Work Package 2: E.R.M.E.S. Network Management and sustainability Result 9: E.R.M.E.S. Network Strategy. January 2012

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1 LLP-LdV-TOI-11-IT-592 Agreement N IT1-LEO CUP G32F Work Package 2: E.R.M.E.S. Network Management and sustainability Result 9: E.R.M.E.S. Network Strategy January 2012

2 Work Package 2: E.R.M.E.S. Network Management and sustainability Result 9: E.R.M.E.S. Network Strategy Work Package 25 Leader: Partners involved: Disclaimer This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

3 Colophon E.R.M.E.S. Enhancing Resources for Mobility Experiences and Strategies LLP-LdV-TOI-11-IT-592 Agreement N IT1-LEO CUP G32F While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this document, the publisher and the author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions or for damages resulting from the use of information contained in this document or from the use of programs and source code that may accompany it. In no event shall the publisher and the author be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damage caused or alleged to have been caused directly or indirectly by this document. Publishing organisation: Unione Regionale delle Camere di Commercio, I.A.A. del Veneto Technical editing: Unione Regionale delle Camere di Commercio, I.A.A. del Veneto with the contributions of E.R.M.E.S. partners E.R.M.E.S. project Project number: LLP-LdV-TOI-11-IT-592 Agreement N IT1-LEO G32F No part of the report may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording; and may not be quoted or cited, without prior permission in writing from the Project Co-ordinator.

4 Table of contents 1. Preliminary overview 2. E.R.M.E.S. Network Strategy Plan 3. E.R.M.E.S. Network s Vision - Improving quality criteria, a key challenge 4. E.R.M.E.S. Network s added value 5. Network Strategy Plan Structure 5.1 The Plan: 5.2 Quality System 5.3 Key result areas I. Enhanced capacity to deliver mobility services on a Networking basis II. Improved quality and effectiveness of the proposed services. III. Defined a common student friendly approach. IV. Enhanced web based accessibility tools V. Improved inter-cultural and framework approach throughout the Network 6. Goals and Strategies within the project 7. Network enlargement and sustainability strategy 8. Sustainability Strategy

5 1. Preliminary overview Mobility experience throughout Europe is a key element to enhance knowledge and skills and support students to increase their placement potentiality. Students mobility is an essential part of the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP). The programme implements various European cooperation initiatives in the field of education and training that are promoted and sustained by the EU. In particular according to the LLP, mobility experiences aim at: helping students to adapt to the requirements of the EU-wide labour market; enabling students to develop specific skills including language skills and to improve understanding of the economic and social culture of the country concerned in the context of acquiring work experience; promoting cooperation between higher education institutions and enterprises; contributing to the development of a pool of well-qualified, open-minded and internationally experienced young people as future professionals. 1 Also the Green Paper Promoting the learning mobility in EU and worldwide stresses the importance of mobility of young people as one of the fundamental ways in which individuals can strengthen their future employability as well as their personal development. 2. E.R.M.E.S. Network Strategy Plan The documents want to be a framework definition of vision, tools and commitments of the involved partners to build an high quality mobility supporting tool, and define common strategic sustainability steps for a future extension of the achieved results to different sectors of intervention and countries of implementation. 3. E.R.M.E.S. Network s Vision - Improving quality criteria, a key challenge The quality of international learning mobility experiences still represents a key challenge for many VET providers throughout Europe. It is actually evident how providing high-quality support services to specific target groups interested in mobility programmes, and planning a clear methodological approach for the definition of quality criteria can guarantee a successful and effective exchange of experience and support the recognition and certification of learning mobility programmes. VET providers are the key stakeholders and main reference points for many students that already rely on them to receive information, and to find potential interested hosting companies. Many web-platforms already exist and are daily managed by them to register students and companies and organise mobility programmes. E.R.M.E.S. Project Network aims at transferring, adapting and integrating the innovative elements proposed by EU VET Mobility Portals ensuring their consistency with the indications provided by the Common Quality Assurance Framework (CQAF) for VET and the ECVET Technical Specifications. Building a transnational Network of competent bodies and intermediary organisations represent a key challenge to provide expertise, information, help and support to any learning mobility project. 1

6 The Network is composed by: 4 VET Providers coming from different Countries: Fondazione Giacomo Rumor - Centro Produttività Veneto - LP (IT) DEKRA Academie GmbH (DE) Albeda College (NL) Visja strokovna sola za gostinstvo in turizem Maribor (VSGT Vocational College for Catering and Tourism Maribor) (SL) 3 Business Intermediary Organisations: Unione Regionale delle Camere di Commercio I.A.A. del Veneto - Eurosportello del Veneto (Regional Association of the Chambers of Commerce of the Veneto Region) (IT) Gospodarska zbornica Slovenije Center za poslovno usposabljanje (Chamber of commerce of Slovenia Institute for Business Education) (SL) Primorska Gospodarska Zbornica (Chamber of commerce of Primorska) (SL) 4 Public Authorities: EU-Geschäftsstelle für Wirtschaft und Berufsbildung der Bezirksregierung Köln (EU-Agency of the Regional Government of Cologne) (DE) Regione Veneto Training and Education Department (IT) Ufficio Scolastico Regionale Veneto (IT) KCH International (Centre of Expertise for VET in the trade) (NL) The Network proposes a personal skills oriented approach, with particular attention to quality and effectiveness of the proposed mobility experiences, thanks to the adoption of common quality indicators and cooperative approach. The multidisciplinary and multilevel structure of the Network is fundamental to the system. The Network s vision also features a cohesive European Network of accredited and high performing organisations leading and driving the built platform. The Network will implement mobility programmes and initiatives, will support and promote access to services at local level, and will work to improve the quality of the achieved results. Accessibility and responsiveness of web-based services are crucial to the success of the project and the capacity to deliver local tailored solutions in response to community need. Equally important is the Network capacity to evolve and to embrace further requests. 4. E.R.M.E.S. Network s added value The added value compared to former projects can be primarily seen in the fact that: - the partners will work with the methodology of peer learning and a joint learning process, cooperating to support each other in developmental work through training, support materials, discussions and consultations; - testing and monitoring mobility cases will ensure that the mobility portal is tuned to the needs of the users; - the mobility portal will be expanded with preparatory blended-learning modules (intercultural aspects) building on INTENT contents and materials which will be taken up and further enriched; - part of the EU-MOVE project has been the establishment of a Network, in order to reach mutual trust between the Network partners with respect to mobility and the validation and recognition of achieved learning outcomes acquired abroad, in both formal VET or in nonformal contexts. E.RM.E.S. will at least adopt part of the EUR-MOVE Network to benefit from this experience; - to adapt the products, a preliminary field analysis will be carried out aimed at verifying, with the cooperation of experts with a sound experience in planning mobility actions the end-users needs analysis, so as to possibly integrate/revise the contents already available.

7 Subsequently, the product will be experimented within all partners countries and - if necessary - further adapted for final release. The full transfer will be pursued by concrete mobility experiences in the partners countries and by the creation of a real community of practices, including all actors and institutions participating in the experimentation and transfer actions, with potential for stabilization and usability for the development of transnational cooperation in the framework of other EU-funded programmes. 5. Network Strategy Plan Structure The development of a Network Strategy Plan has been identified as an important mean to provide a common framework that promotes cohesion and a shared vision for the future for the diverse and independent organisations that comprise the Network. The development of such a Plan was supported by the Network membership. The Plan also recognises the partners as significant funders of the Network and that, as a result, there are mutual primary goals. The Plan provides a framework that moves the Network forward in a common direction without losing local diversity and recognising that our membership is essential to achieve our objectives through general practice. 5.1 The Plan: - sets out clear priorities for the Network as a whole, particularly for the project duration; - guides the strategic and operational plans of the Network by proposing a common framework vision; - serves as a marketing tool to convey what we stand for, our priorities and future direction; - serves as a platform to continue to build the Network profile and capacity; - serves as a basis on which the Network will frame discussions and negotiations with other stakeholders at European and local level. Vision Values The Plan has the following vision, mission and principles: Vision to promote a Network s quality approach. The quality approach will be based on a quality requirements charter validated by each of the Network partners that will form part of this document. Mission to build a European Network of stakeholders committed in offering high quality standards services for mobility schemes by: selecting students whose training courses are compatible with a mobility project, finding host companies for work placements and accommodation solutions, facilitating recognition of mobility within the qualification framework. Values: Networking cooperation commitment to share information, Transparency clear evaluation methods and quality assessment criteria; Students friendly approach day to day support service to welcome students and guidance during the entire mobility period; Accessibility facilitated access to information, to companies profiles, to country s information Intercultural approach enhanced intercultural awareness and inter- and intracultural behaviour. 5.2 Quality System Each Country already has its local quality process to assess the profiles of students and companies interested in joining the mobility schemes. Existing methods already implemented at local level will be therefore compared and discussed within the Network but each member will refer to its local quality evaluation methods. Within the project a Quality Charter of Competences and criteria for trainees, VET providers and companies will be defined and agreed.

8 The Network s members moreover will act under a common defined list of principles and guidelines. A common Quality Requirements Charter will be drafted and shared among all partners. The Quality Requirements Charter of the proposed Network will be assessed by analysing the following three elements: INDUCTION PHASE 1. Methodology for selection of students and companies (criteria and evaluation methods) 2. Organisation of the work placement (welcome package, support services); TRAINING PHASE 3. Definition of mobility plan and final assessment methodology (organisation of daily working activity and assessment of compliance of the student expectations towards the proposed programme); CLOSING OFF PHASE 4. Final evaluation (final evaluation methods, follow up to participants). 5.3 Key result areas The ambition of the project is to act as mobility facilitator building on the provision of web-based support so to improve the participation, well-being and motivation of learners during their mobility across EU. Through the transfer/adaptation of the innovative elements of two previous LdV projects (EU Mobility Portal in VET and INTENT), the proposal is aimed at analysing and reviewing the structure and services of the existing platform Campus Azione Impresa, previously developed by the Applicant in cooperation with Unioncamere Veneto, by making improvements and integrations in contents and functionalities meanwhile ensuring their consistency with the Common Quality Assurance Framework for VET and ECVET Technical Specifications. The project is designed to build up a strong partnership among EU national and regional public and private key actors possessing high-quality specific technical competences and experiences related to education and training policies, training needs analysis, learners and workers mobility, EU-funded project management as well as strong links with the labour market. In the short term, impact will be limited to the regions in which partner organizations operate and will encompass the organisations directly involved in pilot activities. Key result areas of the project will concern the following outcomes: I. Enhanced capacity to deliver mobility services on a Networking basis Viable, sustainable and well supported general practice and a high performing Network are vital to the effective delivery of mobility services and programmes as well as enhancing the capacity of the education system overall. It is important that the Network acts as drivers of change rather than passive recipients of change. It is moreover important that the Network shares information and strongly cooperate in order to guarantee a common basic approach. Strategic approaches: To subscribe a common Quality Requirements Charter; To define roles and responsibilities among partners;

9 To cooperate closely with other national/regional authorities for the design and implementation of mobility policies; To define a common working methodology based on the proposed web-based mobility tool. II. Improved quality and effectiveness of the proposed services. The project partners aim to become key mobility facilitators at local level and to provide improved quality standards for mobility schemes across Europe. Notwithstanding the different approaches and accreditation systems existing in each involved country, the partnership will aim at proposing the E.RM.E.S. approach as a high-quality harmonised standard system thus motivating students and companies to join the Network and being involved. For this reason the Network will define a clear list of key competences and quality indicators students and companies should have. All the information related to the quality assessment criteria will be published on the platform and will be accessible to all participants. Strategic approaches: To define a Quality Charter of Competences and Criteria for students, VET provider and companies; To publish all information related to quality assessment on the project web portal; To share and compare national quality criteria and other local practices. III. Defined a common student friendly approach. The Network is well placed to provide practical solutions to today s education mobility schemes challenges. In order to optimise the Network s impact, it is essential that the adopted communication strategies will be tailored to the identified target groups, moreover the proposed web tool shall have an easy and friendly approach to facilitate the registration of and the use for the students. Strategic approaches: To demonstrate the Network s relevance and convey consistent messages by using an easy approach for students; To adopt practical communication tools easily accessible for students and include them in the users guide; To set up tutoring activities and help desk services by guaranteeing a common standardized approach at EU level. IV. Enhanced web based accessibility tools The Project goal is to adapt and re-draft the existing web tool on a linguistic, technological and functional point of view. New functionalities will be implemented in order to reach high level quality standards. Information about the web tool and proposed services will be spread throughout the Network s stakeholders framework. In order to reach a high number of subjects the Network will define a set of information accessible to all interested subjects in order to facilitate knowledge and awareness about the proposed services and potential cooperation areas. Strategic approaches: To facilitate access to information; To define a common structure to collect companies information; To define a common structure to collect students information; To keep basic information accessible to all registered companies/students.

10 V. Improved inter-cultural and framework approach throughout the Network Within the E.R.M.E.S. project the international study exchange or work placement can be seen as a specific learning situation with specific support requirements. Such mobility activities are complex and demanding, requiring the student to develop new intercultural and intellectual competences whilst coping with a new academic and/or vocational environment. Enhancing intercultural awareness and inter- and intra-cultural behaviour will help involved students to operate successfully in an international context. Strategic approaches: The mobility portal will therefore be expanded with preparatory blended-learning modules (intercultural aspects) building on INTENT contents and materials which will be taken up and further enriched; All partners have agreed on the importance of transferring and adapting some training modules (developed as a part of the INTENT project but to be delivered in a blendedlearning format) providing a theoretical framework and some practical tools for intercultural communication.

11 6. Goals and Strategies within the project Key vision Enhanced capacity to deliver improved services Improved quality and effectiveness of the proposed services Defined common student friendly approach Enhanced web based accessibility tools Improved inter cultural and framework approach throughout the Network Goal/s To guarantee the Network s active cooperation. To guarantee a common approach. To be a leading participant in shaping education policy through the provision of practical policy solutions. To demonstrate the Network s relevance and convey consistent messages by using an easy approach for students. To adapt and re-draft the existing web tool on a linguistic, technological, functional point of view. To enhance intercultural awareness and inter and intracultural behaviour. To provide practical solutions to today s education mobility schemes challenges. To spread standards information about the services proposed. Strategies To subscribe a common Quality Requirements Charter. To define roles and responsibilities among partners. To cooperate closely with other national/regional authorities for the design and implementation of mobility policies. To define a common working methodology based on the proposed web-based mobility tool. To define a Quality Charter of Competences and Criteria for students, VET provider and companies. To publish all information related to quality assessment on the project web portal. To share and compare national quality criteria and other local practices. To adopt practical communication tools easily accessible for students. To structure the webbased mobility tool according to an easy and friendly approach to facilitate the registration of and the use for the students. To set up tutoring activities and help desk services by guaranteeing a common standardized approach at EU level. To facilitate access to information. To define a common structure to collect companies information. To define a common structure to collect students information. To keep basic information accessible to all registered companies/students. To propose intercultural -learning modules built on INTENT contents and materials. To provide theoretical framework and practical tools for intercultural communication. cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

12 7. Network enlargement and sustainability strategy All the involved Project partners intend to secure the continuity of the proposed outcomes after the end of the project. Each partner already has a wide range of contacts and a framework of stakeholders it refers to. All the identified stakeholders will be involved in the project through the foreseen dissemination activities. A successful and well defined dissemination strategy is actually important to create awareness and inform the relevant stakeholders about the project and its potential enlargement. The main challenge of the project will be connected to the importance to guarantee the continuous quality improvement of the proposed services and mobility schemes. The Network will fully embrace the ECVET system standard criteria in order to be considered for possible future organisational accreditation. Within the Project the partners will commit themselves to actively involve a pool of local stakeholders whose role can be crucial for the future recognition of the Network. In each country the project is able to involve the following specific categories: Sector organizations; Public authorities; VET providers; Private sector representative organizations (Chambers of Commerce, Business associations). The project will be focused in particular on the identified key sectorial areas: tourism, hotel and catering, textile and clothing, mechanics and mechatronics, logistic/transport. However, at the end of the Project the Network intends to open the web- based mobility tool to other possible economic sectors. Enlargement is actually a fundamental step and specific goal of the project. With specific reference to the Network enlargement at the end of the project the enlargement process will concern two levels of involvement: a) horizontal enlargement (within the own country, other organisations etc.) b) vertical enlargement (other countries not represented in the partnership) The aim of the Network enlargement strategy is to maximise the strengths and minimise the weaknesses of further partners. For this reason the enlargement strategy will be based on the already gained operative documents and harmonised standards working methods. New Network members will therefore have the possibility to be informed about the adopted approaches. They will decide whether to accept of not the proposed conditions and the existing Network members will asses the compliance of the New proposed members with the defined requirements. The Network s Quality Requirements Charter won t be changed or revised. Specific structural and organisational manuals could be revised on the basis of the modified structure of the Network. In order to support the strategic enlargement of the Network after the end of the project the following possible actions can be considered: 1) The Network will be open and accessible by new stakeholders; 2) Potential interested organisation should subscribe the Quality Requirements Charter document in order to be part of the Network; 3) The Network will be open to new economic sectors; 4) The Network will define a possible legal framework of reference. No project budget will be automatically allocated to cover future activities of the Network. Therefore the participants will

13 implement the related activities covering the relative costs with their own budget or with external sources. 5) Each Member will sign a written membership declaration; 6) Already during the project implementation potentially interested organisation will be informed and will receive material related to the project implementation and Network s activity progresses; 7) The funded Network members will have the right to refuse a membership request; 8) New Network members will have visibility in the web platform and will be trained to use the proposed web tools according to common defined procedures. 8. Sustainability Strategy The sustainability of the Network will be guaranteed by the following possible scenarios: I. SCENARIO A: At the end of the Project the Networks member shall provide information services, promotional activities and update regularly the web portal as part of the already existing services of partner organizations. In particular the following activities will be part of a day to day organisation activity: a. first assistance, information and guidance to interested students/companies; b. proactive promotion of initiatives and programmes; c. provision to the main stakeholders of an up-to-date overview of entrepreneurship policies, programmes, initiatives and of their development in the local context; d. support and continuity to Networking contacts through regular the dialogue and exchange of information; e. possible contacts with other existing local Networks for Network enlargement and web tools update. II. SCENARIO B: At the end of the project the Network partner will sustain the foreseen activities and services through support from regional financing programmes, European funded initiatives with specific reference to the new EU funded tool Erasmus for all Other non financial incentives will be proposed to policy makers at regional and national level, including fiscal incentives for investment in training courses, mobility schemes or other initiatives. III. SCENARIO C: At the end of the project the Network partner will have a market oriented approach by promoting the foreseen activities among potentially interested private sponsors, or by considering the opportunity to introduce a registration fee to companies in order to improve revenues and ensure continuation of activities and quality of the services proposed. The financial sustainability will be mostly discussed during the project implementation, especially in the occasions of the meetings where VET Providers, Business Organisations and Public Institutions, will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and make proposal about that. At the end of the project, partner organizations will continue to cultivate Networking relationships thus building a long term cooperation among them which could also become a point of reference for students and companies willing to receive information and reliable contacts on the European mobility schemes.

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