A bright start to 2014…

Paul Baron

2013 was another successful year for Paul Baron and Bhagavat Educational Trust

Manager of Bhagavat Educational Trust  and experienced LLP promotor Paul Baron is no stranger to the spotlight. He recently received a  2013 Charity Times Award for outstanding individual achievement and was awarded an MBE in the 2012 New Years Honours List for services to vulnerable children.

It is therefore with no surprise that we learned of his invitation to present and share his knowledge of good practice at the ‘Role of VET in Making Education More Inclusive conference’ held in Vilnius, by the EU Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. We found out more about what happened at the event in the Lithuanian capital and look at key themes in Vocational Education and Training on the horizon for 2014.

Making education more inclusive

The event discussed European and national training VET strategies exploring ways to make education more inclusive and contributing towards meeting the EU Education and Training 2020 strategy targets.  Bhagavat Educational Trust, which was set up in 1997 to further education and relieve poverty in developing countries, was chosen as an example of best practice with an input on two out of three workshops that were hosted as part of the conference. The first workshop Enhancing VET provision to meet the needs of people with fewer opportunities and the third looking at widening access to continuing VET.

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5 Top Tips to Recognise Your Learners Achievements

As a National Agency we’ve learnt a lot running the ECVET Experts project. Since January 2012, over 70 organisations have met with Experts across the UK for free to learn more about the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET). They have been able to discuss how ECVET principles can be implemented to recognise learners’ achievements.

If you’re starting out on your Leonardo Mobility journey, thinking about how you can keep up-to-date with current practices, or wanting to improve your established systems our top tips on implementing ECVET could be useful to you.

Top Tip 1: Plan, plan, plan!

It’s really useful to identify learning outcomes that you expect to be achieved during placement. If your learners are working towards a qualification have a look to see if there’s any specific units learners can undertake, or work towards.

Guidance noteKeeping good communication open with your learners and partners is another top tip. You might already have a Partner Agreement in place but have you thought about stepping it up to a Memoranda of Understanding? This is an agreement between you and your partner about procedures, methods of assessments and can cover more than one mobility period. Training Agreements can also be exchanged for, or made more in line with, a Learning Agreement between the learner, partner and your organisation setting out what will happen, the expectations of the learner and what they should expect in terms of assessment and recognition and validation. Have a look at our ECVET-Mobility glossary for more on the differences between ECVET and Leonardo Mobility documents.

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Making mobility possible in Erasmus+

Erasmus+ the new education, training, youth and sport programme, aims to improve the skills and employability of Europe’s generations, through providing a range of mobility opportunities to study and train abroad. To take you through some of the key changes to mobility in the new programme, we thought we would ask an experienced promotor to share the benefits they have already seen from adopting organisation-led mobility, and some of the other new features of mobility in Erasmus+…

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Ecology opportunities in Leonardo

“We see prints but are they too big to be an Arctic fox? Could it be a wolverine…?”  Leonardo Mobility projects provide many opportunities for staff, job seekers and apprentices with opportunities to enhance their skills. We take a look at one project which offers unique European work placements in the field of ecology – so wrap up warm and join us as we travel to Norway and hear some participants experiences after taking part in a breeding programme for the elusive arctic fox…

An artic fox taking a stroll, the population is monitored closely to ensure their survival

An artic fox taking a stroll, the population is monitored closely to ensure their survival

AMBIOS, a group of professional environmental scientists and educators is currently running its sixth Leonardo Mobility project. With partners from six countries working in ecology and wildlife conservation the project provides mobilities for participants to gain practical skills and experience in up-to-date ecological practices. This leads to enhanced educational, practical and language skills as well as aiding career development. A range of mobilities are on offer from barn owl tracking in Hungary to locating bison at the Mammal Research Institute in Poland.

What did the placement involve?

This particular mobility placement, in conjunction with  the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA),  Norway’s leading institution for applied ecological research, saw a group of hardened participants travel to take part in an Arctic Fox reintroduction programme in Oppdal, central Norway, where the ‘Vulpes lagopus’ are native to the arctic parts of the northern hemisphere.

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Exploring the concept of social pedagogy

Welcome to the world of social pedagogy – where theory meets practice and holistic well being and child-centred relationships lie at the heart of every aspect of work. Organisation ThemPra’s core aim is to support the development of a UK approach to social pedagogy to ensure children and young people to be able to live a self-determined life full of happiness, opportunities and positive relationships with other members of society. ThemPra recently exhibited their Leonardo project based around the concept at our Valorisation conference. So just over a month after the event we thought we’d take a look to find out more about social pedagogy from the roots upwards.

The concept

Despite the term sounding a little complex, it really refers to a holistic approach to education. To help explain the concepts that describe how it can be applied, ThemPra has come up with the social pedagogy tree:

ThemPra's social pedagogy tree

ThemPra’s social pedagogy tree

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Mobility Start-Up seminar 2013

The 2013 mobility Start-Up Seminar took place in Birmingham with experienced promoters and a special panel discussion on successfully managing a mobility project.

The event was a chance to meet and network with other successful mobility promoters whilst meeting some of the Ecorys LLP team at the same time. The seminar also provided guidance on managing your grant and  monitoring and record keeping requirements.

Whether you were able to attend or not, you can view all the documents from the event online including the 2013 summary doucment which gives an overview of the current projects represented at the Start-up Seminar last month, designed to help you identify relevant projects for your organisation. It also provides a breakdown of the projects grouped by vocational field.

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Exploring ECVET in Leonardo Mobility – an Expert’s view

Every year we fund UK organisations to send vocational trainees to undertake work placements in another European country.  Thanks to Leonardo Mobility funding, thousands of participants have benefitted from a period abroad. This experience is often life-changing for participants as it can boost their confidence, independence and open their eyes to new opportunities. But what about participants’ professional skills, how can these be recognised?

Recognising Learning

The European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) is a set of principles that can be used in any overseas work or volunteering placement. It aims to help recognise the skills that a participant has gained so that they can count towards a qualification in their home country. You may have read our ‘Using ECVET in Leonardo Mobility‘ post that explained how you can implement ECVET principles.

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Ecorys supports Apprenticeships – part 1

Here at Ecorys, we support Apprenticeships in many different ways through our work on the Leonardo, Grundtvig and Transversal programmes.

In 2013, we have gone one step further and we have recently welcomed our first Apprentice, Tenisha Jeffers, into our Lifelong Learning Programme team! Tenisha is studying Business Administration at Birmingham Metropolitan college and has joined us for 12 months as an Assistant Administrator to the Leonardo team.

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Sharing Your Success Stories

We do really enjoy hearing from our projects, particularly when it’s good news! We have recently been sent updates by two colleges whose Leonardo achievements have been recognised with external commendations. We thought you might like to hear about them too…

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Springing into sustainable and inclusive growth

Today is officially the first day of spring, the time where the roots have bedded down and the first shoots start appearing. This might be a rather tenuous link but it started me thinking about the opportunities for growth and how the lifecycle of our projects enable new branches to sprout and develop.

Growth is a priority under the EU2020 objectives with sustainable and inclusive growth a focus. Continuing on the theme of growth, I thought I’d highlight some of our projects that look at the greener side of things. Many of our projects focus on conservation, nature and the environment, working to help communities and individuals through green-centered education. Looking first at Leonardo, the 2011 Mobility funded Parks & Gardens Apprenticeship Scheme, organised by Cardiff Council, provided apprentices with a new understanding of the techniques and processes involved in horticulture: Read the rest of this entry »


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