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BILT Workshop on New Qualifications and Competencies in TVET

12-13 November 2019, SFIVET, Switzerland

An ever-present challenge faced by TVET systems is to identify new qualifications and competencies needed for the world of work in the 21st Century, and to define different approaches of introducing them in curricula or training regulations. Experts from 11 European countries (Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Portugal, Malta and Switzerland) addressed these issues at the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET) and shared examples and approaches in the framework of the BILT Project.

Tackling TVET challenges related to new qualifications and competencies

Bringing future-oriented qualifications and competencies into practice, which serve the market needs, appeal to youth and fit into promising career paths is not a straightforward task:

  • On the demand side, curricula and training regulations need to reflect labor market and industry needs as well as social and political development paradigms. Emerging trends in the private sector should inform their regular update in a quick, adequate and proactive manner.
  • On the supply side, it is necessary to look first into how new qualifications and competencies are phased into curricula and training regulations at the systemic level, in accordance with the structural requirements of the respective TVET systems. Secondly, systemic innovations must translate into a practical level and teacher-learner interfaces, such that teachers are trained and learners benefit accordingly.

Based on this distinction, the workshop participants discussed both the systemic and practical level along two major questions and according to four approaches to the integration of New Qualifications and Competencies into curricula and training regulations.

On the backdrop of these theoretical reflections, participants presented and discussed innovative implementation approached related to the following topics:

  • Identification of New Qualifications and Competencies and their introduction into curricula and training regulations (Systemic Level),
  • Practical examples of new competencies in the field of initial and continuing TVET and in the field of upskilling, systemic influences (Practical Level)
Overall, 12 European implementation examples relating to new qualifications and competencies in TVET were presented during the workshop, with additional context provided by examples related to the other BILT work streams (Digitalization, Greening, and Entrepreneurship).

Key outcomes

The presented initiatives facilitated consideration of what New Qualifications and Competencies are emerging or needed in VET for the future. Reforms saw entrepreneurial and soft skills embedded within programs as well as new modules on greening and digitalization created for adoption and use. One conclusion made was that it is important to maintain a clear separation between systemic interventions, as compared to interventions on the practical level such as teaching methods or content, since these concern different levels of TVET actors.

The role of teachers was also an important element under discussion, with changes in content requiring teachers to stay informed and abreast of technology, but also move towards collaborative program and content design and in some cases becoming more of a mentor or coach in the learning process. Flexibility within the national framework to reflect local or regional needs of the labor market in curricula or training regulations was seen as an indicator for success, as institutions able to directly address gaps in national curricula provide a valuable service for training providers, the private sector and indirectly the communities.

The workshop on New Qualifications and Competencies in TVET was the fourth of five within the UNESCO-UNEVOC’s Bridging Innovation and Learning in TVET (BILT) project, which focus on the thematic areas of Greening, Digitalization/Industry 4.0, Entrepreneurship, Migration, and New Qualifications and Competencies. The BILT project aims to facilitate the exchange of experiences and peer learning across the European UNEVOC Network within these thematic work streams.

For more information about the workshop on New Qualifications and Competencies in TVET, please consult the workshop agenda and participants overview.

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