LIFELONG LEARNING PROGRAMME. National team of ECVET Experts UK. Final Report

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1 Executive Agency, Education, Audiovisual and Culture LIFELONG LEARNING PROGRAMME NATIONAL TEAMS OF ECVET EXPERTS 2011/2013 National team of ECVET Experts UK Final Report

2 GENERAL INFORMATION Project title: National Teams of ECVET Experts Agreement number: / Project website: Reporting period: From 01/01/2012 To 31/03/2014 Date of submission: 31/05/2014 Beneficiary organisation: Project coordinator: Project coordinator address: Ecorys UK Limited Michael Trueman This project has been funded with support from the European Union under the Invitation to submit grant applications for National Teams of ECVET Experts addressed to the Lifelong Learning Programme National Agencies (period ). This report reflects the views only of the author and the Executive Agency/European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. The final report covers activities implemented from 1 January 2012 to 31 March 2014 and must be submitted by 31 May Please send: el.copy of final report, financial report and Excel spreadsheet for Quantitative data to the following address: and by post one original paper copy of the report and 2 USB sticks/cd roms with electronic copies of reports and deliverables to the following postal address: Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency Unit A5 - Erasmus+: Vocational Training, Adult Education, Platforms Vytaute Ezerskiene Office: BOU2 02/142 Av. du Bourget 1 BE Brussels BELGIUM Please note that we ask you to send the results/deliverables of the project only in electronic form: - printed copy of publications, CD Rom, DVD with audio, video materials electronic version/photo or web link are sufficient) -official invitations and agenda of conferences, meetings, training or other events organised/participated by the centre, copy of presentation - electronic version/photo is sufficient -references to the internet sites where appropriate 2012 Copyright Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency. The document may be freely copied and distributed provided that no modifications are made, that the source is acknowledged and that this copyright notice is included. 2

3 - PUBLIC PART - SUMMARY (may be published for information and dissemination purposes) Project objectives, activities and outcomes (please present the objectives of the project and explain whether they have been reached; please describe the project activities and outcomes including dissemination) Ecorys UK, as the UK National Agency for the Leonardo, Grundtvig and Transversal actions of the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) and latterly as the UK National Agency for the Erasmus+ programme 1 has managed the National team of ECVET Experts project since the start of This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. The project was carried out in close collaboration with the four UK ECVET National Contact Points (NCPs) who also part funded the project with who are; in Scotland, the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership (SCQFP) in Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment, Northern Ireland (CCEA), in Wales Colegau Cymru and in England ECCTIS Ltd. This close collaboration along with the significant input from an appointed pool of ECVET experts has successfully linked policy and practice across the UK as well as establish the LLP and from 2014, Erasmus+ as a key tool for the practical implementation of ECVET. The main aims of the project were; Promotion: to raise awareness of the opportunities provided by ECVET and increase interest and active involvement by all the different stakeholders. Trials and testing: to use the LLP, with Leonardo da Vinci in particular, and other relevant examples to test and demonstrate how ECVET can work in practice. Partnerships and networks: to provide a coordinated point of contact at UK level with easy access to guidance and information and expertise on ECVET issues. Also to link to existing networks and projects at regional, national and European levels to share effective practice and approaches in ECVET and avoid potential duplication of activity. Information and guidance: to provide clear, practical guidance and information as well as a pool of experts on ECVET issues. The focus will be on joining up with, and adding value to, existing resources and focusing on the benefits and practical implementation of ECVET. To achieve its stated aims, the project, which ran for a total of 27 months, produced a number of outputs tailored to meet the unique challenges of promoting ECVET in the UK. These results included guidance and dissemination materials which took into account a range of different target groups and provided practical advice on how to apply ECVET principles to current practices. Project activities helped enhance the interest and 1 The Erasmus+ UK National Agency is a partnership between British Council and Ecorys UK 3

4 understanding of ECVET in the UK and aid its implementation through the following outputs: The establishment of an awareness raising network of UK ECVET Experts, representing England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales Over 600 delegates have attended ECVET workshops or seminars held during the project in each country of the UK to hear more about ECVET and how they can use it in their institution or organisation 120 organisations across the UK have had contact with an ECVET Expert to help them understand how they can apply ECVET principles Promotional ECVET materials and guidance documents produced aimed at a range of stakeholders on the practical use of ECVET in the UK A active database of key stakeholders with an interest and/or involvement in ECVET A dedicated UK ECVET Experts website, UK case studies showcasing how ECVET can work in practice A mapping report with recommendations on the sectors/themes where ECVET can be most easily embedded The ECVET Experts project has also built on the existing UK National Agency thematic work in the area of Transparency of Qualifications and Skills to establish a database to include all key stakeholders in order to help mainstream the results and lessons learnt. This database continues to grow and includes: UK stakeholders: NCPs, the UK European Coordination Group for VET (composed of National Authority representatives and other government departments, qualification and awarding bodies). Practitioners: including experienced project promoters from all relevant parts of the LLP; employers and training providers working with students or work placements not currently involved in the Leonardo programme; learners benefitting from ECVET; etc. Europe: The Executive Agency, other LLP National Agencies, Cedefop, European Training Foundation and existing ECVET initiatives such as the ECVET Pilot Projects (supported by GHK Consulting), the ECVET Support Team (led by the French Chamber of Commerce), and the NetECVET European thematic group led by the DE NA. The UK NA was an active partner in this initiative and hosted an international workshop in the UK. A range of dissemination activities including a regular e-newsletter and attendance at national seminars has meant the project has increased the awareness of ECVET in the UK. As a result of the project, UK organisations have access to a suite of information and guidance materials. These include: An easy-to-read guidance note The Credit they Deserve: over 1200 hard copies have been distributed and over 600 copies have been sent electronically to stakeholders A user-friendly website ( the website is a repository of useful documents and includes information on all of our Experts. It has received 10,304 page views since it was established in July It gives clear links to the NCPs and other key organisations involved in ECVET and similar European initiatives A short flyer: over 2,500 have been distributed to stakeholders at our events, LLP events and events organised by others An ECVET Guidance note Guidance for awarding organisations and their recognised centres: over 250 hard copies sent to NCPs and stakeholders with electronic copies available online 4

5 8 e-newsletters have been sent to our stakeholder list of over 600 contacts Showcased 12 projects via our website and events Presented the project at the 2012 and 2013 Call Leonardo Mobility and Transfer of Innovation Start Up Seminars and four Thematic Networking events to Group 1, focusing on transparency of qualifications (presenting to over 300 delegates). The project has succeeded in giving organisations and stakeholders across the UK better access to guidance and information through targeted promotional activities and peer to peer dissemination using ECVET Experts. The active involvement of the project stakeholders and target groups has contributed significantly to raising awareness of ECVET in the UK and was integral to creating a significant impact and widening dissemination channels for the project's results. Interest and the use of ECVET has increased and reflected in the number of successful project applications in the LLP, particularly through the Leonardo Da Vinci Mobility action. Contribution to EU Policies (describe the contribution of the project in implementing promoting further development, application and the use of ECVET in your country) and on target groups. The ECVET Experts project has contributed to the development of ECVET in UK in the following ways: Engaging with existing programmes, Leonardo and Grundtvig in particular to explain the purpose of ECVET and how programmes can benefit from the project Providing information for future activity to ensure that ECVET is built in as a cornerstone of future submissions Engaging with National Agencies to promote ECVET and to encourage participation and take up Through inclusive activities to raise the profile and number of opportunities being taken up Developing links with sector specific training organisations to promote mobility and the opportunities it offers Highlighting the benefits learners and teachers obtain through mobility in both career development and employment opportunities Helping UK organisations establish links and tap into learning and training expertise in the EU and so aid the development of high level learning to increase skills and knowledge of UK learners and teachers. The following stakeholders were identified in the ECVET Experts project; In and across the UK: Relevant Government departments (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) Qualification and Awarding Bodies Sector Skills Councils, employer organisations and social partners Colleges and VET providers UK Commission for Employment and Skills LLP projects focused on ECVET activities (decentralised and centralised) 5

6 All new Leonardo Mobility projects (those funded in 2012 and 2013) Selected learners benefitting from ECVET Employers and the associations that represent them Social partners European level: DG EAC, Executive Agency and LLP NAs European Thematic Group NetECVET CEDEFOP and the European Training Foundation The European ECVET Network has been widespread due to a series of mainly national and some international activities. Ecorys, as the National Agency, the NCPs and all ECVET Experts have worked on a series of activities which were agreed at the beginning of each project year and were designed to support the project meet its objectives as well as exploit the project s impact with the project s stakeholders. Below is a brief summary of each activity; its aims and impact to date. Website The ECVET Experts website was designed as a promotional and information tool for VET practitioners (including those responsible for mobility in VET and IAG providers), awarding bodies, sector skills councils, learners, employers and employees. The website was kept as simple and as clear as possible to ensure clarity was maintained throughout the project Flyer The website was launched at the end of July 2012 and has received over 10,000 page views and over 3100 unique visitors; Top traffic sources: 25.63% direct via URL, 25.31% via Google search, 12.77% via eflash, 10.40% via ofqual.gov.uk; The most popular pages for visitors are getting started, experts and case studies; A Google ad ran from 6th November 2012 to 1 st March 2013 to advertise the project. This appears when ecvet, european credit transfer system and European mobility were searched for in the UK. This attracted over 300 unique visitors; A password protected area for Experts has been created as a document repository. This includes all Expert event and ad hoc request reports, workshop materials and useful reports; Case studies have been added to the website and some pages have been amended to make it more user friendly. The aim was to create an A5 flyer giving introductory level promotional information on ECVET which targeted providers already engaged in mobility projects. A new version of the flyer was introduced in 2013 to further simplify the explanation of ECVET and showcase an organisation that has already benefitted from a visit from an ECVET Expert. 6

7 Since the first printed version has been available (from 10 th September 2012) over 1,500 leaflets have been distributed to all Experts, LLP Information Days, Advisory Group meetings and programme level events, the UK European Coordination Group for VET initiatives, Bologna Experts and at meetings with policy makers and practitioners (including the Northern Ireland Awarding Body Forum and the Department for Employment and Learning); All Experts have been provided with a pack of materials which includes ECVET Experts flyers and information on the Leonardo programme; The flyer was updated in March 2013 to make ECVET easier to understand and it now includes an example of how an ECVET Expert has helped a training provider; Since March 2013, over 1,000 copies have been distributed to all Experts, Leonardo Mobility Start Up Seminar, country specific ECVET events, LLP Thematic Networking event and valorisation conference and other events. Guidance Materials The aim of the project s guidance materials was to provide simplified guidance on the use of ECVET for transnational mobility by UK practitioners. The project reviewed a number of key documents that have already been produced across Europe; Let's Go Europe (produced in Austria), Cedefop s Necessary conditions for implementing ECVET" and Using ECVET in Geographical Mobility (as produced by the European Commission) and a report on ECVET produced in Finland. Following a critical review of these documents a 15 page guidance was produced which and tailored to UK audiences, including UK examples. Final version was launched 31 st October 2012 and over 900 hard copies have been distributed and over 600 copies have been sent to stakeholders electronically; The up-dated version was finalised in early April This took on-board feedback from different stakeholders and simplified some aspects. It also includes a range of case studies to inspire those starting out on their ECVET journey; Since April 2013, 950 hard copies have been distributed to Experts, practitioners at ad hoc requests, all new 2013 Call Leonardo Mobility promoters and at country specific ECVET events; It is available to download online from our website; The Executive Agency, ECVET Team and other National Agencies have provided positive feedback; and It is available as part of the NetECVET toolbox ( The Polish, Slovenian, Swiss and Croatian National Agencies have provided a link to it on their Expert websites and they are using it as a reference document for their Experts. Mapping Report and Capacity Building Workshops The project produced a mapping report to establish the use of ECVET principles in live 2011 and 2012 Leonardo Mobility projects. A survey was sent these projects and from the results, a list of current and potential users was created and an invitation list was created for the capacity building workshop(s). The workshop provided practical help and support to encourage and support the inclusion of ECVET principles within current Leonardo Mobility projects and/or to prepare this aspect for future Mobility projects. A community of Interest will be formed and supported throughout the ECVET Experts project. Survey closed mid-august 2012 and 118 responses received from 139 organisation, 7

8 which received the survey: Due to amount of responses received first time and second time Leonardo Mobility practitioners were invited to attend capacity-building workshops led by the Experts; Based on the results of the surveys and workshop, further workshops were held in Birmingham and London (with additional joint activities in other countries); Workshops were held in Birmingham on 7 th December 2012 (12 delegates) and in London on 17 th January 2013 (8 delegates). Positive feedback received. Workshop materials were made into a Resource Pack, available online, for other organisations to use; Further telephone surveys were undertaken in March and May 2013 with 26 organisations who attended capacity building workshops; The Executive Summary of the telephone surveys is now available. Over 90% of delegates said that the workshops were really useful and over half of respondents have requested further information to help them implement the principles in their work. ECVET Workshop Events The aim of this activity was in two parts: (1) To identify UK events running from June December 2013 that could feature ECVET. This would allow us to promote to a wider audience with reduced costs and resources; and (2) To develop a plan for four events to run between September 2012 and November 2013 which would showcase ECVET and allow for some detailed discussion on opportunities and challenges. One would be held in each of the four countries of the UK. Inventory completed by NCPs with possible events and resources required; Agendas finalised for four events; First event was held in Scotland on 5 th December 2012 in-conjunction with Scotland s Colleges to 21 delegates, including a representative from the SQA; Northern Ireland event took place at Belfast Metropolitan College on 1 st March 2013 (over 20 delegates attended); The Welsh event took place at Coleg Morgannwg on 26 th April. Nearly 30 delegates attended and Janet Barlow (Agored Cymru) attended to present the awarding organisation perspective; and The England event will took place on 18 th July 2013 in Birmingham. 13 delegates attended. They were selected as they were either Leonardo Mobility Certificate Holders (recognised by the European Commission for best practice) or had identified that they would be working with ECVET in their 2013 Call Leonardo Mobility project. Event in Cooperation with the Federation of Awarding Bodies The aim of this activity was to run a seminar on ECVET at an event organised by the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) and to run follow-up presentation at Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland FAB forums from January It was also agreed in January 2013 that this activity would be extended to produce a short guidance note for regulators, Awarding Bodies and recognised centres. Questionnaire was sent to delegates ahead of January 2013 event; revealed a low level of awareness of European initiatives including ECVET (around a third had any 8

9 knowledge of ECVET); Forty delegates attended the event and it was found that no one at the event had been proactively involved in ECVET; A report was produced for the FAB newsletter to promote additional sessions at country forums and to promote the ECVET Experts request service; A final draft of the guidance note is being reviewed by regulators in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; Comments from awarding organisations experienced recognised centres that are involved in Leonardo Mobility have been incorporated; and Final version available was available in February 2014 and 250 hard copies sent to awarding organisations. Additional Activities Ad-hoc Request for Services In addition to the above activities Experts were on-hand to deliver ad hoc requests for support from interested stakeholders. These have come via , the website or by telephone. Template Request Form, Brief for Experts, Report Form and Feedback Forms were created to capture these requests. 120 requests have been received to date, including 96 requests delivered to date. These are from a range of organisations from schools and colleges to VET training providers, Sector Skills Councils, regulators and universities. These include: A College, based in Scotland, requested a visit from an Expert in October following an initial visit in January Following their original visit they had produced a Memoranda of Understanding and Learning Agreement for game keeping students who were undertaking their work placements in Sweden. The Expert provided them with feedback on the documents and discussed validation and recognition. As a result of the work undertaken and feedback from the Expert, the college is now rolling this approach out to another subject area (bricklaying) and another country (Germany). This is an excellent example of how an organisation can gradually implement ECVET principles starting from very limited knowledge. Following tailored s to all 2013 Call Leonardo Mobility applicants, an organisation based in Northern Ireland requested a meeting with an Expert to discuss ECVET implementation in their Leonardo Mobility PLM project. The project wished to send 60 local construction workers to undertake a two week work placement in Germany. The Expert outlined a number of ways that they could recognise the placement. These included RPL process, developing a bespoke unit and working with a local FE college. As a result of the meeting, the organisation will attend the next NI Awarding Body Forum to develop this further. An experienced Leonardo Mobility promoter and FE college based in the south west of England, requested an initial telephone call with an Expert to find out more about ECVET. The Expert explained what ECVET is in simple terms and discussed the organisations needs. The organisation found the call useful and an Expert will had a face-to-face meeting with them in November 2013 to discuss ECVET implementation in their Leonardo Mobility IVT projects. A community based organisation in Wales had an initial telephone discussion with an Expert. The Expert outlined what ECVET is and discussed existing tools and 9

10 templates that the organisation can use. They discussed learning outcomes and validation and recognition. The Expert referred the organisation to Agored Cymru, specifically details of qualifications that focus on learning acquired while on work placement. It is likely that the organisation will request more support once they have digested the information. Additional Activities Attending Events Since March 2012, ECVET Experts have attended a number of European and UK events. Firstly, in October 2012 six Experts attended the National implementation of ECVET: projects, instruments, challenges and solutions two-day conference in Brussels. This was organised by the Executive Agency, NetECVET project and Pilot Projects. Experts were able to meet other Experts, find out more about the NetECVET toolkit and attend specific workshops. On a national level, an Expert attended the Leonardo Transfer of Innovation Start Up Seminar in 2012 and As a result of their attendance, several organisations requested a face-to-face meeting with an ECVET Expert. Six Experts also attended the Bologna and ECVET Experts Peer Learning Activity event, held in Birmingham in October Experts were able to meet Bologna Experts, discuss key messages for learners and commonalities and differences between ECVET and ECTS. 10

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