One of the hallmarks of our school is its International projects and the aim to expand its importance among all branches of studies in the near future. This becomes a positive pull factor. There has been a noticeable increase in the demand of the Short Cycles enrollment as long as the student’s profile has also changed in a way that pupils are more aware of labour mobility.
The main aim of our participation in international projects is to increase students’ opportunities. This improves their curriculum significantly. It is proven that students who have had a placement in a foreign country adapt themselves better to the requirements of the labour market.
Our school is also involved in a programme promoted by the Catalan Ministry of Education which validates some subjects and even professional experience (http://www.pifp.cat/qualificat/), which increases the number of people who can access higher education.
In addition, we are aware of the importance of tutoring in all ages of education. This is why tutors in Short Cycles are specially dedicated to monitoring school drop. As a vocational school and as part of the curricula, tutors in second year regularly visit the enterprises where the students are placed. This dual monitoring in school and enterprise helps to enhance social cohesion.
Our school is of the opinion that it can help to drive regional economic development through international programmes in cooperation with other higher education institutions and Town Hall.
We are aware that our wide variety of areas of study, which include Chemistry, Electricity , Electronics, Business Administration , Health studies and Nursing among others. All these branches provide opportunities to develop entrepreneurial, creative and innovative skills. Students are encouraged to take part in several regional research contests.
Last, it is worth mentioning that our college is accredited as a standard quality ISO 9000 and the next stage of this process is to become a center of excellence.
Our institution Institut Escola del Treball is serious about getting involved in international projects, taking part in most European mobility programmes and Lifelong Learning Programme such as Erasmus, Leonardo and Comenius. We also have agreements of collaboration with Germany, France and Norway, some of them being provided by the Catalan Ministry of Education. In the last seven years around 45 of our students have benefited from international exchanges. We have welcomed around 50 foreign students as well.
Future partnerships are also engaged, thanks to visits of foreign staff and students. A good example are the visits of the group of French Head Teachers from the National Syndicate of Head Teachers (http://www.snpct.org/) in 2010 and 2013.
E-twinning projects make more partnerships possible. An example being the project with two Italian schools in the academic year of 2014-15: ICS 3 de Renazzo del projecte Barcelona IS searching for penals and Scuola Secondaria Statale si I grado “Giancarlo Puecher” de Erba- Projecte penals.
Likewise, international companies which operate in our region, and also have subsidiary installations in other countries, are an open door to start placements in internships both local and abroad. In this way, students will be able to practice in the same company but in two different countries.
Last, but not least, seminars organized by the Catalan Ministry of Education are a good platform to meet new possible partners, either foreign ones who participate in the seminar or via other Catalan colleges which introduce them.
-As commented previously, Germany and France are the main areas in which we work. Baden Württemberg and Rhone Alps are the more active regions. As the geographical areas of our partners do not include English speaking countries, one of our intentions is to look for new partnerships both in Eastern and Northern Europe. In this way, we attempt to improve the level of English language of our students. As an exemple, we have welcomed a school of Bergen (Norway) for two consecutive years and have participated in the 2nd Congress:Youth and Democracy” together with a school in Böblingen.
Objectives and target groups
Our school is aware of the importance of mobility programmes. The main aim is to offer both professional and personal experience to the students, as placement in foreign countries helps them to adapt to the requirements of the labour market in the framework of the European Union. Specific skills, attitudes and competences are acquired along with an understanding of the economic and social environment of the host countries. Thus, their professional mobility is widened, not to mention their personal curriculum and capacity for adjustment to changes, the key to future learning.
Our target group is mainly the students. Therefore, in the following years our priority is to encourage students to participate in these programmes and year by year, to increase the number who have the possibility to go abroad through placements and academic activities.
Thanks to the mobility of teachers, it will be possible for our staff to teach abroad and also attend specific training. The exchange of teachers will also allow contact with foreign experts with whom activities such as short seminars and conferences can be organized. 2015-16: ERASMUS+ KA1.For instance, we have already participated in one with Romania, having welcomed three teachers in our school this academic year.
As said, our school is serious about getting involved in international projects. The school has several existing partners and diversified ways to look for more. The number of projects, as well as their quality, will continue to improve.
The quality of each international project is the result of a close collaboration between tutors, teaching staff and the international coordinator. The selection and monitoring of the best students throughout the project is essential. The short term priority is to extend the number of teachers involved in international programmes in order to improve their quality.
As part of the curricula, some teachers are able to teach their lessons in the English language. In this way, we attempt to improve the level of our students´ English and thus prepare them for any international projects.
Besides, one of our intentions for the mid-term future is to look for new partnerships in Europe, as said before, and enhance the links we already have. E-twinning as well as preparatory visits are good tools to help find new partners.
As for corrective actions, it is worth mentioning that our school is to follow an increasing trajectory for international projects.
As placements interrupt their academic activities, not all of the students feel comfortable going away temporarily. The extra effort needed on their return may cause their studies to be lengthened, and it is clear that this is not an easy decision for them to make. Since the students are placed in the enterprises in the second year of their two year course, a good presentation of the international projects is highly recommended at the beginning of their studies. In this way, those students interested in traveling abroad can plan their personal strategies in advance.