Teachers and trainers need comprehensive support to raise the quality of work-based learning and apprenticeships, stated EU Directors General for Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Tallinn.
According to the Head of Vocational Education Department of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research Helen Põllo, the issue of quality work-based learning and apprenticeships has become increasingly important within the EU vocational education field. "It is important not only for having closer links between education and working life, but also for upskilling grown-ups who are already active in the labour market," said Helen Põllo. She also noted that the key issue is the cooperation between VET schools and employers to guarantee that the people would have the time and motivation to improve their skills.
The Member States’ delegates discussed how to provide better support to teachers and trainers and foster collaboration to raise the quality of VET. Successful examples from different Member States were shared, e.g. placements of teachers in advanced industries for one day per week, fostering cooperation at local level between key stakeholders to develop local curriculums, joint training for VET teachers and workplace trainers. I was agreed that all stakeholders need incentives, which may include career development and recognition for teachers and trainers as well as access to grants and interchange to different benefits for companies.
The possible future scenarios of vocational education and training were also discussed. The delegates stated that the borderlines between education sectors will fade: there will be more vocational elements in general education and higher education and more academic elements in vocational education. Another tendency is the individualised approaches in the design of the education and training offer. It was agreed that teachers and trainers will continue to play a key role in ensuring the quality of learning outcomes and new teaching methods should be promoted.
After the meeting, the delegates visited Tallinn Polytechnic School, Tallinn Construction School and Tallinn School of Service to learn about Estonian vocational education institutions. As part of the visits, they also participated in decoupage, confectionery and printing workshops.
The Meeting of Directors General for Vocational Education and Training took place in Tallinn as part of the official programme of Estonia’s presidency in the EU Council. The discussions served as an input to the meeting of EU Ministers for Education in Brussels on 20 November.
The Estonian presidency’s priorities for education include the modernisation of teaching and learning on all levels of education, and the links between education and working life.