József Marton: Work-based Learning in Adult Training
Based on feedback from the Member States of the European Union, the labour market relevance of vocational education and training must be strengthened everywhere in order to ensure that economic growth is not impeded by the lack of a qualified workforce. The European Union aims to succeed in assuring that work-based learning becomes the fundamental pillar of vocational education and training systems.
The ERASMUS+ programme entitled “Work-based Learning in CVET” was implemented between 1 December 2015 and 30 November 2017 under the coordination of the Békés County Government Office. The project was implemented by an international consortium led by the Békés County Government Office, composed of two partners from Hungary, one partner from Finland, one partner from Italy and one partner from Germany.
The partnership led by the Békés County Government Office set as its objective to develop (on the basis of Finnish, German and Italian models, within the framework of an international cooperation,) the complex methodology of a training environment focused on work-based learning, and compliant with the requirements of the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework (EQAVET), which could be applied in adult vocational training also at EU level. The EQAVET working group categorised the requirements of quality organisation of work-based learning and the related recommendations into the following six thematic areas:
- Design. Practical training should be designed in cooperation with all partners so as to ensure that practices are linked to the achievement of training goals.
- Development. The whole training process should be monitored so as to allow timely intervention if needed, and to develop practical training, if needed.
- Reaction. The learner’s progress should be monitored on an on-going basis, and there should be an intervention into the process, if it is necessary, taking into consideration the specificities and the needs of the individual.
- Communication. In relation to practical training, appropriate and up-to-date awareness of the learners and of the partner organisations should be ensured.
- Preparation. All the actors responsible for practical training must be well prepared and able to complete their tasks.
- Assessment. At appropriate intervals, the practical training process, as well as the achievements of the learners should be reviewed and assessed.
During the project, the complex methodological manual including the work-based learning processes of adults used in adult vocational training, as well as the good practices, was developed by taking into account Finnish, Italian and German methodology prepared according to the common set of criteria. Before its adoption, the full methodology was also tested in practice with the participation of adult workers in employment, adult workers exposed to the risk of unemployment without training, and pupils in formal education and training. Within the framework of the project, a web-based and a mobile application was also developed in order to support the documentation of the pilot training; the application is accessible at: www.wbl.hu.
The experience gained through testing justified that all the process elements specified in the methodological manual were useful from the perspective of a higher-quality vocational education and training. Although the preparation, the continuous documentation, the monitoring of work-based learning and regular assessments require much attention and a lot of work, the invested work will bring a multiple return, i.e. vocational education and training provided according to a new approach will ensure more professionals satisfy the needs of employers.
The main achievement of the project is the evolution of a complex methodology, which may facilitate the transition between learning and work, those who complete their training may find a job easier, due to the fact that their professional knowledge and their key competences necessary for employment are more adapted to the needs of employers. The process developed within the framework of the project, tested for the first time in Hungary, in Békés County, may be applied across Europe by those VET organisations and employers who are willing to introduce work-based learning, and also by those who would like to develop their work-based learning systems. The Methodological Manual tells how to organise work-based learning, and offers related document samples and also presents the tasks of those who are involved in work-based training.
The Methodological Manual is accessible on the website of the project: www.wbl.hu, and on the websites of each partner organisation, as well as at this page: www.kormanyhivatal.hu/hu/bekes under the link ‘Projects related to ERASMUS+ vocational education and training’.
In 2017 EPALE NSS Hungary organised an international conference on priority topics of the EPALE platform. In addition to the conference we published relevant articles in a magazine especially for the Hungarian target groups. We had the articles translated into English and we are going to publish them for a wider audience on the EPALE platform.
The author, József Marton, is qualified as an electrical engineering teacher, a pedagogy officer, a manager/economic engineer and a public education manager. He is the vice-principal of the Békés Vocational School of Gál Ferenc College. He is working as an expert in the fields of adult education, public education administration, vocational education and training and quality assurance. He is a member of the Hungarian ECVET and EQAVET expert groups.