Learning methods in VET College business network: SWIRL final event

During EfVET Roundtables organised at the margin of the EfVET Conference, the multiplier event of the project swirl was held under the title “Learning methods in VET College business network” and organised by EfVET in support of SWIRL partners on Thursday 19 November 2020.

The mail goal of this event was to introduce the three main products of SWIRL project and the process of online platform and community, company handbook, student learning materials.

The three years funded project started in September 2017 coordinated by SEDU College (Finland) and counted with partners from Sichting Business Development Friesland (The Netherlands), Agrupamento de Escolas José Estevão (Portugal), Institute of Entrepreneurship Development IED (Greece), C4G Consulting and Training Network (Portugal), Bridging to the Future (UK) and EfVET (Belgium). The partnership focused on the new developments require a good match between the demands of the labour market and the skills and number of employees. Therefore, VET schools are expected to play a vast role in equipping individuals with skills, competences, and knowledge required by today’s business.

Also, the event, which was among one of the more than 1240 events organised in the context of the VET Skills Week 2020, was organised by the EfVET.

The virtual event was opened by Tanja Rajala who introduced the first session on the project results and background of the SWIRL project. She said that is very necessary to empower students:

– Educate students to take initiative and investigate the opportunities in their own networks
– Enable students develop networking skills and an entrepreneurial mindset
– Boost their self-esteem and professional identity
– Increase employability.

The second presentation made by Maria Dalakoura (IED) was about student learning materials. The aim of the student learning materials was to:

– Collect company assignment with companies
– Carry out an assignment for a company
– Present the assignment to the company

Maria Dalakoura is highlighted that it is important for the student to realise what are the skills relevant for the working life – depending on sector to sector and work to work there are many skills than can be more or less developed as a skill definition – an ability to do an activity or job well, especially one has practiced it. The company handbook provides an overview how student initiated real work assignment can benefit companies’ activities and strengthen its operational capabilities in order to successfully face the recent economies challenges. The feedback of the student’s performance was a method for supporting his/her self-development. But the balanced feedback stops feeling de-motivated by feedback they may find challenging. It is especially important to provide reviews and assessments because those discussions are related to a stretch of time and not an isolated issue or incident.

The SWIRL project presented a video of success stories and the SWIRL platform that can be found at this link.

The second session was dedicated to the case study in Real Life and was presented by Maria Glória Leite (Agrupamento de Escolas José Estevao). In Portugal students were organised in groups and visited a total of six companies in the area. This was the first step to let everyone know each other. Students had the opportunity of seeing, asking, and thinking about their motivations and skills for different areas. Maria Glória in the closing session mentioned that during the Covid pandemic students stopped everything and this year, this project is again in our way, because a teacher and our school submitted it to popular vote to choose the project that would receive a new funding from the Municipality.

After each presentation the partnership had the opportunity to contribute with a feedback using a pool question. The event was successful and big thank you to all partners.