Print

Project Description

Background

EuropeThere is a rising demand for work placements abroad during an initial vocational training. However, most of the participants can be released from vocational schools or training companies no longer than 3-4 weeks. In most cases, this confines their work placements abroad to short-time placements. Therefore, insufficient language skills and a lack of international experience make it difficult for them to perform complex work activities in the host country. Accordingly, work placements are confined to simple work, which do not always come up to the participants' profiles. Above all, this is true of work in the service industry, where a great deal of the work process is characterized by communication with customers and business partners. Hence, the work placements do not always allow any conclusions to the occupational qualifications acquired during the stay abroad.

In this context, ARBEIT UND LEBEN has excellent experience with assigning the following task to participants for their work placements abroad: gather information on a training-related topic in the host country and present the result in a project report. This approach aims at upgrading so-called "intercultural investigations of occupational fields" of the work placement program with regard to contents and, thus, to enable the participants to take a specific point of view and thoroughly deal with the conditions of their occupational fields and the socio-cultural circumstances of their host country, and this by means of interviews with experts and during tours of and visits to companies. At the same time, they shall prove their skills to communicate in the foreign language, to use media as well as develop some intercultural competence, which is to be understood as the ability to successfully implement objectives and tasks in a different cultural environment

However, the alignment of assigned tasks and the recognition of learning achievements is still confined to agreements with individual vocational schools and companies. To enhance this approach and to make it generally useful for projects of the trans-national advancement of mobility projects in the initial vocational training, it would take a platform which makes curricula, learning objectives and evaluation criteria transparent and facilitate the sharing of information of the sending and hosting organisations.

INTAKT-Project-documentation: pdfintakt12en_kl.pdf2.93 MB

Project Results

The EVST-datenbase

The EVST database is at the core of European Vocational Skills Training supporting this transfer. Vocational schools and mobility agencies in Germany, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Poland and Spain were involved in developing it.

The database serves to make it easier for partner organizations and participants participating in a transnational mobility project to coordinate learning processes and learning performances with each other in a dialog process. It is adapted by user navigation to the process steps of a mobility project in order to facilitate project organization and coordination. In addition, the learning performances can be documented in a certificate that can be added as an attachment to the "Europass-Mobility."

The EVST project database will help you to create project tasks, look at project tasks already completed or simply to find a body responsible for the project, which takes over the project organization for the trainee or student.

Trainees, interested in an job related stay abroad, can find information in the public area about mobility projects and sending organizations and apply for participation. You will also find examples of "European Career Field Explorations" in order to develop ideas for your own project work.

The internal area contains all functions that are required for applying for a mobility project, the coordination of learning objectives, the type of problems for "European Vocational Skills Training Projects" as well as for documentation of the learning performances acquired abroad.

User guide for Mobility-participants: pdfUser guide participants EN.pdf1.19 MB

User guide for Project-coordinators: pdfUser Manual Coordinators EN.pdf1.51 MB

„European Vocational Skills Training-Projects“

What is a European Vocational Skills Project?

The objective of these Vocational Skills Projects is to increase the learning effect of a stay abroad. The project reports can also be assessed and recognized as a training-related learning performance through the association with the framework curriculum or outline curriculum.

European Vocational Skills Projects (EVST projects) offer an exciting alternative to simply doing an internship abroad. Trainees do not work, or do not work exclusively, at companies for these projects, but instead work on training related project tasks and bring the results presented by you at the company or at the school back home with you. The objective of these Vocational Skills Projects is to increase the learning effect of a stay abroad. The project reports can also be assessed and recognized as a training-related learning performance through the association with the framework curriculum or outline curriculum.

In general, these European Vocational Skills Projects also include an accompanying language class, the preparation of participants in Germany as well as supervision and support in the destination country.

The EVST project database will help you to create project tasks, look at project tasks already completed or simply to find a body responsible for the project, which takes over the project organization for the trainee or student.

The possibilities are endless:

Let your trainees find out, for example, how people work in your field in Germany, or what is different about your profession in Spain.

Let them examine what a specific procedure, technique or product looks like in France.

or let them describe how economic developments affect your field in Poland.

This can also be tied in with the question of what people in other countries know or think about England, for example.

The task is to find the relevant information abroad; for example through conversations, interviewing people, visiting companies, doing research on the Internet or sending inquiries by email, through on-site observations, making photos or short videos.

In general, these European Vocational Skills Projects also include an accompanying language class, the preparation of participants as well as supervision and support in the destination country.

Project-Leaflet for Trainees: pdfintakt_teil_en_WEB.pdf343.86 KB

Project-Leaflet for companies: pdfintakt_betr_en_WEB.pdf343.86 KB

Steps for the realisation of an intercultural professional field research abroad

Different steps must be followed in the realization of the intercultural professional field researches abroad. Some of them are of basic importance, some other are optional but recommended:

  • PHASE O (obligatory): Defining the tasks
  • PHASE 1 (obligatory): Preparation of the participants
  • PHASE 2 (recommended): Participant's preliminary work
  • PHASE 3 (obligatory): Project work abroad
  • PHASE 4 (recommended): Follow-up workshop
  • PHASE 5 (recommended): Presentation of the project work
  • PHASE E (recommended): Evaluation. Should be done regularly to assure quality

PHASE O: DEFINING THE TASKS

In this phase, the sending organization and/or the training company will define the tasks the trainee will do during the period abroad. The sending organizations could define the tasks together with the participant on doing it on their own.

The tasks should refer to concrete requirements of the participant's training curriculum and in this way to prove the relation between the defined tasks and the training and thus enhance the acceptance of the project by training companies or professional schools.

The defined tasks will be uploaded on the INTAKT database so the participant will find it.

In this phase, the following questions should be answered by the project managers:

  • Target group: Training profession
  • Time, period: N. of weeks abroad
  • Method to be used: Interviews, professional visits, job shadowing...
  • Requested results: Report, PowerPoint presentation, creative work...
  • Individual or group work
  • Proof of relation of the task with the training curriculum: Reference to suitable paragraphs of the training CV.
Example 

Target group

Office clerks in public administration, 2nd training year

Time period

4 weeks

Task:
Topic(s)
Methods
Requested results
Individual or group work

Describe the organizational structure of a local authority (of your choice) in Bournemouth and compare it to the equivalent authority in Germany. Method: Interview at least 6 persons. Present your results in a 6page written report in English, and in a PowerPoint Presentation in German. Produce a creative work (e.g. collage, short film, slide show about an excursion...) about your experiences in England.

You work in groups of 3 to 4 persons.

Prove of relation to training curriculum (yes/no)?

§§ 1a,b, 3... of the german training curriculum for office clerks in public administration („Understanding the system of public administration)

PHASE 1: PREPARATION OF THE PARTICIPANTS

The project management has to conceive an appropriate preparation of the participants. This can be done by a group seminar or meeting the participants individually. It can contain linguistic, crosscultural and methodic elements (concerning the project work), depending on knowledge, competence and personal independence of the participants. If the project work contains interviews in English, then the preparatory seminar should contain an interview training. Besides, in this phase, the first data should be entered by the participants in the INTAKT database.

Below you can find some examples of participant's activities in this phase:

  • Understanding the task
  • Training dealing with interview situations (making appointments, introducing themselves...)
  • Learning how to write a report and how to structure a presentation
  • Acquiring intercultural skills
  • Working with the INTAKT database

And the project management should prepare a seminar with some of the following topics:

  • Explanation of the project work
  • Developing role plays for interviews
  • Guidelines for writing a report
  • Providing with linguistic-intercultural preparation
  • Explanation of the INTAKT database

The preparatory seminar will be organized taking into account:

A) Requested project work: Which skills and competences the project work demands from the participant?: Language skills, intercultural competences, researching information, making appointments, producing and interview guidelines, interviewing in English, structuring information and writing a report, computer skills...

and

B) Participants competences: Which skills and competence have the participants already (concerning the project task): Knowledge about the topic, language skills, computer skills...

The seminar will the result from the differences between A and B. Example:

  • Preparation in German (native language):
    • Explanation of the project schedule and the project tasks
    • Geography, history, leisure facilities
    • Scenario: how would I organize my project work (in small groups)
  • Preparation in English (target language)
    • Intercultural introduction: present oneself and learn to describe the topic of the project work, making appointments, communicating politely
    • Interviewing people (role play)

PHASE 2: PARTICIPANTS PRELIMINARY WORK (optional)

In this phase, the participant can already start to prepare the project work. They can familiarize themselves with the task or topic, for example acquiring relevant vocabulary and expressions. The project management can give the participant some suggestions or tasks or agree and individual preliminary task with the participant.

Below you can find some examples of participant's activities in this phase:

  • Choose a local German authority and describe its organizational structure.
  • Draw up a glossary of 30 German-English words and expressions related to the topic of the project work.
  • Find out 5 contacts in Bournemouth which could be useful for the interviews.

And the project management in this phase should:

  • Support the participants in case of questions.
  • Give feedback.

An example of the preliminary work could be:

  1. Describe in English the organizational structure of the local authority (400 words) and send this by email to us by the 1st May 2011.
  2. Draw up a glossary of 30 German-English Words and expressions which could be useful for the topic of your project work. Send this by the 1st June 2011.
  3. Find out 5 contacts in Bournemouth that can be useful for the interviews. Send this by the 1st July 2011.

PHASE 3: PROJECT WORK ABROAD

This is the central project phase. The participant work on the task set up on phase 0 and produce the requested project result. The project project must be uploaded on the INTAKT database so the sending and and host organizations can access to it. This phase should contain a language course provided by the host organization. Also the host organization support the participant on his/her needs. Both sending and host organization do the monitoring of the stay abroad.

At this phase, an example of the participants activities would be:

  • Topic: Compare the organizational structure of a German local authority with a English one.
  • Methodology: 6 interviews per group and processing information (transcribing, evaluating, structuring, editing, formatting...).
  • Product: 6 page written report, Powerpoint presentation, creative work (slide show, film, collage...) uploaded on the INTAKT database.

At the same time the Host organization's activities could be:

  • Understanding the participants task
  • Organizing and helping with the interviews
  • Repetition of the interview role play
  • Support for report and presentation (rooms, IT-equipment, linguistic support)
  • Organizing a language course
  • Organizing accommodation
  • General tutoring

The sending organization activity at this stage would be:

  • Monitoring of the stay abroad

PHASE 4: FOLLOW-UP WORKSHOP (OPTIONAL)

In general, all the requested project results should be finalized during the stay abroad. However, a follow-up workshop can be done if participants or sending organization want to revise or train the presentation. A follow up could also contain the organization of a public presentation event.

Again this workshop can be organized individually or in groups.

In this phase, the participant's activities could be:

  • Revision of the presentation
  • Creating one final presentation out of several group presentations
  • Presentation training (voice, body language...)

And the sending organization should:

  • Develops a follow-up concept
  • Supports revision of the presentation
  • Provides public-speaking coaching

PHASE 5: PRESENTATION OF THE PROJECT RESULTS

In a public presentation, participants can present their work and results to a larger audience. Doing this, the participant can prove further competences: organizing a presentation event and speaking to an audience. The presentation can be done in mother tongue, in the target language or in a mix of both. This will depend on the objectives of the presentation event.

At this stage, the participants activities would be:

  • Presentation of the fulfilled task and the results of the project abroad
  • In front of a large audience
  • In a target language or mother language

On the other hand, the sending organization and/or training company should:

  • Help with the organization of the presentation event

Project transfer

The project provides for the set-up of a database which makes it possible to compile training-related tasks for "intercultural investigations of occupational fields" for various occupational fields so that they can be flexibly adapted to the requirements of the participants. In combination with KOMPASS, the current Leonardo-da-Vinci innovation transfer project, which is aligned to job-related proof of intercultural competences acquired abroad, the learning achievements made during the „intercultural investigation of vocational fields" can be documented in relation to competences. Thus, the project wants to make a contribution to an improved training-related recognition of learning achievements, acquired non-formally and informally for participants in the initial vocational training.

Syddansk Erhverskole in Odense, Denmark, has good experience with the respective system of self-controlled learning based on pre-defined task-related learning units. Some years ago, the system of "blended learning" was implemented for students of various subjects which also includes an evaluation system. The present project is to make the experience made in Denmark in the field of higher education implementable for mobility projects in the field of initial vocational training.