On Thursday 1 June, the VOCO Spring Seminar on International Cooperation and Projects took place, summarising the highlights of the academic year. There was a significant increase in the number of students and teachers’ mobilities  and all previous records were broken. 

A total of 213 VOCO students went on mobility during the 2022/2023 academic year. The vast majority of these were on internships abroad, but 7 students also attended international skills competitions, 23 students attended Erasmus+ project meetings and 7 students attended a TUVA project meeting. Denmark was the country with the highest number of internships, but Spain and Turkey were also in the top three. 

A total 111 educators also went on mobility, also a record number. The objectives and destinations of the mobilities were diverse, and only a part of them were presented at the seminar. Among VOCO’s partners came the Nettur Technical Training Foundation in India, so teachers Vilve Pohla and Tanel Plovits were able to make initial contacts in Bangalore, India. Soon we expect to be able to offer exchange programmes in cooperation with NTTF. 

Gerli Sepping, Monika Lattik, Elo Õun and Katrin Krünvald visited Barcelona to learn wig making at the Salvador Seguí Institute.  Teachers Tiiu Laid, Kalle Viira and Karin Ruus visited Hannover and the Ligna 2023 trade fair for the forest and wood industry to get an overview of the latest technologies and trends. Teacher Timo Puistaja proved on his mobility to the island of Corfu that, despite cultural differences, IT education is universal. So that, as a guest teacher  on computer networks, he managed to teach with an empty bottle and a piece of paper. Teacher Helin Liiv had a field trip to Germany as part of the “Slowing down fast fashion” project, which gave her plenty of ideas for future collaboration. Plans are already in place to organise a school-wide “Don’t throw away” week, or in other words, what to do with the clothes we don’t wear.

In addition to student and staff mobility trips, VOCO was a destination for international visitors. We hosted a total of 97 foreign students and 93 educators and introduced them to the Estonian vocational education system, the digitalisation of education, support services and mentoring, as well as our college. VOCO supports the sharing of Estonian education success stories and we are a partner of the Education Estonia portal.

The academic year is also marked by the large number of foreign projects we are involved in. A new and interesting challenge is the launch of the Auto-COVE project to grow into a centre of excellence for vocational training in electric and hybrid cars in Estonia.  “In total, the projects have exceeded €3 million, but more important than the money is the opportunity to develop the competencies of teachers and students and to contribute to the school’s development plans through international cooperation,” said Andrei Atškasov, Head of the Project Department.