Skills Act 4 Vet with wind in its sails

The Skills Act 4 Vet project is gaining momentum for its last phase of development. With many goals successfully achieved and several big challenges still ahead, we are getting ready for the grand finale of our soft skill-based project.

One of the main works in progress within the project is now the pilot testing of the Skills Act course for VET trainers. The platform was designed for professionals taking part in short-term internships abroad as accompanying teachers. Its aim is to prepare them, both theoretically and practically, to foster the successful development of crucial soft skills in their students before, during and after their internship abroad. The course is available for everybody interested here.

In order to adapt the course to the maximum to the real needs of its future users, we have sent its current version to teachers from different European countries asking for their feedback. The testing process is now coming to an end, with dozens of positive responds from all around Europe and many interesting suggestions to consider. We received some very enthusiastic comments, such as the one sent to us by Krzysztof Kurzeja, a VET teacher from Słupsk, Poland:

“Lots of information and very interesting forms of developing and testing soft skills. And a very different approach to the student than what is preferred here. I admit it. For me, the most important things had always been knowledge and professional skills, but now, after getting to know the course, I look at shaping students’ self-esteem, self-confidence or even cultural awareness in a different way. Now I feel differently about soft skills. I only regret that I did not have access to this course before I left for the internship with my students.”

With no better possible recommendation than this feedback, we invite all the VET teachers interested in the subject to get familiar with the course and share their opinion with us via our questionnaire.

Hugely motivated by the great response to our platform, we are ready to work tirelessly to close this phase and other tasks foreseen by the project schedule, each one of them bringing us closer to fruitful and successful outcomes.

Aleksandra Ineksiak, Tribeka training lab S.L.

 

IT’S TIME TO TAKE STOCK

The end of the year is always a good moment to take a stock, to think and reflect on the past 12 months, in order to set future goals.

2021 was not an easy year for anyone: the COVID-19 crisis continued played a major role in everybody’s lives and strongly affected the education activities, at all levels.

While at the very beginning of the pandemic, classes and laboratories in schools had been stopped and internship including forbidden, during the last year, besides the difficulties and added challenges, the adaptation to the so called ‘new reality’ become a proven reality.

The mobility projects in the frame of the Erasmus+ programme has been among the last learning activities to be re-activates. In was only in spring 2021, after 1 year from the first lockdown, when they re started at a faster rhythm.

Internship abroad are crucial for the SkillsAct4Vet project, as they are the context for the project results’ implementation, testing and dissemination

The entire partnership was looking forward to see again the students on the field, with their accompanying teachers, learning agreements to be defined, and final europass to be obtained

The resilience and the strong willing to put in place mobility activities among students, teachers and director sin all Europe, proved how important the Erasmus+ program is for the VET education.

As a focus on the SkillsAct4Vet participation, we could observe a considerable number of students taking part in the testing of the outputs specifically designed for the mobility itself.

In Malaga, during the internships coordinated by Tribeka, the SkillsAct4VET Tasksmap (https://tasksmap.skillsact4vet.eu) and the SkillsActAPP (https://test.skillsact4vet.eu ) have been used by more than 500 participants.

Last year more that ever we saw how the experience to be abroad is life changing for young students, and how the opportunity to be hosted in foreign companies for few weeks experience can open their mind, and prepare them for the labor world.

We are aware that new challenges await us, and we are excited and ready for everything 2022 will bring to us. We wish that Covid won’t play such a central role, and that all the students that are planning today their mobilities, will realize them.

Skillsact4Vet Transnational Project Meeting in Athens

The SkillsAct4Vet project coordinated by Tribeka has entered an exciting phase now, after the Transnational Project Meeting held in Athens on 29th and 30th of November.

At the meeting, organized by Militos, all the Partners agreed on crucial steps to be taken in the future, regarding effective dissemination of the project, budget planification, and further development of Outputs 2, 3 and 4.

As for the output development, one of the main SkillsAct4Vet breakthroughs is the platform with training content for VET teachers, the core of IO3. The now complete training is designed for VET educators and focuses on activating the 5 key Soft Skills in the young participants of short internships abroad: Adaptability and Context Reading, Self Confidence, Followership, Cultural Awareness and Proactivity. The course is divided into 3 parts: Before, During and After the Mobility, and contains a lot of useful guidelines and ready-to-use exercises to apply in the classroom. It is available for everybody interested to see here: https://training.skillsact4vet.eu.

Since it is vitally important for the Partners to know the opinion of the target group, we are now inviting all the VET teachers, trainers and coordinators to evaluate our course through this form: https://forms.gle/pR31zJr36muh5YaWA. Do not hesitate to leave your honest comments for us. Your feedback can help us optimize the platform and create a tool effective and accessible to all VET professionals!

SkillsAct4Vet Transnational project Meeting

After more than a year and a half, where due to the Covid pandemic we have not been able to hold any face-to-face meeting, we finally began to move!

During the 28th and 29th of September, the partners of the ‘Transversal skills activation for Vet Mobility experience’ project have finally held a blended meeting in the Bulgarian city of Gorna Oryahovitsa.

Most of the members have been able to attend the meeting in the host city of the M. V. Lomonosov Secondary School of Electrical Engineering and Electronics, which has been responsible for hosting the event.

Members who have not been able to travel to Bulgaria have participated virtually in the meeting, so that all members have contributed to the meeting.

Among the topics on the meeting agenda, we worked on:-Progress of the project outpus,- Agreement on further testing activities,- Evaluation, quality insurance and dissemination- Communication and cooperation among the partners.Besides all the mentioned, an important goal of the meeting has been checking on feedbacks of the learning mobility implemented in Summer 2021 with the students from the M. V. Lomonosov Secondary School.The project managers, researchers and technician met the students and teachers who took part to the learning activities hosted by the project coordinator in Malaga in summer 2021.The feedback collected at the end of the mobilities, after testing the outputs, has proved how students and teachers increased their understanding of soft skills, in the frame of short terms work experience abroad.They increased they sensitiveness in recognizing them, the behavioral elements the soft skills can assume, and are more aware of their application in their future job position.

About the travel to Gorna Oryahovitsa, a special mention is deserved by the amazing welcoming that the guest partners received from the host organization.

The staff and students of the host school took care of the organization with great attention to details and peculiar elements, accuracy, precision and proudness to offer the best.

Lomonosov students on short terms internship in Malaga, Spain

Besides the delay in the project timeline, in Summer 2021 the learning activities in the frame of our SKILLSACT4Vet project took place in Malaga, coordinated by Tribeka training lab.

15 students from High School Lomonosov have been selected by the PGEE „Lomonosov’ to have a short term work experience in Spain.

The mobility allowed to understand the actual benefit of the SKILLSACT4VEt training on a real case of mobility that has been observed as a pilot experience during the project implementation

Both the students and the 2 accompanying teachers have been experimenting the different training sessions, the Skills Act 4 VET Work-based Tasks Map and the Assessment App and have provided constructive feedbacks used to further improve and develop the project outputs.

Tribeka has been in charge of selecting the host companies, contacting with host company tutors, facilitating the understanding of the activities carried out during the work placement and monitoring activities.

The beneficiaries of the internship are students from 10th and 11th grade of PGEE „Lomonosov“ from classes with intensive learning of Computer Engineering and Technologies, Applied Programming and Industrial Electronics. During their internship, the students were assigned to companies in the field of programming, maintenance and repair of office equipment, software and web-page development.

In cooperation with the host companies tutors, the mobility allowed the students to develop a deeper personal consciousness and understanding of one’s own transversal skills, and its activation during the short terms experience abroad.

Non Plus ultra

The pandemic has transformed nearly every aspect of our life and our way to thinking and seeing the world. We changed our way of working, studying, and communicating.

Above all, the students have struggled a lot through the past months due to the virus and they faced many problems such as having to take classes online instead of going to school, some were stuck at home and they were completely trapped for a long time. We all are living with uncertainty and with the fear of going into lock down again. We still have very little information about this virus, and we still must wait and see how everything works for us after we get to be fully vaccinated.

 

We also needed to change our protocols to provide a safe service and take care of our students: we are doing the meeting online, everyone is wearing masks (and sometimes it is harder to understand student’s emotions), everyone’s fragrance has changed too: now we all are wearing Hand Sanitizer N.5. Our favourite Website is now  https://reopen.europa.eu/en and we are checking constantly the Covid restriction in each country that are changing almost every day. Sometimes groups are cancelling or postponing the day before their arrival because of Covid and we have to rearrange everything, but this will not discourage us.

On the contrary, this will be a chance to improve and to learn more.

 

Despite this insecurity, the students are coming back to Malaga leaving their families, their countries, their routine for 2-4 weeks doing an internship in one of our companies.

So, why are the students accepting the risk to come here in Spain?

Probably it is the human desire of stepping out their comfort zone; now more than ever they are eager to learn from new experience, try new things, improve themselves and their skills.

Our students, little Ulysses, with their insatiable thirst for knowledge, are starting again the voyage in the quest of “ virtute e canoscenza”.

 

Actually, Dante Alighieri, the Italian poet, in his masterpiece La Divina Comedia wrote:

 

Considerate la vostra semenza:
fatti non foste a viver come bruti
ma per seguir virtute e canoscenza

 

These words are pronounced by Dante’s Ulysses in 118-120 verses, Canto XXVI of Inferno.

With these words he urged his mariners beyond the Pillars of Hercules, which were the limits prescribed at that time, for the restlessly searching of the knowledge.

 

Today we could see this knowledge as transversal skills. These new skills are important in a broad range of sectors and new jobs. These skills can be acquired through leisure activities, education and training. And most important, these skills can be transferred in another contexts.

Communication skills, problem solving, intercultural understanding, self-motivation, critical thinking and many others are the skills of the future.

When the students are here in Malaga, looking at the Andalusian flag with Hercules and the Pillars, they will discover that they already have gone beyond their limits…and they will be aware of the fact that there is even more to discover and to learn.

Transversal Skills Activation for Vet Mobility Experiences : creating the project products

After one year from the kick off meeting of the project, that took place exactly 1 year ago in Malaga, our work on Skills Act for Vet project  is going on in a word that appears completely different! Despite the difficulties due to COVID 19 , that are affecting mobility projects and the Educative system in Europe, the main goals behind ‘SkillsAct4Vet’ project appears more pertinent that ever.

The project team is busy building the project products, that will be used to optimize soft skills activation in young interns during shor terms mobility abroad.

We’ll provide a brief overview of the tools that the project team is creating and we’ll ask our teachers for help in testing a student questionnaire which is part of one of the products.

The project group completed the extensive exploratory research in March 2020 (details at the following link http://adiscuola.it/the-results-of-the-survey-transversal-skills-activation-for-vet-mobility-experiences/ ).  Based on the investigation results, five competences emerged as the most important ones  for employability : 

1) CONTEXT READING and ADAPTABILITY : It is the ability to act properly in both new and known contexts, adapting to their specific characteristics and recognizing the values, beliefs, resources and limits of the environment and people. It is also the ability to recognize one’s own and others’ role expectations. In multicultural contexts, this capacity implies the linguistic-communicative adaptation to specific environment;

2) SELF CONFIDENCE : recognizing one’s strengths and weaknesses;

3) FOLLOWERSHIP: Supporting one’s own referent/superior and co-workers at the workplace and showing collaboration, trust in the group’s members and cohesion capabilities;

4) CULTURAL AWARENESS : Respecting and being aware of cultural differences and working effectively with people from a range of different social and cultural backgrounds;

5) PROACTIVITY: Acting in advance of a future situation, rather than just reacting to it.

The project team described each skill using a set of behavioral indicators to complete the identification tool, then the project group chose the three most relevant behavioral indicators for each competence.
This set of 5  competencies and  15 behavioral indicators formed the basis for developing the following products:

  • The Skills Act 4 VET Modular Training Programme for Teachers: the project team is currently creating module one ( the module “before the mobility”). In module one teachers will find information, bibliography and activities about each of the five competences. Teachers  will use the materials to activate  and discuss the competences before the mobility.
  • Self assessment and evaluation tools:
  • map of tasks at work: the project groups is using the set of behavioral indicators describing each of the selected competences to create a questionnaire linked to the job duties. Both students and internship tutors will answer the same questionnaires, students will be able to compare their self assessment with their tutor evaluation. The map of tasks at work will therefore serve as a self-assessment tool during the mobility. Students will use it , in itinere , as a track on how to optimize the mobility experience itself.
  • App: Students will answer another questionnaire using the app, this questionnaire will be drawn up by a team of psychologists. This questionnaire will have scientific value and will complement the task map at work. Students will use this tool to measure their degree of activation of skills achieved during the mobility experience and their level of awareness. The results of the questionnaires will represent a basis for discussions and reflections.
  • the app questionnaire needs to be tested to evaluate its degree of comprehensibility and adequacy. For this purpose we need your help, please test the questionnaire with your students. Below you can find links to the tests. The questions are the same, however one questionnaire is in English while the other one is in Italian. The questionnaires are online, they are aimed at students who have completed an internship abroad and they are very short.

Thank you so much for your help!!

link to Italian test: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScwtgNY97osT0_m3m5ICrngzn495wCE6TbTl-BIZYZV1pQqFw/viewform?usp=sf_link

link to English test: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeddyj6F66gC0jHcD2M7Ju3hzKAEdLwym_FAm3-i8jk2Zs8Wg/viewform?usp=sf_link

SkillsAct – Meeting

SkillsAct 4 Vet consortium met yesterday on line for a follow up project meeting.

We all are missing meeting in person, the synergy that direct contact generates, but while the Covid pandemic do not allow us to safely travel, we are doing a great job and taking the most from our virtual meetings.

Yesterday our colleagues from @Militos, @Elidea and @Tribeka showed the draft and the structure for the outputs that will be developed in the next months.

It rends us such satisfaction to see the ideas behind our project taking shape, in form of content structure, survey draft or testing version.

Erasmus has been a turning point in the lives of millions of young European during the last 30 years, and has helped to improve our lives.

At the moment mobility project are temporarily stopped, but soon we will see again students moving around Europe.

Tomorrow more than yesterday Soft skills will be key for their personal and professional development.

Working on the 5 identified soft skills, as trainers and professionals in the field of education, we aim to potentiate skills activation and to guide young people through a positive and serene reflection about their behaviours and awareness during short terms mobilities.

Soon we will start testing our outputs. Stay tuned!

Change of Plans

Learning mobility is widely considered a key contributor to the enhancement of employability of young people through the acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes that are not purely occupational but that, as stated by the EC, is “fundamental to success in life”. 

With these words we opened our SkillsACt4Vet project.

It is an important statement, for us as professional and citizens.

The Coronavirus outbreak imposed an unexpected and total rethinking of our personal and professional lives.

Only a few weeks before the lockdown in Italy, the first in Europe, we were travelling across countries, planning more travels and meetings, and could not imagine which scenarios were waiting for us.

An exceptional response was required to an exceptional situation: our routine has been completely transformed, and so did our project activities.

SkillsAct4VET development did not stop, but our working plan suffered an inevitable delay.

All the partners had to adapt to new working conditions, online meetings could compensate the presential meeting foreseen in Bologna at the end of March, and the general coordination has been possible thanks to the contribution of all the project managers.

Still, a temporary stop in our activities and the restrictions to people mobility without deadline requested us to rethink the delivery of project actions.

We are designing a general working plan reformulation, considering the needs of all the partners involved.

The uncertainty about new outbreaks of the virus risk to affect again the working flow; still, we are ready to retake our job with unchanged enthusiasm.

This challenging situation proved us the importance of committed partners, as key to reach successful results.

We are deeply thankful to our colleagues in this project.

Stay tuned for new project development.

 

Giulia Scavone, SkillsAct4VET Coordinator