Ute Schmitt – EfVET Secretary/ National Representative of Germany

BBS Wirtschaft 1 in Ludwigshafen was selected as the only VET college in Germany to participate in the initiative “Leistung macht Schule” of the German Government and the governments of the Federal States. On 30th January 2018 the initiative “Leistung macht Schule“ (performance sets a precedent) started with a nation-wide kick-off in Berlin. This initiative strives to promote talented and capable students with a willingness for achievement – no matter what age, gender, origin or social situation. The German ministry of education and the federal states fund this project with 125 Million euros. 300 colleges comprising different types of schools and sectors participate in the first phase (2018 – 2022) of this nationwide initiative.

At that point Berufsbildende Schule Wirtschaft 1 in Ludwigshafen and long-time EfVET member is the only VET college participating not only in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate but throughout Germany. This is honour and obligation at the same time. Especially for VET colleges it is true what the German minister for education and research, Johanna Wanka, stated in her opening speech: “In many class rooms, there are undetected talents. We want to find and promote these students early on, because equal opportunities and fair education also means offering talented and capable young people optimal possibilities for learning and personal development.

Vice-President of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republik of Germany and Minister for education in Rhineland-Palatinate, Stefanie Hubig, emphasized: “Identification and promotion of talents is equally important to supporting weaker students. In order to deal with the more and more complex problems in our world we need highly competent people, who have learnt to think and work with both alert intelligence and social responsibility. Therefore, we must promote high achievers and low achievers alike. In a more and more heterogeneous society the challenge is, to detect these potentials even where one might not expect them at first glance.”

Especially VET colleges can offer many opportunities demanding and facilitating talented and capable students and apprentices striving for high performance. Internationalization in VET – as implemented at BBS Wirtschaft 1 in Ludwigshafen – can provide and help acquire additional qualifications and competences, for instance EBBD, ECDL, foreign language certificates, but also internships abroad in general. Cooperation with universities or universities of applied sciences can open the doors to junior studies where students and apprentices attend lectures and sit for examinations, gaining ETCS credits while still at school/in training.

Increasing digitalization in economy and colleges provides new challenges – particularly motivating for talented and capable students and apprentices, but also offer new opportunities for individual encouragement and promotion during lessons. Within the frame of this 10-year initiative BBS Wirtschaft 1 in Ludwigshafen has been enabled to further develop this profile based on scientific monitoring and increased support by the federal state of Rhineland- Palatinate, for instance by having access to specific teacher training and cross-sector networking and help creating an overall concept. In this context it is our main concern to showcase that VET in particular, closely connected to reality of life and work offers diverse and multi-faceted opportunities and chances for talented and capable students and apprentices willing to show excellence.

This article was originally published on EfVET Magazine – March 2018 issue