European vocational training – open, engaging, quickly responding to labour market

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The Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council is paying special attention to promoting vocational education and training (VET). Directors general responsible for VET in the EU member states, together with experts and social partners, have gathered in Vilnius to discuss how to enhance quality of vocational training, making VET directly meet the demands of the labour market, as well as promoting VET openess and inclusiviness to all.

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Quality assurance in VET Group in Linkedin

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This group aims to connect professionals working in the field of quality assurance in vocational education and training, managerial and administrative staff, teachers and trainers, consultants and researchers working in quality assurance.

The group members will exchange information, ideas and practices related to quality assurance, application of EQAVET and EFQM principles in their organisations, problems and pitfalls, suggestions for improvement, solutions.

While the group originates from the EU project BEQUAL, and its successors BEQUAL+ and EXPANDVET, it is open to everyone person working on the theme and wants to be part of our community.

Click here to get connected.

Evaluation of training: Lessons learned

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The evaluation of a training course is becoming a standard procedure; the training courses that are funded by European programmes or ESF have evaluation as a requirement, but it is expanding also in private funded training courses. Every training organization, more or less, has a procedure for the final evaluation of training courses. Typically, the evaluation is being done through an evaluation questionnaire. And then someone processes the questionnaires, analyses the results and provides suggestions and recommendations for improvement. Or at least, that is the way it should be…

I remember back in 2007, when we organized our first in-service training course for staff in adult education. Before that we had developed a large number of evaluation questionnaires for different purposes. But at that point, we decided to develop a standard questionnaire for our international training courses, one that we can use in every course and can help us improve ourselves. For the development of that evaluation questionnaire, we spent a lot of time. We worked in a team, to think about the aspects of the organization and delivery of the training course that we wanted to evaluate. There are so many things that we want to have the feedback of the trainees!! We want to know about the motivation of the trainees to choose our training course among so many others, we want to ask about the the quality of the training course and learning materials, for the trainers and for the social programme. We give particular emphasis to receive the comments of the participants, as with close questions we get the overall feeling but we cannot capture details. And we care very much about the details. We want to ask everything, but we also want a short questionnaire, so that people can fill-it-in in 5 minutes. We spent time to phrase carefully the questions, to revise the questionnaire again and again to make it short but comprehensive. And after using the questionnaire in that first evaluation course, we revised it once more.

Now, in every training course that we organize since then, we use the same standarised questionnaire. Therefore, we can compare results over time and improve our services continuously. With the time, we have improved many aspects of the training course and now we think that we have reached high quality standards.

Two weeks ago, we organized a five-days training course for a team of 10 women entrepreneurs and managers from the Kaunas Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts in Lithuania. The group consisted of high qualified trainees; most of them had postgraduate degrees and extensive working experience in demanding positions. These women left their daily businesses for a week and they had high expectations from the training course. Our job was to deliver a high quality training course and provide also a social programme for first time visitors in Greece.

The evaluation showed an overall satisfaction, however, there were some points that were not so good and needed our attention. The points that were raised were not in our immediate influence: they complained about poor internet connection in the hotel and poor taxi services. The truth is that it was the first time to organize a training course in a hotel in Athens; we normally use our training room in Piraeus and we have a number of service providers including hotels, restaurants that we use and we trust. For this training course, we had selected a 4-star hotel in the centre of Athens, so that our hosts can minimize time spent on travelling and spend more time in sightseeing. The issue of the taxi drivers is known. We always inform our hosts that they should pay attention to taxi drivers.

Nevertheless, as a hosting organization, we need to keep our visitors satisfied in every aspect of their study visit. Therefore, following this experience, we have designed corrective actions for these two points, to minimize the same problems in the future.

  • Regarding the hotel, we have developed a check list and we will make sure that someone will pay a visit to the hotel to check everything before the organization of the training course.
  • Regarding the taxi services, we will provide our hosts information about taxi companies and the option to prebook a taxi waiting in the airport.
In a competitive and challenging market, we cannot afford to rest, we need to continuously improve our quality assurance procedures, focusing on the satisfaction of our clients. With this in mind, we have to take very seriously all comments and not-so-good evaluation rates, deal with every little detail and continuously improve our services.

Conference "Quality Assurance in Education and Training"

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Wednesday 25 September 2013

IDEC organised the conference "Quality in vocational education and training" in company's premises in Piraeus. 25 people from the field of education and training participated in the conference, representing private and public organisations. Participants expressed their interest for the evolutions in the field of education at European and national level and especially in the field of quality assurance, validation, accreditation and transparency of qualifications.

In the conference in was presented the European projects BEQUAL+ and EXPANDVET, the European and national framework for quality in lifelong learning, methodologies and tools for quality assurance, continuous professional development of staff and teachers in LLL and the development of generic skills and competencies needed in the labour market.

Relevant Documents

 

Final conference of BEQUAL + project successfully held in Sofia

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International conference put an end of two years of work for expanding BEQUAL benchmarking tool and community of practice for quality assurance in vocational education and training.  The BEQUAL+ project was financed under EU Leonardo Da Vinci Programme (2011-2013) and brought together partners from Bulgaria, Italy, Turkey and Greece to transfer innovative techniques for self-evaluation of quality assurance practices in vocational education and training, quality benchmarking and networking. The innovative content transferred consists of electronic benchmarking tool for quality assurance in VET, offering opportunity for VET providers to compare their performance with similar institutions, web based quality sharing network and good practice center and thematic portal as a reference point for practitioners, researchers and policy makers in VET.

The partners presented the project activities and achieved results at the final conference, held on 20 September 2013 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Among the participants were VET providers,  representatives of Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Economy and Energy, Office of the President of Republic of Bulgaria, educational experts, social partners, etc.

The functionalities of the BEQUAL Benchmarking Tool and Good Practice Center were demonstrated in details. The participants discussed the sustainability of the project results   and their potential to be embedded in the VET quality assurance policies and practices.

We also presented of  how our international cooperation provided opportunity for  synergy between two EU projects (BEQUAL+ and EXPANDVET) that use the same platform www.bequal.info . Three representatives of EXPANDVET partners attended the BEQUAL + final conference and provided details on how we collaborated to learn from each other and to improve the innovative content.

 

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