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European Innovative Teaching Award
Project

”ALIGN” Work Place Based Learning within Green Industries

School: Västra Götalandsregionen, Naturbruksförvaltningen

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Topic(s) addressed

The project’s objective was to establish a structured exchange programme on the topics of sustainable food stock production, rural development, and cooperation between rural and urban areas, with the project addressing the topics of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. Another objective was to formalise students’ reviews following their completion of work placements and to foster innovative thinking and entrepreneurship; this objective is linked to the topic of new innovative curricula/educational methods. An innovative method of distance education, including language support, was offered via the beneficiary’s learning platform Ping Pong (linking the project to the Teaching Award’s annual priority).

Target groups

In total, 13 female and 9 male students participated in the VET learners’ traineeship mobilities, which were carried out in 6 different countries, namely Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, Estonia, Germany, and Denmark, of which 20 were upper secondary VET learners. Furthermore, 2 participating students came from post-secondary VET programmes, with 5 female and 7 male VET teachers also having participated in the project and traveling to 5 EU Member States (Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, Estonia, and Germany). All participants were Swedish, and came from green industries such as agriculture (animal husbandry and crop production), forestry and wildlife management, equestrian studies, and small animals.

Methodologies

A peer-evaluation method was used, with all staff mobilities evaluated by a group of teachers who worked in the same field as the beneficiary. Such evaluations aimed to better understand ECVET units, and to use an approach that was in line with the Swedish curricula. At the local level, this helped develop training and education, establish a wider network, and deepen competences. The units were jointly identified based on the curricula of both sending and receiving organisations (facilitating the assessment process), with the developed innovative assessment grid contributing to the use of the ECVET concept. As a result of EVCT support, all learners had an active role in the learning process during the project due to the construction of the WBL. The project developed key competences among students as their language competences improved.

Environments

Using the whole school approach, the project inspired students and teachers to see the world, and to challenge and develop their personal competencies. Given its blended learning approach, the project increased participants’ digital competence through the use of platforms such as PingPong, the ECVET system, and communication systems/social media. Despite its general lack of qualitative workplaces, the project has nevertheless positively affected the entire school; also, the school is now an enabler of innovation due to its prioritisation of the ECVET system.

Teachers

Participating teachers were involved with job shadowing and workshops on assessment and ECVET units, with teachers gaining insights into the way that other European countries carry out assessment processes, and the similarities and differences involved with regard to assessment and the required competencies. All staff mobilities were evaluated by a group of teachers who were working in the same field as the beneficiary. Such evaluations aimed to better understand each ECVET units, and to approach the unit within the framework of the Swedish curricula. Teachers of partner organisations were involved in the entire ECVET unit development process, with all traineeship coordinators from the sending organisation having participated in a workshop on the practical use of ECVET (with an emphasis on validation and recognition).

Impact

Traineeship in foreign companies helped participating students learn and gave them the impulse to explore new innovative ways of thinking and entrepreneurship using a futuristic perspective, which enabled them to apply new ways of working. The project supported individual student’s language development, as well as cultural and social learning. There was significant development among participants with regard to their professional, linguistic, cultural, and social competences. Through the use of ECVET, implemented activities built on the identified needs of participants towards reaching their desired learning outcomes, with a high level of quality identified in the project’s innovation process (the use of ECVET units). The project has strengthened the possibility for further, long-term international cooperation among project partners. In addition, it is now possible to increase the recruitment of students in industries facing a shortage of skilled labour. Participating schools gained knowledge on how green industries work and manage resources, and the application of new ideas in other countries, with all schools benefitting from the experience of developing teaching and training approaches across different specialisations.

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Stakeholders

Participants

Asociación para la promoción de la formación agraria, alimentaria y medioambiental, EUROPEA

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Spain

Berufsbildende Schulen für den Landkreis Wesermarsch

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Germany

Jordbrugets UddannelsesCenter Århus

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Denmark

Luua Metsanduskool

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Estonia

Sastamalan koulutuskuntayhtymä

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Finland

Stichting AOC Terra

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Netherlands

Stichting Wellant

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Netherlands

The Federation of Swedish Ostrobothnia for Education and Culture/YA - Vocational College of Ostrobothnia

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Finland