Discovering the value of tracking VET Alumni. Results of the TRACKTION project 

Does it make sense to track our VET graduates? How? Why and how would it be useful for our VET centres to create an Alumni Program? 

These questions have inspired the activity of the EU-funded project “Advancing Graduate Tracking and Alumni Relations in VET Schools – TRACKTION” focused on strengthening graduate tracking capacity and fostering alumni relations in VET institutions. TRACKTION was a collective endeavour comprising six organisations from five countries – Spain (two), Estonia, Italy, Netherlands, and the UK. In terms of expertise, the partnership shows a good balance including 3 VET Schools (Alfa College, Pärnumaa KutsehariduskeskusCometa Formazione), 2 intermediary organisations bridging policy and practice at regional level (VALNALON, leader of the project, and TKNIKA) and a research-focused organisation (Education & Employers Taskforce). 

After a 3-year activity, we all have been able to widen our perspectives stimulating a fruitful debate among the main stakeholders of our VET centres: leaders, teachers/trainers, managers (placement office, for instance), partner companies and, in particular, learners. Our centres, following exchange among partners and internal work, have now a system to collect important feedbacks from graduating students (EQF3-4-5) and after 6 months after graduation, thanks to an ad-hoc tool. In the past 2 years, it has been a stimulating opportunity to discuss internally how learners evaluate our training programs, what they think was useful for their professional development, what they suggest to improve in the curriculum. And, thanks to a crossed analysis, these results are compared to a similar survey after they graduate and have at least few months experience in their work placements. An excellent support to improve the quality management system of the centre and to enrich the curriculum structure. 

As important as the tracking system, the project team have defined guidelines to support VET centres leaders and managers in setting up a program for Alumni, namely: outlining the goals and the benefits of Alumni network, the needed resources, the implementation steps. Our schools, as any other VET centre, will now be ready to evaluate the opportunity and begin a process to create an Alumni program, following the directions in the How-to-guide. 

The project results have been organised into 2 outputs, available online: 

– TRACKTION project contribution to the field of graduate tracking in TVET (2020): The protocol allows tracing a diverse range of school-to-work transitions (employment, self-employment, further studies). The document includes guidelines to set up a graduate tracking system, instruments, and methods to collect data and tips on data analysis enabling transferability to other VET Schools. 

– Building and Sustaining Successful Alumni Relations in VET Schools: How To Guide (2020): Through the examples of good practice and the guidelines it provides, this How-To-Guide is expected to inspire and support practitioners, institutions and policymakers across Europe in developing or further strengthening alumni culture in VET Schools. For any further request of clarification, visit the project website: https://tracktionerasmus.eu/. The partners are also glad to provide information and suggestions. Please, feel free to contact Paolo Nardi from Cometa Formazione at paolo.nardi@puntocometa.org or Ivan Diego Rodríguez from Valnalon at ivan@valnalon.com.