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EURIAC is developing a European educational unit in industrial automation

Collaboration to secure industry skills needs
There is great interest from vocational education providers and Industry to create a vocational education and training unit that meets the skills needs of high-tech industry. As a result, EURIAC, European Industrial Automation Class, has been granted full financing from the Lifelong Learning Programme. The project started in October 2011 and will continue for two years.

Industry needs multi-skilled personnel
European Industry is facing several challenges such as technology shift, industrial streamlining to save energy, a generation gap and increased competition from developing countries. One way to meet these challenges is through enhanced training that equips students with multi-skills. A market analysis will be performed in EURIAC to establish the multi-skills needs and serve as input to the design of learning outcomes for the educational module.

A stand-alone educational unit in automation
The European class will be designed as a stand-alone educational unit that can be integrated into any European vocational education and training programme in industrial automation. It can also be offered as a separate course for adults in vocational education. Already, Industry has shown interest in offering the educational unit as a corporate training course.

New opportunities for students in industrial automation
Students in automation have had few possibilities to learn abroad. Due to this, the educational unit in EURIAC will be carried out as transnational mobility.
Within the project, the educational unit will be tested and evaluated by students from Sweden, Spain, Finland and the Netherlands. During two weeks of mobility in each country, students will study and do work-placement in transnational project groups.

ECVET – a framework to make it easier to transfer learning outcomes gained abroad
There is great diversity in the European landscape of vocational education and training. To transfer qualification from one context to another may be difficult when some are based on units and credit points, others are based on tasks and work processes. ECVET (European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training) is a solution to overcome the obstacles these differences create.
The training unit in EURIAC will be designed using some of the tools in the ECVET framework. As such, it becomes a practical example of how to apply ECVET to transfer learning outcomes gained abroad.

 

Detailed information

EURIAC aims to create a hands-on, integrated European Class in automation to support VET students in the acquisition and use of knowledge, skills and co,petences to facilitate personal development, employability and entry to a European labour market.

To accomplish this, a mutual VET platform must be created to facilitate the transfer of and ensure that the learning outcomes are recognizable both by national curricula and the industry. This will be managed by adapting and utilizing the ECVET methods and tools developed within the European Class in Trucks Maintenance project (133971-LLP-2007-SE-LMP) and the validation system developed in the Validation of Maintenance Technician project (2005-SE/05/B/F/PP-161003).

The platform will be composed by the following ECVET devices:
- Design and qualifications in units of learning outcomes
- Allocation of ECVET points to units and qualifications
- Adaption and utilization of the ValidMaint validation system
- Development of an operational a partnership based on a mutual trust concept including memorandum of understanding and learning agreements.
This joint approach ensures that all partners are involved in the ECVET design process and gain experience on how to employ EQF and ECVET.
The European Class will be transferable to other European VET in automation at EQF 4 (Upper secondary school) and 5 (Higher VET/Adult education). The project will therefore employ a dissemination strategy that attracts a number of strategic stakeholders.

Objective 1
To adjust the previous market research form and then conduct an additional market investigation to identify the skills needs of maintenance electrians working on PLC-programming in industrial automation as a complement to the one performed in the VocTrainMaint project to ensure the training content of the EURIAC is in line with industry skills needs.

Objective 2
To adapt and utilize the ECVET tools and methods developed within the European Class in Trucks Maintenance project to create an ECVET system for EURIAC for transparency and recognition of students' knowledge, skills and competences gained abroad and to continue the experimentation on ECVET and EQF in European VET.

Objective 3
To adapt and utilize the validation system developed in the ValidMaint project to establish students’ skills level before entering the European Class and to validate learning outcomes at completion. The adaption of the ValidMaint system will also ensure the continued development of the same.

Objective 4
To establish a mutual trust consortium of European partners from industry, administration, and education sectors who will collaborate to create the VET platform on which the European Class will be founded. This includes memorandum of understanding and mutual recognition of learning outcomes. This approach will improve the quality and increase the volume of co-operation between training centers, administration and industry.

Objective 5
To test and evaluate the European Class concept by organizing mobilities with students from Sweden, Finland, Spain and the Netherlands and in order to establish a close co-operation between training centers in Europe for subsequent rounds of mobilities thus improving the quality and increasing the volume of mobility of young people in VET.

Objective 6
To implement and disseminate the results of the EURIAC project to the idenitified strategic stakeholders.

 

The EURIAC work process

This project will have a "bottom up" approach by exploiting and developing results from other projects. Teachers who are working direct with the students will also be involved in developing the content of the technical modules.  In order to respond to companies' competence needs and to make it possible to recognize learning outcomes gained abroad each partner will elaborate training units in conformity with the ECVET technical specifications.  Each partner will be responsible for the recognition of these units within its own national VET system.

There will be eight work packages in total. Three work-packages will be towards project management, valorization, evaluation and market analysis. Five work packages will work against the three recognised problems (implementation of EQF and ECVET, Knowledge Gap and finally Interest Gap). Four project meetings will be held during the project and in the end a final conference will be arranged in Sweden.

The EURIAC-project will be divided into four different phases.

The first phase “Planning and Prepartion” stretches from October 2011 until June 2012. During this phase a market investigation will be carried out. Different products that will be used in the next phase will also be prepared, such as memorandum of understanding, technical modules and learning agreement.

The next phase is “Test and Implementation” where products prepared in the previous phase will be tested stretches between September 2012 and April 2013. Four different periods of student mobilities will be performed during this phase.

Phase three is “Evaluation of test and implementation” and will contain evaluation of the mobility periods and the results and experience from these will form the basis for possible changes and improvements of the products previously tested. This phase stretches from April to June 2013.
The last phase is “Completion” and will be carried out between August and October 2013. During this phase, the products will be finalised and a final conference will be held.