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Digital and Hands-on – Automotive Training in E-Mobility

From March 2021 to February 2023, the Handwerkskammer für Ostthüringen in Gera (Chamber of Skilled Crafts for Eastern Thuringia), in collaboration with the Swedish partner Amledo & Co. AB and the Danish regional vocational training center in Nyköbing/Falster implemented an Erasmus+ project. In the following, Andreas Jörk, representing the HWK Ostthüringen, reports about the project implementation, its results and benefits for the HWK Ostthüringen and the project target group.

Recommendations for the Erasmus+ application process

The so-called “Key Action 2” of the European Education Program Erasmus+ aims at strengthening cooperation between organizations and institutions. In the field of vocational education, the funding categories “Cooperation Partnerships” and the “Small-Scale Partnerships” are particularly interesting for skilled craft organizations.

For organisations not yet very familiar with Erasmus+ the category “Small-Scale Partnerships” might be most suitable. If you, as a vocational training institution or organization, already have a transnational network of partner institutions and experience in the field of Erasmus+ mobility projects, “Cooperation Partnerships” are recommended.

Information on Erasmus+ in the field of VET

In September 2022 the SCIVET co-ordination unit organized an event on “Erasmus+ Partnerships in Vocational Education and Training”. Two representatives from the German National Agency at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (NaBiBB) presented Erasmus+ and Key Action 2 in particular. In the password-protected area of the SCIVET project website, members can download the presentation and meeting notes (both in German). Furthermore, an overview of the different Erasmus+ funding models in the field of vocational education and training is available here.

Prior to the project application, it is important to determine whether you as an organization would like to coordinate the project or contribute to the project as an implementation partner. The coordinating organization always submits the application. It has proven useful to evaluate the chances of success of the application under the aspect of the available financial budget in the Erasmus+ program. In each EU member country there are different amounts for Erasmus+ funding available.

International Cooperation and Project Implementation in times of the pandemic

In 2020, the European Commission published a second call for applications for Erasmus+ funding. The call was coordinated by the respective National Agencies responsible for the Erasmus+ program in their country. The call focused on “Innovative practices in the digital age”.

This rather unusual second call for application as well as the thematic focus can be attributed to the exceptional circumstances during the pandemic. The Erasmus+ cooperation partnership project “New digital teaching and training practices in e-vehicle VET”, presented in more detail below, was applied for and approved in frame of this call.

The project duration was limited to a maximum of 24 months. In February 2023, the project partners completed it successfully. The Swedish partner Amledo & Co. AB, who applied for the project was overall responsible for its coordination and implementation. The mobility advisor team of the HWK Ostthüringen has been working successfully with the Swedish partner since 2009. In preparation for the application, initial coordination meetings were held discussing the project key focus areas, its objective, activities as well as potential partner institutions.

Amledo & Co. AB is the national consortium leader and has been closely working with the Swedish Transport Association and 24 Swedish vocational schools. Two of the Swedish vocational schools in the consortium participated as independent project partners. From Denmark, the regional vocational training center in Nyköbing/Falster (DK) joined the project. The training center offers a comprehensive training program in the field of vehicle technology (e.g. bicycle, two-wheeler, passenger car, commercial vehicle, boat engines). As for the German partners, the HWK Ostthüringen and the Technical Vocational School Gera contributed to the project – both as well with a significant expertise in the field of motor vehicle training.

During the corona pandemic, most educational institutions were confronted with the challenge of offering trainings and learning content digitally and via online learning platforms. Against this background, as well as the technological change of motor vehicles (e-vehicles)  and the learning behaviour of Generation Z, a key question manifested itself:
Which learning materials can usefully supplement vocational training in the field of automotive high-voltage technology – which are relevant to training, appealing to the target group, can be used in a flexible manner, are cost-effective and can be created by the participants themselves with low time expenditure?
The answer to this question formed the basis for the project title: “New digital learning and training methods in electric vehicle training”.

During the project implementation phase, the partners exchanged in four physical meetings and 15 online meetings. These meetings were chaired by the Swedish project coordinator. The members used the meetings to distribute and discuss the tasks of each project member. This included, written preparations for the handout to be created, the learning videos to be produced including supplementary information and deadlines for their submission. Furthermore, administrative tasks related to project documentation, public relations, budget management and the relevant evaluations were discussed during the meetings.

Joint development of digital learning and training methods

In accordance with the project objective, ten digital learning units were developed for VET in automotive technology – high-voltage and hybrid vehicles. In addition, the project participants developed a handout for training professionals focusing on theoretical as well as practical aspects. It describes pedagogical-didactic aspects for the use of digital training materials, the presentation of modern learning concepts, regulations on data protection and, above all, practical advice for the development of learning videos.

All project goals as described in the project description were achieved. These include the handout and ten learning videos. Interested organisations and institutions can find them following the below links:

Added value for the HWK and the target group

The participation of the Handwerkskammer für Ostthüringen in various Erasmus+ partnership projects is a contribution to the internationalization of national vocational education and trainings. The mobility advisor of the Handwerkskammer für Ostthüringen is responsible for the project management of Erasmus+ projects. It is an essential objective of a nation-wide project in Germany called “Training without Borders“.

The added value for the Handwerkskammer für Ostthüringen is in particular the possibility to expand its own international (European) network. Over the course of more than ten years, the Handwerkskammer für Ostthüringen has established partnerships with institutions and organisations in 13 European countries.

A large network of partners allows bilateral projects to be realized more easily. Moreover, does it facilitate topic-specific cooperation. In addition, learning exchange programmes have been organized together with the different European partners, e.g. allowing trainees to participate in internships abroad. This results in an immediate added value for the trainees, who can strengthen their international, intercultural and linguistic competences during the exchange.

Additionally, experts of vocational training and education (e.g. in-company trainers and teachers) benefit from study trips organized and accompanied by the Handwerkskammer für Ostthüringen. These practitioners are important and essential multipliers for the mobility consultants’ work. To continuously increase the number of trainees participating in a learning stay abroad, it is important that these stakeholders closely, trustfully and work together.

Andreas Jörk

Handwerkskammer für Ostthüringen

Bild: Handwerkskammer für Ostthüringen

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