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Despite Corona: International craft projects are continued

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there are contact and travel restrictions worldwide. The SCIVET-Coordination-Unit has asked chambers of skilled crafts as well as district craft associations: Is it still possible to carry out international vocational training projects under these conditions? The answer was clear: Yes, ist is possible for the skilled crafts sector!

IBZ goes digital

The central result of the survey: It goes on

From 11 May to 4 June 2020, 14 craft institutions currently implementing international projects took part in a survey on the impact of Corona on international vocational training cooperation (IBZ).

The results give cause for optimism:

  • None of the craft players surveyed have discontinued their current projects or contact with their partners because of Corona, although they all see a need for change because of it.
  • In the case of adaptation measures, the skilled crafts actors are focusing on increased digital cooperation and combining this with other measures such as postponing activities and prolonging projects.
  • International travel is partly replaced by video conferencing.

Crafts: Reliable, innovative and realistic partner

The respondents confirm that especially coordination and consulting services can also be realized by German crafts via video telephony. In recent weeks, for example, the respondents examined workshops and advised on the design of an image campaign for vocational training and the establishment of an examination system. Work is also being done on instructional videos on craft skills.

In light of this increased use of digital forms of cooperation, however, the skilled crafts experts remain realistic: Theory can be taught online – but practice-oriented courses in which craft skills are taught in a very practical way  – so to say “hands on” – cannot be conducted digitally.

Das Bild veranschaulicht Kommunikation und Beratung über Videokonferenz.
Many consultations are currently conducted via video conferences. Picture source: Tumisu via pixabay

Outlook: Limited capacities for new projects for the time being

The respondents look to the future with mixed feelings. The projects that have been started will be continued and completed with the necessary adjustments. However, there is reluctance in many places to plan new projects.

The skilled crafts sector is proud to be able to contribute the experience and expertise from German practice to the international projects. Often it is the trainers, who also work at their own training centres, who are deployed abroad by chambers and district craft associations as short-term experts. This is the best way for all sides to benefit from the cooperation. In the coming months, however, the tasks in the own chamber district and for the member companies have the highest priority. The inter-company training of apprentices and further training for craftsmen had to be cancelled for weeks in Germany as well. Although these courses can now be resumed, for reasons of health protection only small groups are allowed to attend. It will still take months to make up the shortfall.

This shows that due to catching up on examinations and training programmes in the sovereign area of responsibility, the capacity utilisation rate is high. As a result, there is a fundamental planning difficulty for new international projects.

Although these developments make it more difficult to find partners for international vocational training projects, the SCIVET Coordination Unit is ready to support you in your search for partners from the German skilled crafts. That is because another statement has been made quite clearly: The German skilled crafts sector wants to continue its involvement in international vocational training cooperation and will then continue to apply what it has learned during this crisis. This means that there will be most likely more video conferences after the crisis than before. The digital teaching materials that are now being developed will also be used increasingly in the future.

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