The Erasmus+ strategic cooperation project “Personalised competence-based learning paths for vocational education and training in Europe” (PELE) has come to an end and as a result of the project a website for internships abroad has been launched: https://pele-project.eu.
The broader aim of the project was to support the development of core competences in vocational education and training through the development of international learning and internships, and thereby to support the learner’s individual learning pathway. This topic is highly relevant across Europe as the learning pathway is not linear any more. How can we take into account the skills and knowledge acquired by a learner or teacher through an extracurricular activity, be it a project, a voluntary activity or a short-term work placement abroad? How can these competences be assessed and taken into account, and how can the learner be supported so that he or she has more courage and initiative to design their own individual learning path? Together with partners from Finland, Sweden, Germany, Spain and, of course, Estonia, solutions to these questions were offered.
According to Signe Vedler, head of the ICT department and project coordinator, the school’s development plan has a strong focus on the learner’s individuality, and the challenge now is to create opportunities for the learner to design their own personal learning path and to assess and take into account different learning and practical experiences.
The main outcome of the project is a website, which has been developed in partnership. “The website we have created should, above all, encourage both learners and staff to take part in short-term internships abroad. The site contains a wide range of material for those who want to go abroad – information about the partner country and city, the school, leisure activities and the labour market situation in the destination. In fact, there’s lots of information and links. In addition, we have created and put on the website the guidelines for both students and staff to help them remember practical issues before, during and after their placement abroad,” said Vedler, introducing the online environment created by the project.
For the students of the Tartu Vocational Education and Training Centre, internships are primarily associated with the opportunities offered by the Erasmus+ programme. “In the context of a learner’s personal learning pathway, an internship abroad can also be a different work or learning experience, such as acquiring a professional language skills or cultural competences abroad, volunteering or work experience. Anyone can put together their own learning pathway, they can make choices within the framework of optional and elective subjects, or they can prove the achievement of a learning outcome of a module by doing a placement abroad. Within the framework of VÕTA, it is possible to prove your skills and get a credit. So we already have a model of individual learning in the school and we didn’t have to invent the wheel but we could share our experience with our partners,” explains Vedler.
Although the initial plan was to create a portal where all parties would exchange information, from offers of apprenticeships from companies to documentation of placements abroad in schools, it soon became clear that different legislation and national practices did not support the idea of a single portal. “We simply focused on consolidating information and guidance materials. The completed website was tested by students from Sweden and Spain, who gave feedback on whether the information was easy to find and understandable, and whether it was delivered in a suitable way for learners. The feedback showed that young people do not expect a long story but pictures and videos. Consequently, the website conveys the information using keywords, but also provides links for more in-depth information and a helpful video. Our teachers Diana Eller and Anne Mootse, have produced a comprehensive guide to help students and supervisors when going on a placement abroad,” added Vedler.
The PELE project involved a total of six educational organisations from Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Germany and Spain and was led by Lapland Education Centre REDU. The project was co-funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme.
Head of ITC Department, project coordinator