Give VET mobility a fresh boost – exchanging ideas, creating projects - A joint contact seminar of six Erasmus+ National Agencies to foster mobility

13-15 June 2018, Cologne

78 participants representing different institutions of the VET sector from Finland, Norway, Sweden, France, Denmark and Germany met during the contact seminar in Cologne. The goal was to give VET mobility a fresh boost through finding new project partners, exchange ideas and create future mobility projects in Erasmus+.

Taking place in Mediapark Cologne, the event was opened by Klaus Fahle, director of the German National Agency at BIBB. He summarised the intention of the contact seminar: „We want to help you to do your work and we would like to introduce you to each other! We are facilitators for you! “. On the first day, the seminar focused on getting to know each other by means of icebreaking activities and a European fair.

Please find here some impressions of the icebreaking activities: the participants made first contacts with possible project partners by splitting up into the sectors they are working in or the target groups they are working with.

European Fair: Meet and greet new project partners

In the evening of the first day, the seminar venue turned into a European Fair, where the participants presented their institutions, projects and regions. They brought appetizers and specialities from their regions and served them: Bamse Mums sweets from Norway, deer spread from Finland, passion fruit liqueur from French-Guyana and much more. Walking around, the participants talked to each other and learned about other VET institutions and their project ideas.

Spotlight on VET systems

Aiming to give an overview of each country’s VET system, experts from the participating countries explained how their systems work. The participants learned for example, that the Finnish VET system changed to a new focus on individual coaching or that the VET reform in France emphasizes the importance of mobility during apprenticeships. Knowing details about the VET system of the partner institutions’ countries, the participants had a good basis to start planning their future cooperation.

Forming working groups, matching project partners

In four working groups, VET schools, chambers, VET providers, regional authorities etc. identified suitable project partners, created project ideas and elaborated them together. Moving around, the participants worked together with various possible partners. At the end of the day, first project ideas were presented. For example, a Danish and German school will cooperate and realize mobilities for teachers and students in the field of international trade.

Participants’ needs

On the last day, the participants were asked about their remaining needs: Do they need information on funding? Do they want to continue working on their project ideas? Do they wish to find more partners? According to the expressed needs, the participants continued creating new projects, finalized project drafts or received further information on the application for Erasmus+ funding.

At the end of the contact seminar, great projects ideas were presented. Hopefully to be realized in the future. For example, Norwegian and Danish institutions will establish mobilities in the construction sector; partners from Norway and Germany will work together in the health care sector and additionally found a last-minute match to develop a project for paramedics. New teaching methods will be the heart of a staff mobility project between VET schools from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany. 

During the three days, it was noticeable that Erasmus+ enriches the European education area - especially the working lives of VET students and staff - and that a contact seminar is an important instrument to give VET mobility a fresh boost.

„If you get into Erasmus+, you will never get out!” Ingrid Gran, TCA officer at the Swedish National Agency

All Pictures © NA beim BIBB / Stephen Petrat