See agenda of the 4th Partnership meeting in Tallinn, Estonia on the 26-27 March 2015

Minutes and Presentations of the meeting: available in the repository of the meeting

Participants:

Host partners: 

Lean Enterprise Estonia (LEAN)
Mr Aleksandr MIINA
Mr Roman ZAHHAROV
Mrs Ene KOLBRE
Mr Mihkel SOOBA (student)

Mr Rainis KARROV (student)

 

 Visiting partner(s):

Lahti University of Applied Sciences (LUAS)
Mr Miika KUUSISTO
Mrs Ulla KOTONEN
Ms Emma LAAKSONEN (student)

Ms Anria KINNUNEN (student)

Budapest Business School (BBS)
Mrs Andrea MADARASI-SZIRMAI
Mrs Katalin BALÁZSI-FARKAS
Ms Judith TARSOLY
Mr Péter SOLTÉSZ
Ms Anna PÉTER (student)
Ms Viven LÉBÁR (student)

Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI)
Mrs Nóra SZUHAI
Mr András HINTYA
APM Cluj-Napoca (APM)
Ms Ioana COCIAN

Ms Cristina PACURAR
Ms Roxana TOADER
Ms Corina RUSU (student)

MAC-TEAM
Monique LANDY
 
Babes-Bólyai University (BBU)
Mr Vasile CARDOS
Mrs Reka Ildiko CARDOS
Mrs Melinda FULOP
Mrs Ioana Andreea CIOLOMIC (student)

Mrs Mara SINTEJUDEANU (student)

 


Summary of the event

Programme:

 

  • 1 and a half day meeting and study visit in Tallinn, Estonia
  • Welcome speech of the hosts
    • Collecting expectations
    • Evaluation of the meeting
  • Presentation of the Estonian internship validation procedures
  • Presentation of the recognition of prior learning in the context of internships
  • Presentation of verification procedures for the matching of internships (topics, content) with existing curricula
  • Presentations of at least 2-3 best internship practices of the Estonian partner
  • Panel discussions with the involvement of local stakeholders
  • Site visit(s) in enterprise(s) receiving learners for internship
  • Presentation the draft version of the synthesis report

 

Meeting minutes:

The fourth meeting of the project was organized in Tallinn, Estonia and followed the general scheme of the PEST project’s meetings: presentations of the local internship systems (general presentation, students’ report on their work based learning experience, presentation of the validation methods in the host country), state of play of the application of the ECVET system in the country, site visits at internship hosting companies. All these elements of the agenda took an interactive form with the partner countries introducing comparative elements to the discussions.

Special agenda points of the Tallinn meeting were the presentation of the prior learning assessment procedure in Estonia and its application to VET, and the presentation of and discussion on the midway version of the synthesis report, a would-be major outcome of the Project.

A new aspect was given to the project implementation by the Hungarian delegation which has proposed a detailed questionnaire to be filled out by students from each participating VET institutions enabling the project leaders to prepare a new chapter of the synthesis report. This chapter will deepen the comparative character of the report with the students’ views and will facilitate the realization of the long term objective of the project, the students’ exchanges for internships between the partner countries.

The Estonian organisers, in default of the official participation of the university partner who was obliged to leave the consortium at the very beginning of the project, made considerable efforts to comply with the expectations and managed to organise an excellent meeting.

 

 

 

Presentations:

The following presentations were given (not always in the order foreseen by the agenda):

 

Presentation of the Estonian internship system (given by the Marketing Department of the Technological University of Tallinn).

One of the major findings of the project is that two partnership member countries have no two-year tertiary vocational trainings (ISCED 5) /Estonia and Romania/ so the presentation focused on the internships of the professional bachelor degrees and mentioned also those of the Masters. General remarks for the marketing internships:

  • 4 weeks internship is obligatory after the second year
  • A 10-page report is to be prepared by the student with self-evaluation included
  • The activities carried out should be related to the curriculum
  • Most of the students work besides school at companies or corporations and they chose these as place for internship
  • The company nominates a Mentor for the student who produces an evaluation of the internship
  • The period of the internship is not pre-defined; it is concerted by the school and the company together
  • The companies understand that they receive free, talented workforce and the occasional outcome of the internship is for low price.

 

Presentation of the Estonian internship system from the students’ point of view

Two students with perfect command of English gave the following main points:

  • Students must look for their internship places, but the school can intervene by offering positions
  • The mandatory report to be prepared by the intern must cover the following points:
  • Description of the placement
  • Pros and cons of the internship
  • Suggestions about the work
  • Ideas about what would they change in the processes, management, etc.

      Two general statements decanted from practice:

  • 4 weeks are not enough to get familiar with the company and/or the position
  • The internship can be treated as a trial period of the full employment, so the students are willing to work for the company for a longer period of time for free. But it differs from company to company.

 

Presentation on the ECVET applications in the country

  • The implementation of the ECVET system in Estonia is in a beginning stage. One major hindering effect is that vocational training functions differently in different fields of vocations. This implies that it is hard to create a common, inclusive description of the different vocational branches. Fragmented and isolated examples are available.
  • The Romanian partners depicted their vocational system as a rigid one where it is difficult to synchronise the evaluation methods of the different sectors.
  • The Finnish partners see the benefit of ECVET and they wait the progress to be stimulated by the new legislation foreseen for September 2015

 

Presentation of the prior experience recognition system in Estonia

  • Students with previous learning or work experience can apply for its assessment and recognition.
  • If the student has proven experience from a given subject of the curriculum there is a possibility to skip the corresponding part of the curriculum.
  • This system works in Estonia and Romania while the other partner states have doubts about measurability and trustworthiness of the procedures. However, it is admitted that it remains a priority of the EU policy for vocational training.

 

Presentation of the first version of the synthesis report

      The synthesis report is composed, for the time being, of four parts:

A general comparative part of the VET systems of the partner countries (structures, curricula, financing aspects with particular accent on the effects of the economic crisis and the governmental reactions, employment statistics and the correlation with VET, internship characteristics, ongoing and foreseen legislation, etc.)

  • A special comparative part making efforts to find similarities and nail down discrepancies between national systems in concrete selected economic fields.
  • Presentation of best practices on internships in the partner countries – description of the company visits focusing on internships.
  • Ideas, suggestions helping the development of ECVET applied to internships in VET. The last three chapters define skills and learning outcomes for the selected sector.

The last three chapters need to be completed in light of the Tallinn meeting and the closing session in Budapest. This 60-page report is an in-depth draft of study which needs further contributions from the partners (see: to do list). The study has been prepared by the experts of the Hungarian VET partner who complemented the study with a mobility questionnaire composed of 15 questions and for each of them several possible answers are given for selection. Two students per partner are expected to fill out the questionnaire and the analysis of this will be introduced into the synthesis report. The study will have a last chapter with recommendations targeting decision makers and VET authorities of each country pointing out improvement possibilities of the VET systems in general and the internship systems in particular country by country.

The completed study will make integral part of the final report of the project and will be object of professional publications.

Company visits

 

 

Visit to the Estonian Tax Authority

  • The Tax Authorities offer opportunities for students to carry out internships with the long term objective to get employed later in this field.
  • These offers are especially attractive since the Authority electronised nearly all their processes, their self-service, e-tax and e-custom services. Customs, tax registration and administration are the targeted sub-fields.
  • Students from different colleges/universities specialized in tax and customs arrive to the Authority.
  • Students spend three months here. After the first introductory week they follow, according to their prior studies, in taxation or in customs.
  • To carry out international internships here is difficult because of the inevitable necessity to use the Estonian language.

 

Visit to the Estonian Qualifications Authority

In order to give the participants a more complete image of the Estonian system the hosts kindly organized a visit to the Estonian Qualifications Authority. The major goals of this Authority are mapping of occupational qualifications, the preparation of occupational qualification standards on one side and the assessment and certification of occupational competences with the delivery of occupational qualification certificates. The Authority is designated as National Coordination Point for implementation of the European Qualification Framework (EQF) in Estonia. The network of 16 Sector Skills Councils operated by the Authority was presented.

 

 

To do list concerning the synthesis report and the remaining activities

  • The partners were asked to study the draft synthesis study in depth and give their comments, modification proposals to the authors. They are also asked to produce the missing contributions to the last three chapters.
  • The partners were asked to select students for filling out the mentioned questionnaire and to do it before the final meeting in order to give time to the Hungarian authors to analyse them before the meeting in June.
  • The partners were asked to transmit their proposals for recommendations for their authorities with the objective of ameliorate the national conditions for international student exchange to internships. These recommendations are to be presented at the last project meeting and will be added as a new chapter to the synthesis report.
  • The partners are asked to continue searching for banks and financial institutions occasionally capable to receive international students for internship.
  • The Hungarian VET partner took charge of the preparation of a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed by all partners at the closing meeting expressing the engagement of the partners to further reinforce the efforts to realise student placements for internships in the partner countries and also in other EU countries after the end of the project.
  • The partners engage themselves to think about follow-up projects in a collaborative way in order to strengthen comparability of the internship systems through jointly enhancing the level and efficiency of the ECVET procedures in the partner countries. This subject is proposed to be an agenda point of the closing meeting in Budapest.

 

Students’ questionnaire and survey work

A new aspect was given to the project implementation by the Hungarian delegation which has proposed a detailed questionnaire to be filled out by students from each participating VET institutions enabling the project leaders to prepare a new chapter of the synthesis report. This chapter will deepen the comparative character of the report with the students’ views and will facilitate the realization of the long term objective of the project, the students’ exchanges for internships between the partner countries.

The first version of the planned questionnaire is in annex of the Meeting minutes.

 

 

To DO LIST (deadlines – responsibilities):

1. Partners’ support to the finalization of the synthesis report Deadline: 30 April

    1. There will be a new introduction part as well: definition and understanding of ECVET: EU, national, formal, non-formal, levels, where in the national education systems
    2. Write your ideas, corrections, etc. as:

Part1: Comparative study: read through the general and you national part and supplement and correct it.

Part2: Selected topic analysis: if you have new thoughts or you think that anything is not correctly stated, please, write these down

Part3: Best practices: there are missing parts from Finland, please, provide them ASAP.

Part4: suggestion: here, if you could separate the EU and national recommendations, it would be great – waiting for information from Romania and Estonia ASAP.

2. Finalisation of the synthesis report by BBS: for the final meeting.

3. Memorandum of Understanding about the bilateral internship exchanges for the final meeting – first version by BBS.

4. Students’ survey: Finalisation of the questionnaire until 20 April. After that students in all the 4 countries can send it to their institutions’ students. The aim is: to the final meeting we will have an analysed survey country by country and totalized.

 

Next workshop / partner meeting

Proposed date of the final meeting: 4-5 June 2015 in Budapest, Hungary