The project’s chosen priority areas consisted of open and innovative education, training and youth work, and embedment in the digital era. The need for AppMentor in VET arose because an increasing part of VET learning is conducted during work-based learning (WBL) and away from the VET provider. This makes it sometimes impossible to travel to companies and have on-the-spot mentoring sessions. AppMentor also proved how collaboration between the work mentor and teacher can continue smoothly and transparently from the beginning to the end, and not only when a teacher and student visits the company. This provides the work mentor with a feeling of security, as they are aware that support and guidance may also be obtained in between face-to-face meetings. AppMentor allowed for the transferal and implementation of mobile learning in work placements; encouraged work mentors to use mobile technology (e.g. apps, social media, virtual learning platforms) when mentoring students/apprentices during WBL; deepened cooperation as well as information and data sharing between work mentor and mentoring teacher during placements through the introduction of tools for mobile technology; ensured that all students regardless of their work placement receive continuous mentoring and feedback through mobile technology, thus raising the quality of work placement learning; and introduced tools, methods, and materials that support both the work mentor and student during work placements.
Target groups consisted of employers, work mentors, VET providers, mentoring teachers, VET students, apprenticeship students, and companies offering apprenticeships.
The work was done in collaboration with employers and VET providers across several different VET fields (e.g. healthcare, agriculture, metal work, hospitality, tourism, and construction). In order to ensure the usability of outputs, one of the partners represented an intermediary organisation that allowed us to create tools and methodologies to be used for Erasmus+ and other international mobilities where students participate in work based learning at a company. The project involved many different sectors, employers, and VET providers, with an intermediary organisation allowing us to focus on the project’s impact and the effects of its outputs on i) those that participated in the project, ii) teachers, students, work mentors, and employers in various VET fields, and iii) students, work mentors, and teachers involved in the mentoring process during international mobilities. Including social media into the mentoring process and the development of a manual that provided work mentors (and teachers) with information on how to qualitatively mentor VET students made it possible for work mentors and teachers to develop key competences such as communication skills, problem solving skills, and intercultural skills. Furthermore, involving social media as a tool when mentoring students also made it possible for all students to carry out their work placements in companies that allowed them to develop the skills they wanted and to learn things that they may not learn at a company located close to the school. This was made possible as teachers and work mentors began communicating through WhatsApp and posted the development of students’ skills on closed Instagram pages. This also encouraged more students to participate in international mobilities and made it possible for Axxell to involve all students in the mentoring of students regardless of where the work placement was carried out. Obtaining continuous and ongoing feedback from both the work mentor and teachers also enabled improvements to third-party collaboration and increased the awareness of formal and informal learning. The project also enabled teachers involved in the project to implement virtual mentoring when face-to-face visits to work places were banned due to COVID-19.
The project implemented various apps into work place learning and influenced how mentoring was conducted. Online mentoring is now no longer something to fear, and teachers and work mentors feels that the project has deepened collaboration and created a more transparent environment where learning can happen. AppMentor also enabled teachers and work mentors to test and implement new approaches in mentoring, such as online group mentoring sessions where all students (within the same field/class) meet to share knowledge and experiences, with teachers acting as facilitators of learning.
The need for AppMentor in VET arose due to an increase in learning during work based learning (WBL) that is away from the VET provider. Teachers involved in this project have been active ambassadors with regard to the active dissemination of the benefits of social media in mentoring, and have also demonstrated to other teachers, work mentors, and VET providers on how the use of the AppMentor manual can improve the quality of mentoring and transparency of collaborations. The teachers involved in the project were also invited to visit other schools so they may demonstrate how the manual may be used; for example, the Axxell teacher that participated in the project was invited to the Aland Islands to educate teachers of Ålands Yrkesgymnasium on the use of the manual and the ways in which social media may be included in the mentoring process. The UK partner has organised several workshops where Apprenticeship providers were educated on the use of outputs. Icelandic partner teachers now use the AppMentor manual when educating work mentors and when introducing new teachers to their role as mentoring teachers.
The project approaches the use of social media in innovative ways, with its output proving useful in spreading the usage of social media and mobile technology in coaching and WBL, especially when one considers the diversity among potential users. Furthermore, a significant number of mentors and organisations have expressed their intention to start using social media tools in their mentoring approaches. The AppMentor Manual can be used when a) introducing employers of what is expected of them when they agree to host students for work placements, b) when educating new work mentors as to their roles as a work mentor, c) upskilling and maintaining the basic skills of a work mentor, d) when educating new teachers in their role as mentoring teachers, e) when upskilling teachers’ skills as mentors, and f) when introducing SoMe into the mentoring process. The AppMentor Manual is not connected to a specific field or sector but may be used by anyone who is somehow involved in the mentoring process where the focus is on skills development and analysing/evaluating skills development. By implementing the 4 “chapters” of the AppMentor manual, the quality of mentoring improves; mentoring will be seen as joint responsibility; equal opportunity and mentoring is encouraged no matter the student’s placement location; collaboration between work mentors and teachers is improved; and, the understanding of what is expected of a mentor and a mentoring teacher is clearly delineated.
- Project locations
- Project category
- VET schools
- Project year
- United Kingdom
Charlottenlund Upper Secondary School
Nantes Terre Atlantique
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