Internationalization of VET – chances and challenges for German VET providers

On 5th April, EfVET Germany organised their first Annual Conference on “Internationalization of VET – chances and challenges for German VET providers” at the federal representation of Lower Saxony in Berlin. The event was chaired by EfVET Germany President, Ute Schmitt and Gaby Tinnemeier, EfVET German national representative.

The first annual conference for the EfVET Germans members was a very successful event with an attendance of 15 members and interested VET providers and schools including policymakers and relevant German representatives of institutions in the sector of Vocational Education and Training.

The conference was opened by Tobias Dünow, Niedersächsische Landesvertretung, who pointed out the international high recognition of the dual VET system all over Europe and in speeches of German politicians. At the same time, he uttered his doubt, that in Germany itself there is much more than a superficial interest in VET.

EfVET President, Pro Joachim James Calleja, made it very clear in his video message:       

“ To face the future’s challenges in Europe VET must become more international and must become the learners’ first choice! Therefore VET must become  stronger in Europe and as well in Germany!”

The main results of studies dealing with the status of internationalization in Germany compared to Germany’s Internationalization Strategy goals were presented by Ute Schmitt, president EfVET Germany. Facing the gap between goals and reality( around 5% instead of 10% VET mobilities) it is very clear that amendments are needed all over Germany. VET schools have a lack of appropriate resources and can’t do any more.

The Conference counted with the participation of key well-known experts on the Vocational Education and Training sector of Germany such as:  

  • Hartmut Müller and Till Piontek, EU Geschäftsstelle Köln, give an impact on how their institution could support VET schools. The way VET players collaborate in successful networks is the main key for improving rates in KA2 programs as well as in Erasmus+.
  • Michael Buckup, Referatsleiter im Niedersächsischen Ministerium für Bundes- und Europaangelegenheiten und regionale Entwicklung, presents experiences and challenges in the Erasmus+ projects „Good neighbours in Europe“, including „ logistics“ and „ industry mechanics“. He points out that academic education still is highly rated in comparison to VET education. The understanding and appreciation of the latter in general are still missing. The reduction of youth unemployment and the rise of commercial wealth stays a European challenge. Different educational systems all over Europe build a high hurdle which has to be overcome. Therefore a constant interest and collaboration of European policymakers is crucial but not given. Even a tendency of decreased interest and support can be recognized.
  • Tamara Moll, Projektleitung” Berufsbildung ohne Grenzen”, explains the coordinating function of her institution. Her experience underlines the steady tendency of youth to stream into university. The attractiveness of VET definitely needs to be improved. She as well emphasises the need for a well-elaborated network including companies, schools and institutions. She informs about contests for companies, who can win attractive prizes and awards for their VET mobility engagement.
  • Silke Hillermann, BBS Syke, presents the best practice example “Eurocom Smart project” with sustainable regional networks partners designing project weeks, in which all partners come together in one country. Issues contain job shadowing and learning units as well as rating instruments. This intense collaboration leads to sustainable, well-elaborated networks which are highly functional.

EfVET Members from Germany concluded its first  conference by agreeing on the following points:

  • It is crucial that German VET schools receive more resources and appropriate framework to have a chance to continue and to improve internationalization in VET;
  • German VET networking should be strengthened and can be enhanced by EfVET Germany;
  • EfVET Germany platform should give access to all important networks, institutions and partners;
  • German policymakers have to be informed and involved in the topics of EfVET, aiming to strengthen VET Mobility and VET schools

Next steps:  EfVET Germany will hold its next Board meeting in Berlin 2020.

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