FPEmpresa VET Schools Association held its 2021 General Assembly on the last 17th of June. The Assembly, which, due to the current situation, took place in a virtual environment for the second consecutive year, was attended by almost a hundred of representatives of associated centres.

At the beginning of the session, the president of FPEmpresa, Luis García, welcomed all the centres and thanked them for their attendance and their commitment to continue working to improve Vocational Education and Training in Spain. Next, the vice president, José Luis Durán, explained the 2020-2021 activities report and detailed the different milestones and achievements that had been achieved since the last Assembly. For his part, the vice-president-treasurer, Tomás Alonso, detailed FPEmpresa’s treasury issues and financial situation. Finally, before voting, the president assessed the objectives that should be met in the near future in order to ensure sustained and sustainable growth of the Association.

All the documents prepared for the GA were put to vote. To carry out this procedure, an electronic voting system – like the last GA – was used, which is fully valid as certified by identity verification methods.

To end the 2021 General Assembly, the president presented and shared with the attendees the preliminary thoughts of FPEmpresa with regard to the preliminary draft of the Organic Law of Organization and Integration of Vocational Education and Training, which was analysed in first reading by the Spanish Council of Ministers on the 15th of June.

The IES Francisco Tomás y Valiente, an associated centre of FPEmpresa VET Schools Association, in collaboration with Orange Foundation, has developed a programme called GarageLab, a space envisioned as a workshop for digital innovation in which students can collaborate and develop their skills by learning how to use modern machines, discovering how to design 3D objects or using specific design software.

The project’s coordinator, Federico Salcines, stresses that one of the objectives of this program is to reduce the dropout rate among Basic Vocational Training students, via increasing their motivation and improving their skills, academic results and employability.

The participating students have been involved in the following projects within this programme: the creation of mechanical adapters for students with reduced mobility of the Princess Sofía Special Education public school, the collaboration with the students of the Hairdressing VET cycle of the IES Batán in Mieres (Asturias), or the creation of a business project.

According to the school principal of the IES Francisco Tomás y Valiente and vice-president-treasurer of FPEmpresa, Tomás Alonso: “this project represents an added boost to our innovation strategy and also a necessary support for these educational levels”. He adds that “it is also a commitment to improving the spaces, something that has indirectly caused a methodological change, as well as an integration of the different groups at these levels, since both first- and second-year Basic VET students can work together”. “We have observed a recovery of self-esteem among students and a notable reduction in absenteeism,” he concludes.

The project presentation was attended by the Mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida and the CEO of Orange Spain, Jean François Fallacher, among other institutional figures.

For further information, have a look at the following video.

After several months of hard work and learning, the project SCoopConSS (Social Cooperative Contest for Secondary Schools) reaches its final stage. The more than 150 students from the different participating centres will have to design the proposals for the social cooperatives to be presented at the Spanish national contest. A total of nine Spanish schools take part: the IES Puertas del Campo in Ceuta, the EFA La Malvesía in Valencia, the C.D.P Atlántida CIDEP in Granada, the IES Simón Pérez in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the IES Ángel Corella, the IES Francisco Tomás y Valiente, the Cooperativa de Enseñanza José Ramón Otero, the IES Pedro de Tolosa and the Colegio Santa María del Carmen in Madrid.

The project, co-financed by the European Union under the frame of the Horizon2020 funds, counts on the participation of seven organisations from five southern European countries: the FPEmpresa VET Schools Association and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Spain, aCapo Società Cooperativa Sociale Integrata and EGInA Srl. in Italy, AKETH-DCT (Tesalia Development Centre) in Greece, the Portuguese Association of Startups (APSU) in Portugal and the Rijeka Technical Culture Centre in Croatia.

SCoopConSS is aimed at facilitating teachers a source of high-quality materials regarding social entrepreneurship. This way, teachers can access the necessary tools to help students explore a business model such as the cooperatives and, parallelly, the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN.

The Projects Director and Associated Centre Office of FPEmpresa, Elena Argudo, highlighted that “SCoopConSS is a project intended to bring students closer to an entrepreneurship model that has a lot of advantages and that it is directly related to the Sustainable Development Goals”. “It is a project that leads to the reflection on the importance of companies being committed to these goals because the companies of the future will be those that know how to link their business model to a sustainable project”, she added.

During the execution of the SCoopConSS project, each school has participated in six workshops, that have tackled the following topics: characteristics of cooperatives, Sustainable Development Goals, Canvas Next as a tool to analyse a business model, market research, business planning, communication and marketing. Apart from these six workshops, some special sessions have also been organised. In these, students have had the opportunity to know the experience of real cooperatives first-hand. Some of these cooperatives were: Agresta, Wazo, La Corriente, La Osa Coop, Cooperativa Redes, Por Siete, Aplica and Kinema.

From now and until the next 18th of June, the different teams will be working on the development of their idea for social cooperative, which they will present at the Spanish national contest. The winning team will be awarded a trip to Florence next September to present their proposal at the international contest, where they will have to compete against the rest of the participating countries, which are also in the final stage of the project. Argudo concludes: “A challenge is given to students with the motivation of participating in a national contest that, if won, gives them the opportunity to present the result of their work at an international level, in an incomparable scenario such as the city of Florence”.

FPEmpresa VET Schools Association has participated in the second PLA (Peer Learning Activity) of PRALINE project (Promoting Adult Learning in Networks), which has been focused on sustainability in the field of lifelong learning.

PRALINE project is aimed at boosting and consolidating international networks of adult education providers, through peer learning, mutual counselling and capacity building.

In this second PLA, all the organisations that make up the project have taken part, as well as a representative from the European Commission, Martina Ni-Cheallaigh, who shared a presentation on the European Union’s challenges on sustainability, greening and circular economy.

“We want a strong social Europe; a Europe that abides by the values of the Treaty; a Europe that is just for everybody and leaves nobody behind”, she highlighted. She also stated: “With this purpose in mind, we have the European Green Deal, the program for digitalization and digital transformation and the Green Paper on aging”. “The idea is to have an economy that works for everybody”, she added.

The session was hosted by the French organisation Union Nationale des Maisons Familiales Rurales d’Education et d’ Orientation, that presented the Maisons Familiales Rurales (MFR) and the overall structure of VET in France. In addition to this, three best practices were shared, two from France on the different learning environments and inclusion, respectively, and one from Slovenia, on the education for the EU Green Deal through VET providers.

The next PRALINE session is expected to take place by the end of September this year. If circumstances allow it, it will be held face-to-face for the first time since the project started.

FPEmpresa VET Schools Association, Dualiza (Bankia Foundation’s brand for VET promotion) and FP Innovación (an educational project) have successfully organised the Innovaprofes Hackathon, whose objective is for VET teachers to design and create a Classroom for Entrepreneurship in 48 hours.

This initiative, originated from the Plan to Modernise Vocational Training announced by the Spanish government in July 2020, has received a great support from the Spanish teaching community in general, with 367 applications, and from FPEmpresa in particular, with 46 associated centres, from 14 (out of 17) Spanish autonomous regions.

In the opening session, the coordinator of FPEmpresa for Andalusia and member of FP Innovación, Juan Antonio Aguilar, has highlighted that “this 21st century has stomped its way in and this calls for a different type of teachers, a type of teachers who can face challenges and overcome difficult situations”. Furthermore, he states that “it’s time to embrace new methodologies, new organisational structures and new work spaces, hence the significance of these Classrooms for Entrepreneurship”.

VET teachers have had the opportunity to enjoy a series of training actions in those 48 hours, all aimed at planning and designing a Classroom for Entrepreneurship for their schools. Some of these actions were: case studies, learning pills, mentoring, brainstorming sessions, etc.

In the end, 43 teams presented their projects, which represents a total amount of 239 participants. Once all the proposals have been assessed, the first, second and third winning projects will be awarded with 1,000€, 750€ and 500€, respectively.

FPEmpresa VET Schools Association and Dualiza (Bankia Foundation’s brand for Vocational Education and Training promotion) have launched an ambitious free training scheme for VET professionals. It is divided into three training initiatives and each one of these will fulfil a specific objective and will be aimed at a specific audience.

The first initiative of this scheme is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Project Based Learning (PBL) to improve and update the professional competences of VET teachers. More than 2,000 teachers have participated in this training action, which started last April and will continue until the 17th of May. This MOOC has been created by VET teachers with wide experience in the field of PBL. It aims to improve teachers’ competences by designing and executing projects, facilitating reflection methods in teaching practices and boosting a network of VET teachers with similar interests. Furthermore, teachers who take part in this MOOC will learn more about the PBL methodology, through observation of case studies that have been successfully implemented in other places and will also learn teaching strategies related to the use of ICT and innovative evaluation methods.

The second training initiative, which started at the beginning of May, is aimed at the management teams of FPEmpresa’s associated centres and is focused on providing participants with practical tools that allow them to achieve greater self-knowledge and self-management and to improve team management. This second action is made up of five courses in which topics like resilience, leadership, conflict management or high-performance team management will be dealt with. The last course will take place in November this year. There will be a total of 200 places available, 40 places for each course.

According to FPEmpresa’s vice-president, José Luis Durán, “these five courses intend to fulfil the training needs that members of management teams face sometimes”. “Managing a team in an efficient and effective way requires specific tools and practical knowledge, that are not always close at hand. Therefore, we hope that participants find this training initiative useful”, he highlighted.

The third and last part of this training scheme will be focused on training VET teachers to use teaching tools that help them with conflict management inside the classroom. It is expected to begin next October.

Digital Transformation in Advanced Manufacturing: An Integral Training Curriculum for EU technicians to deploy and manage digital tools in Smart Manufacturing or DTAM in short, is a three-year Sector Skills Alliances in VET project, cofunded by the Erasmus+ program of the EU.

The coordinator of the DTAM project is the associated centre of FPEmpresa VET Schools Association, Politeknika Ikastegia Txorierri, S. Coop., partnering with a total of 10 other organisations from 5 European countries. Politeknika Txorierri is a VET and HVET centre in the Spanish Basque Country. The school specializes in: Environmental Control & Education, Telecommunications and Information Technology, Robotics, Sales and Commercial Management, Mechanical Design, Mechanical Production and Machining.

The DTAM project comes in answer to an ever-increasing need for the upskilling and reskilling of technical workers and students in the EU to help improve their employability in a skills intensive fast evolving labour market i.e. advanced manufacturing (AM). According to Josu Orbe, general director of Politeknika Txorierri, DTAM will contribute to the mission of this centre to be a point of reference for companies and leaders in the comprehensive and continuous training of people, and in their adaptation to this ever-changing technological world. The project will also address other multiple needs which have recently became even more evident because of developments such as the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Among those needs are the (1) digital and technical skills mismatches in demand and supply of labour, (2) demand for sector-tailored industrial workers, (3) lack of recognized VET programs on the topic and a practical training through access to developed IoT (remote) labs and WBL and last but not least (4) the need for an updated training for low or under-skilled adult workers threatened by replacement or obsolescence due to technological advances.

Therefore, DTAM will deliver a new curriculum in digital transformation dedicated to the quality training of mid-high-level technicians in key enabling technologies for Advanced Manufacturing. The curriculum will help grow a workforce of technicians capable of understanding, installing, configuring, monitoring, analysing, transferring data and maintaining digital systems in advanced manufacturing environments so meeting a critical skills gap in EU Industry 4.0 and addressing partners’ regional RiS3s.

FPEmpresa VET Schools Association is one of the more than 40 institutions that have joined the STEAM Alliance for women’s talent “Niñas en pie de ciencia” (Girls ready for science), promoted by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. The endorsement of this alliance takes place under the frame of FPEmpresa’s objective to collaborate with public administrations, from all the Spanish regions, in those initiatives that lead to a positive impact in the field of VET.

This initiative is aimed at strengthening STEAM professions (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) among young girls. Its objective is to join efforts, foster synergies and promote projects that contribute to the design of an education system that removes gender stereotypes associated with certain professions; an education system that encourages women’s empowerment within STEAM professions from initial stages of education and that helps eliminating the gender gap in the access to these disciplines.

“Contributing to the reduction of the gender gap in the labour market is one of the objectives of FPEmpresa”, Luis García, president of FPEmpresa, highlights. He states that “technological and industrial maintenance courses are, generally speaking, less demanded by women” and he believes that these studies “usually represent more stable and high-quality job opportunities”.

The Alliance will have an annual plan of work, in which goals, agenda and resources will be detailed. Furthermore, this plan will allow to follow up all the promoted lines of action. Among other initiatives, it is expected to create a quality stamp for schools, to launch a call for projects on STEAM and to elaborate a Career Orientation Programme focused on STEAM professions, with gender perspective.

The STEAM Alliance for women’s talent “Niñas en pie de ciencia” (Girls ready for science) was presented publicly on the 11th of February 2021, coinciding with the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

TEACHERS, STUDENTS, PROJECT TUTORS AND SOCIAL COOPERATIVE REPRESENTATIVES ARE ALREADY GETTING TO WORK.

FEBRUARY, 3, 2021 – After holding the second transnational partners’ meeting (online) last January 19th and 20th, in the format of an internal Training the Trainers workshop with practical activities aimed at reaching the validation of the shared methodology and tools for implementing the next steps, the ScoopConSS partnership is now ready to begin the piloting process. This will be comprised of a 4-month period of online workshops and collaborative classroom work sessions among teachers, students, project tutors and social cooperative representatives.

However, before starting this stage, partners should perform an experimentation of the cooperative learning exercise with all teachers involved at national level, applying the same tools later with their groups of students. In this occasion, partners are also expected to show and explore the online MOODLE platform, providing teachers with access to it, so they could study the Open Educational Resources available and select a couple of them to carry out the same exercise with their pupils.

Afterwards, partners will cooperate with each teacher for schedule the organisation of the workshops for students, as well as schedule the online classroom sessions. The main goal is to provide a proper mentorship to both students and teachers in the simulation of a cooperative business project planning, as well as to monitor the ongoing process of each school in getting ready for the participation at the ScoopConSS contest.

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FPEmpresa VET Schools Association, along with more than twenty European institutions from the field of education, took part in the first peer learning activity of PRALINE project (Promoting Adult Learning in Networks), that dealt with adult education and training.

This first session of workshops and lectures counted on the active participation from FPEmpresa and the Association of public VET centres from the Basque Country Ikaslan Bizkaia. FPEmpresa explained the structure of adult education in Spain as well as its main characteristics, and also presented the company Haizea Wind Group, represented by the HR Manager, José Colsa, as an example of good practices. More specifically, this company described its project aimed at creating a specific school for welding, in collaboration with Centro de Formación Somorrostro, with the purpose of training qualified staff for the companies within the holding company. As for Ikaslan Bizkaia, they highlighted some distinctive elements of the Basque education system with regard to adult education. Then it was the turn for The Finish Association for the Development and Vocational Education and Training AMKE to share with the attendees the latest reforms carried out in Finland and their impact on adult education. To conclude, a panel discussion, led by Marguerite Hogg from the Association of Colleges (AoC) in the UK, was held. During the debate, some specific issues related to the adult education sector were discussed. The whole session was moderated by Manfred Polzin, from MBO Raad, PRALINE’s coordinating institution from The Netherlands.

The general objective of this project is to strengthen the already existing transnational networks of adult education providers via mutual learning, peer counselling and capacity building.

PRALINE has been presented under the frame of the Erasmus+ programme, within Key Action 3: Support for policy reform, and under the specific subaction «Social inclusion and common values: the contribution in the field of education and training».

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