Because the number of students entering vocational education is dropping Aarhus Municipality in Denmark invests a lot of time and money to attract more students to vocational education. This is a complex and difficult task Marina Stannov from the municipality informs the partners of PROGRESS the strategie and activities that has been realised during the last couple of years and their plans for the near future.
She presented some importants that should be taken into account when schools and governments are working on this issue:
- Framework matters (national regulation, city council decisions etc.)
- Framing matters (what / whose problem we are trying to solve)
- Local initiatives / local collaboration can make a positive difference
- Previous initiatives haven’t proved sustainable in the long run – but
present initiatives can build on their foundations / activities
The first phase of the activities started in 2018 and was mainly a bottom up approach. The main goal was to introduce activities of vocational education to youngster of 13/14 years old (grade 8 and 9) within all kinds of subjects (like match). The municipality funded these activities for almost four years. More then half of the schools participated (10.000 students) and students and teachers were positive about it, but thecosts of investment were relatively high and as a result of the temporality funding is was not very sustainable.
During the next phase which started with a national regulation (2018) intending to make students familiar with Vocational Education through practical teaching and enhanced cooperation. This second phase was funded only for the indirect costs. Practical training with VET subjects for grade 8 and 9 students became a new teaching concept and schools got more flexibility implementing qualifications.
Towards an integrated approach
The results of these two phases in terms of the increase of students entering VET were not enough. That is the reason that they starting with a more integrated approach in 2022. This approach is based on four elements including enhanced school / VE-collaboration and school-business collaboration:
- Making it visible
- Working with Authentic problems
- Schoolsubjects from practice
- Educational knowledge
The purpose of practical training
Strengthening children’s and young people’s learning and their prerequisites for choosing youth education through teaching with an outlook to working life that
- Gives opportunity to explore and experience the world students are part of.
- Stimulates curiosity and insight into strengths, interests and dreams.
- Helps understanding and recognition of other people’s interests and
- Provides a different kind of teaching that contributes to a better balance between a bookish and practical school day.
Goals for collaboration and practical training
- Throughout school students must experience teaching that is – in various ways – based on authentic problems, shows the school’s subjects in real life and provides knowledge about working life and education.
- The students’ various needs are accommodated, so that
the teaching creates positive learning experiences.
- The students gain a broad knowledge of jobs and educational opportunities and gain insight into what their own interests can be used for.
Principles for collaboration on practical teaching
- Are developed and carried out in collaboration (Co-creation)
- Span a wide range of subjects in school and vocational educations
- Cover grades 0-9 with continuous coherence and progression
- Meet criteria for school’s subjects – or are adjusted
- Must be easy to book and use, and appear unified – visually,
organizationally and practically. All activities must be described in a
common template (Plug and Play)
‘Throughout school students must experience teaching that is – in various
ways – based on authentic problems, shows the school’s subjects in real life
and provides knowledge about working life and education’
Throughout school students must experience teaching that is – in various ways – based on authentic problems, shows the school’s subjects in real life and provides knowledge about working life and education’
This new approach based on
- Stakeholders – shared understanding of WHY and HOW
- More ‘holistic’ approach / focus on synergy
- Students – early start, focus on familiarity / foundation not choice
- Schools – activities with relevant content and easy access
- Working towards more predictable funding and demand
- Organization – working towards better anchoring / sustainability
should work. In a couple of years it will be clear if this approach leads to the results we are aiming at: more students entering VET-schools and he labour market that that are desperate looking for new workers.
Interested in the original presentation of Marina Stannov formt he municipality of Aarhus: download presentation.