A delegation of further education colleagues travelled to Vienna, Austria between 19-23 June 2023 to explore the training and upskilling of vocational education and training (VET) practitioners. The visit was organised by ColegauCymru using Erasmus+ funding.
Focusing on the dual professionalism of VET staff in Austria, the aim of the visit was to inform the current work being undertaken in Wales on professional learning in the post-16 sector.
The delegation consisted of senior staff from 10 FE colleges in Wales, ColegauCymru staff and representatives from Welsh Government, Estyn and the Education Workforce Council (EWC). The programme of presentations, meetings and discussions was organised by Marie Keller from Internationaler Fachkrafteaustausch/International Young Workers’ Exchange (The IFA Association).
We visited several key organisations including:
- WKO, the Austrian Economic Chamber in Vienna
- Padagogoische Hoschule Wien, the organisation responsible for training teachers in Initial Vocational Education and Training (IVET) schools
- IBW Austria that undertakes research and development work in the VET sector
- WIFI – the educational centre of the Chamber of Commerce which is responsible for the training of the in-house apprentice trainers (based in companies)
The delegation also had the opportunity to visit a vocational college that specialised in Horticulture and Floristry. The facilities at the college were particularly impressive, with the college Principal warmly welcoming the group, leading a guided tour of the campus and answering many questions.
ColegauCymru European and International Project Manager, Siân Holleran, said:
We were delighted to visit Vienna to explore the Austrian VET system with a focus on the training and upskilling of staff within the sector. This provides us with a point of comparison when discussing the professional learning of VET staff in Wales. We’re grateful to the International Young Workers’ Exchange (IFA) who have pulled together a packed itinerary of activities.
Bryony Evett-Hackfort, Director of Learning, Teaching, Technology and Skills at Coleg Sir Gâr/Coleg Ceredigion, commented:
The opportunity has been incredibly thought provoking and inspiring. The comprehensive programme was excellent and being given the chance to explore one topic from multiple viewpoints has given such a depth of understanding to things that work and those that don't. The openness and transparency of all those we spoke with means that there are real and tangible ideas to bring home. I really appreciated the level of accessibility we were given and the encouragement to critically question and look beyond the rose-tinted glasses of another way of doing things
Siân Holleran, European and International Project Manager