Posts Tagged VET

Accreditation of VET in Bulgaria

At our last project meeting in Bulgaria there was a sense of acheivement from all our project partners.  This sense of acheivement is the result of the efforts of all the partners collectively over the last year.  The partners are now comfortable with each other and feel confident of their roles within the project.

Our project partners BARET organised for Mr. Nikolov from NAVET National Agency for Vocational and Education Training to come along and speak to us about their role in accreditation of training in Bulgaria.  He explained how BARET is licensed by NAVET to deliver VET training and that our ‘train the trainer’ was viewed as a module within the field of Rural Tourism.  A Rural Tourism training programme in Bulgaria would encompass 900 hours of training and our proposed module would encompass about 100 hours of training.  The accreditation was granted in the form of a letter from NAVET to BARET.

We were intrigued to learn that Bulgaria does not have a credit system in place and at a national level they are working with colleagues in France to develop a credit system.  Mr. Nikolov was accommodating of all the questions which were asked by our project partners and was enthusiastic about the work undertaken as part of our project. 

Our meeting continued with a workshop which was jointly facilitated by partners from Romania & Ireland.  Whilst we had touched on this important subject during other meetings, this was the first time where we reached a consensus of the content of the ‘Train the Trainer’ in Rural Entreprenuership syllabus. 

We finished our meeting with a tour of some wonderful walking trails which have been developed by our host BARET and we learned a few lessons about European Integration Bulgarian style!

Bulgarian approach to EU Integration

Why carry four tools when one will do!

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Partners Meeting 3 – Bavaria

Our project had its third partners meeting on the 26th and 27th January 2010 in Freising, Munich, Germany.  Our meeting was hosted by our colleagues from the Bavarian State Research Centre of Agriculture and the meeting was held in the most wonderful setting of Kardinal-Dopfner-Haus in the town of Freising.

Our Bavarian colleagues provided us with an insight in to the operations of the Bavarian State Research Center of Agriculture and how their training systems are implimented.  Their Director Dr. Viktoria Lofner-Meir presented an overview of the Research Centers work on the first day of our meeting. This was complimented by a workshop facilitated by Mr. Pablo Asensio the following day on how the ‘train the trainer’ course could be intergrated into their training systems.

"Pablo Asensio gets everyones attention"

Now I have your attention!

It is a rewarding experience to work on a Leonardo project and step outside of your normal comfort zone to work with colleagues on a EU wide basis.  The project has jumped forward with a more defined timeframe of what will be achieved by certain dates thoughout 2010.  Alot of work was undertaken by each of the partners since our last meeting with a view to seeking accreditation for our train the trainers programme.  Each of the partners filled in the gaps in respect of how the accreditation system for vocational education training is managed in their countries. 

Athlone Institute of Technology led the majority of the interactions at this meeting and focussed all partners on the agreement of Irish accreditation template.  Indepth discussions on this topic issued and a rough draft was agreed.  It was clear that this accreditation template was a work in progress document and further input will be required from all partners before the end of March 2010.  Our aim for May 2010 is to have our train the trainers course gain accreditation through the Higher Education & Training Awards Council in Ireland.  This will require significant effort from all partners and we are confident of achiving this aim.

As the lead partner, I was looking for ways to improve our partners communication and maintain an up-to-date record of all partners contributions to our work in progress.  Thanks to Sean Connell from AIT we have brought all partners in to the 21st century through Google.docs.  His workshop which was held during our meeting was a challenge, espeicially as the google default kept bringing some of us to the German version.  Everybody enjoyed it and found it worthwhile.  Its just a case of getting everyone to use it now.

Partners are introduced to Google.docs by Sean

Clear timeframes for delivery of our project aims have been established by 3 of the possible 4 partners involved in seeking accreditation.  In summary, the project is progressing at a pace which is much faster than I would have envisaged after the first meeting held last October!

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Project Partners second meeting in Romania

The second meeting of the PART-RTi Leonardo Partnership Project was held on the 10th and 11th of December 2009 in rural Translyvania, Romania.  Our meeting was held in the beautiful rural location of Sâncraiu (Kalotaszentkirály) village, approximately 50 kilometres West of the Cluj-Napoca city.  We were well looked after by our host Mr. István Vincze-Kecskés who offered us excellent hospitality in the village. 

During the festive holiday period time is devoted to family and other activites are forgotten for a few weeks and that included this blog!  It is the begining of a new decade and within our project partnership we are fast approaching our next project meeting in Bavaria.  So the time has come to update this blog and I am delighted to report that our 2nd meeting was a success.  Collectively all of our project partners have become familiar with the project objectives and are working towards our agreed goals.

Rural Tourism Partners meet in Translyvania, Romania

Partners discussing national accreditation systems in Europe

Whilst this was our second meeting we were still getting to know each other and were clarifying the project objectives.  It is a priviledge to have the opportuity to work with a diverse group of professionals from accross Europe in the field of rural tourism.  At each meeting there are always new challenges and it is not easy to come to an agreement on certain tasks.  These challenges are presented in the form of communication difficulties through the language of our project which is English.  Those of us for whom English is our first language have to keep reminding ourselves to slow down and ensure our points are being understood.  There are always a few new faces at each meeting and this presents another challenge in trying to maintain the focus of the project on track.

During the meeting, we gained knowledge from each other on how the accreditation systems of each of the partner country operates.  There are many similarities and some obstacles to overcome, but we all agreed that we would work as a team towards the development of a common syllabi.  Our aim is to have our rural tourism ‘train the trainer’ programme acheiving national accreditation standard in each of the partner countries. 

The main priority for the partners for the next meeting is to reach a consensus on the Irish accreditation template which has been led by Kevin McLoughlin from Athlone Institute of Technology.  In addition, we will be agreeing the timeframe for accreditation delivery in each of the partner countries over the coming year and half of our project.

2nd Meeting Group Picture of Partners in Romania

Project Partner Countries include Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and Romania

We are now at the stage where we will be inviting national and international silent partners to participate in our project.  We are seeking further guidance from international experts and wish to raise awareness about our project among those involved in Vocational Education Training and organisations who promote high standards in tourism training.  We will be sending out emails over the coming weeks, but if you have an interest in our work please post a comment here.

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VET cooperation opportunities through Leonardo

Carolien van der Laan and I attended the Leonardo da Vinci contact seminar held in Dublin at the end of September.  It was a well organised seminar with lots of opportunities to meet potential project partners from the Vocational Education Training sector from across Europe. 

There were in excess of 100 delegates present at the seminar from 22 countries in Europe.  The seminar provided opportunities for networking and meeting new potential partners for Leonardo programmes.  There also was plenty of useful information and it was good to find out that a database portal of Leonardo funded projects call ADAM exists.  It is a good way to identify if your project idea is unique and whether something similar has already been undertaken elsewhere in Europe. 

Ms. Joanne Basztura Leonardo da Vinci Programme Manager, European Commission provided an insightful presentation on ‘VET Policies’ by providing clear guidelines on the importance of the Copenhagen process.  One of the priorities of the Copenhagen process struck me as integral to any VET project by ‘Improving the links between VET and the labour market’. 

Personally, I found the “pitch a project” session interesting, particularly in the Transfer of Innovation project category.  There have clearly been some excellent projects throughout Europe developed with assistance from Leonardo.  One project that caught my attention was; ‘Eurocatering language training’ a web-based language course to enable students to learn vocabulary and communicative skills for placement in a foreign kitchen or restaurant.  This project has benefits for all small tourism enterprises across Europe to communicate with their European clients.

Networking at Leonardo Contact Seminar

Networking at Leonardo Contact Seminar

We presented in the Transfer of Innovation “pitch a project” session with a view to expanding our current RTi-PART Leonardo project to develop a new project to deliver our ‘rural tourism Train the Trainers’ programme with new partners.  We are currently working on this proposal and are interested in discussing possibilities with new partners.  Whilst at the seminar, we established some new contacts and we are looking forward to pursuing these contacts further in the coming weeks.

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