it can be quite difficult. Although the main aim of the network will be the same for all the members, the “smaller objectives” can be different for everyone. Every member is different from each other and has its own needs, but when cooperating is important to “give and take” and to have clear what the aim of gathering together is.
Furthermore, an effective and well-defined organization is needed; the definition and division of tasks and workload, creating a good communication system, creating procedures for achieving the aim, defining procedures for assessing the whole process, etc.
Finally, the network needs to have a defined legal structure in order to proceed legally. The selection of such legal structure is often complicated; having a well defined aim of the network is helpful to begin, but there are multiple other aspects to take into account; number of employees, the selection and location of the headquarters, the seed capital required, the financial sources, and so on. Nevertheless, once again cooperating could be a “solution”; the collaboration of all the members when defining all those aspects is really helpful, as it enables to identify the legal structure that suits best for the network.
There are multiple aspects in life where human beings need to come together and perform as a team in order to achieve a certain aim or objective. The same happens with organizations. A company can be awesome in its core activity and it may be the leader of its industry during a period of time, but the environment changes; new competitors appear, the main competitor launches a revolutionary product or service, substitutive products start getting more attention from the customers, customers are asking for a change, etc. In such cases, a company needs to have an overview of what is happening and what may happen in order to overcome it. Moreover, when facing some of the changes, a company needs to collaborate with other organizations (public or private) otherwise; the result won’t be as good as it could. Nevertheless, during the years, performing collaboratively has been rejected by some people and entities. For these, the idea of sharing their knowledge and resources is “losing power”, whereas, for others means to multiply each company’s and/or person’s strengths.
The situation written above has happened (in some way) in the VET (Vocational Education & Training) industry all around Europe. The European Union and the VET providers have realized that a change is needed in this industry, especially in the students’ mobility within Europe.
The mobility of students is really important; it enriches the student both, personally and professionally. Professionally it enables them to learn different manners of working, organizing, communicating, understanding the economy, etc. And, personally, they get to get along with people from different cultures, people with different lifestyle and habits, diverse life perspectives, and so on.
But, although the benefits of mobility where clear, there was a problem or barrier that wasn’t enabling mobility to happen as much as it could; each VET provider acted individually. This situation result in a low percentage of mobility and a low liability from the companies (the ones that get the trainees). So, a solution was needed; i-Move. i-Move is a network composed of different organizations and VET providers from multiple European countries. They have gathered together to face the mobility “problem” by taking advantage of each member’s strengths. This solution will increase the trust (of the companies that get the trainees) in the mobility program, it will help reducing time & economic costs (travels, accommodation, etc,), and an effective management of mobility will increase the number of ingoing and outgoing VET students.