GRUNDTVIG Learning Partnerships Project
Gathering regional institutions and VET and CVET organisations, our partnerships aims at giving an overview of our contexts first by identifying existing practices throughout the overall quality management processes from impulse up to implementation by VET providers, then in an ongoing quality process to point out good practices and contemplate further improvement possibilities.
In that respect, three transnational preparation seminars with local and regional stakeholders, experts and beneficiaries will enable us to prepare a public conference in France whose outcome will be widely disseminated. The conference under the joint presidency of madame le Recteur de l'académie de Caen, the president of Lower Normandy and Qualipaths partners should gather training stakeholders from various backgrounds as well as decision makers and training networks. The preparation of the conference through preparatory seminars held in three countries will also be an opportunity to commit both European partners and local stakeholders and promote EQAVET and the ways VET organisation are involved in quality assurance as well as how regional or local policies give the impulse to a quality assurance approach. Our work in common also comes within the scope of further development of mobilities of beneficiaries under the ECVET system.
EQAVET, EQF and ECVET promote an increase in transparency and trust between VET providers from different member states. It is the same with accreditation procedures for vocational training centres. Following the trend started through EQAVET, quality accreditation awarded through external audit process may become compulsory. This is the case In France under a recent law ( November 2009).
In parallel, labels and norms, overall like ISO or specific to training networks, exist. These norms tend first to focus on outputs from processes We can mention the reference framework of good practices AFNOR BPX 50-762 which comes after GRETA PLUS in France or ISO 29990. We can also add sustainable development frameworks such as Lower Normandy's eco citizenships approach or ISO 21 000.
The recent Bruges conference "Quality and transparency in the European school, VET and higher education systems", under Belgium's presidency on December 5th-6th highlighted the convergence between quality assurance and accreditation schemes. Today there is great evidence of a strong structuring tendency about quality, we must be aware that we are only in the first steps of the ongoing quality cycle and that the proliferation of norms proposed to VET providers show discrepancies in interpretation which have to be clarified. Therefore we have to compare existing practices and observe local trends which start in various European countries as regards quality management and accreditation with various historical backgrounds. From local governing processes to service provided to ultimate beneficiaries, it is necessary to have both an analysis of regional policies as well as VET organisations' in order to highlight good practices and bring out improvement priorities.
We have to answer the following:
what kind of impulse exists?
What are the accreditations?
How do impulse and accreditations match?
What are the differences and common points between the various quality management processes?
What are the hindrances as well as facilitating devices?
What are the internal and external processes?
What are the good practices?
What are the perspectives?
Groupement d'intérêt public formation continue et insertion professionnelle de Basse Normandie, France -coordinator
Region Basse Normandie, France – partner
Anniesland College of Further Education, United Kingdom – partner
Wyzsza Szkola Informatyki, Poland – partner
Besni District National Education Directorate, Turkey – partner
Arcadia Consulting S.r.l., Italy – partner
Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin, Germany – partner
DIA-SPORT Association, Bulgaria - partner
Because a quality assurance process improves the service provided to ultimate beneficiaries through adapted training schemes guarantying traceability, because it is a great opportunity to commit staff and stakeholders at all levels of responsibility and therefore help them have better understanding of their tasks and better participation to team work in a collective competence production process, it is expected that in the short run, Qualipaths will improve the quality of the service provided to beneficiaries including the disadvantaged as well as the up-killing of partners' staff.
Through the dissemination of good practices, our project should be able to disseminate widely our outcome through the various networks we belong to.
In preparing this application, training organisations discussed about the impact the project will have upon them.
Anniesland College conclusion summarizes the opinion of the training networks:
The impact will be the reinforcement of Quality procedures in line with other VET organisations across the EU, the project will allow college staff and management to compare our quality processes and to influence departments within the college. Anniesland is always looking at new quality practices and methodologies that will allow the college to remain at the forefront of delivery and in particular to meet the constant and changing demands upon the organisation from our learners, staff and the various stakeholders that shape our future. Involvement of this project has been discussed at Senior Management level, Board Level and with the Scottish HMIe that monitors the quality within the college, all are in agreement that a project of this nature can only have a positive impact across quality within the college. Like Anniesland College, all training networks point out the importance of the commitment of their management and the influence of quality assurance in the delivery of training. Another impact is that the project would also provide the opportunity for many of staff to have the experience of working with European partners and to experience the European approach to quality within the VET education system and to compare standards and support the implementation of further quality assurance in VET within local partnerships. The impact on stakeholders from the impulse level should regard their appraisal of EQAVET as well as their better understanding of the ways training organisations react to quality assurance policies.
Our goal is to exchange on local existing practices as well as the ways partners who now wish to commit themselves to quality assurance identify the requirements of their context. Our Partnership will create a good practice guidebook regarding quality processes in VET and CVET. It will highlight both the ways how local institutions involved in our project integrate EQAVET quality policy and how providers choose a specific norm to address requirements made by fund providers according to contents of norms and audit processes.Our partnership is wide enough to have organisations in charge ot the impulse and organisations which implement quality assurance. This guidebook will collate the exchanges made during the final conference where good practices will be presented. This conference will be prepared through 3 preparatory seminars in different countries which will give us the opportunity to get into a comparison process.This comparative approach will be completed by a study of tools available as well as local and regional policies. Thus the impulse and the ways VET and CVET organisations integrate quality assurance should facilitate further use of the ECVET system.
A few learners will be directly involved in the seminars which will deal with context analysis as regards quality assurance in the training processes. All learners will benefit from the projects in the short and middle term. It is expected that the local training offer should be improved throughout the project as in the short run, Qualipaths which should lead to the ups-killing of partners' staff, will contribute to the improvement of the quality of the service provided to ultimate beneficiaries. The preparation of the final conference is undertaken through three preparatory seminars gathering all of our partnering countries. The preparation of each seminar will require the commitment of relevant staff and decision makers.
Partners giving the impulse like the region Basse Normandie will explain their specific policy as regards ecocitizenships and the quality charters signed with economical sectors representatives on the other hand they will be interested in the ways Besni directorate analyses its context to be prepared to launch a possible quality impulse. The GIP FCIP , Anniesland college, WSNIF are currently developing a quality assurance policy and DIA Sport is looking for good practices to be transferred. Arcadia will commit its own consultants whose expertise has been gained through the support of VET organisations.The project therefore covers the whole process from the impulse to the implementation: it is therefore expected that each participant 's stakeholders will be kept informed of the gradual outcome of the projects and be involved in the study of possible transfer of good practices. Stakeholders will have to identify their own good practices which should be of interest to partners. The ongoing quality process, like e.g. the implementation of the new AFNOR norm by the French, will permanently be completed and monitored by participants in their own context throughout the project. Anniesland College will integrate the workings of this project into ongoing activities by hosting internal workshops. It will be interesting to see how the exchange on practices is liable to inspire and influence each process. It is very likely that possible transfer evidence willmainly occur beyond the final conference. Nevertheless the existence of Qualipaths should be an incentive for the constant reflections of the teams over the ways they undertake quality assurance and are liable to present them to partners from different environments.
ResultsAll participating organizations belong to wider networks, for example: the Scottish or Polish associations of colleges, the inter-regional associations of the GRETA networks. Dia-sport is a member of 5 educational netwoks. Therefore, Qualipaths will be able to disseminate our outcome easily. Every stakeholder from partner organisations will be informed from the outset. The following model has proved effective with other projects and we plan to use this particular approach. Most partners have experience in disseminating results and products in their own country and at European level by these tools :
- Financial aspect – the function of the Public Councils – implemented on the voluntary principle of the participants
- Institutional level - establishment of the project structures (Public Councils)
- Policy level – improvement of the legal framework
2011 - 2013