KA2 – Strategic Partnerships in the field of Vocational Education and Training

Strategic Partnerships are international projects which support the development, transfer and/or implementation of innovative practices and joint initiatives that promote cooperation, mutual learning and exchange of experience at European level. They involve at least three organisations from 3 programme countries.

Depending on the objectives and the composition of the Strategic Partnership, projects may be of two types:

  • Strategic Partnerships supporting innovation;
  • Strategic Partnerships supporting exchange of good practices with primary goal to allow organisations to develop and reinforce networks, increase their capacity to operate at transnational level, share and confront ideas, practices and methods.

To be funded, Strategic Partnerships must address either a) at least one horizontal priority or b) at least one specific priority.

Horizontal priorities:

  • Supporting individuals in acquiring and developing basic skills and key competences, in order to foster employability and socio-educational and personal development, as well as participation in civic and social life; in a fast-changing world, this also includes language skills, entrepreneurial mind-set, critical thinking and creativity, as well as forward-looking skills in fields that are strategic for smart economic and social development. This priority will include, among others, actions to: develop partnerships between learning institutions, businesses and intermediary bodies; support work-based learning; improve the quality and effectiveness of learning mobility experiences; support effective and innovative pedagogies, teaching, assessment and learning environments; apply competence-based approaches and assess their quality, impact and relevance; promote interdisciplinary co-operation in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STE(A)M) fields; support the development of national and cross-country sectoral skills strategies. This can contribute to higher quality of education and training and support permeability between the different education and training pathways.
  • Social inclusion: priority will be given to actions that help address diversity and promote –in particular through innovative and integrated approaches– ownership of shared values, equality, including gender equality, and non-discrimination and social inclusion, including for people with health-related conditions, through education, training, youth and sport activities. The Programme will support projects that aim to foster the development of social, civic and intercultural competences, online safety and digital well-being, and tackle discrimination, segregation, racism, bullying (including cyberbullying), violence, fake news and other forms of online misinformation. The Programme will also sup-port and assess new approaches to reducing disparities in access to and engagement with digital technologies in formal and non-formal education. Particular attention will be given to addressing gender differences in relation to the access and use of digital technologies and the uptake of studies and careers in ICT by female students.
  • Open education and innovative practices in a digital era: priority will be given to actions that promote innovative pedagogies and methods for teaching, learning and assessment, and that support educators and learners to use digital technologies in creative, collaborative and efficient ways. Priority will be given to supporting educational and training institutions to take up digital technologies as set out in the European Framework for Digitally Competent Educational Organisations, and the Digital Education Action Plan, including in particular the use of the SELFIE self-reflection tool for general education and VET schools at all levels. A further priority will be updating and developing digital learning materials and tools, in particular Open Educational Resources, open textbooks, and Free and Open Source Educational Software, as well as supporting the effective use of digital technologies and open pedagogies in education, training, youth and sport. This will include fostering synergies with research and innovation activities, and therefore includes Open Science and promoting new technologies as drivers of improvements in education, training, youth and sport policies and practices. The Programme will also support new teaching methods and tools and the use of the European frameworks on the digital competence of educators, citizens and organisations.
  • Supporting educators: priority will be given to actions that strengthen the recruitment, selection and professional development of educators (e.g. teachers, trainers, professors, tutors, mentors, coaches), youth workers, educational leaders (e.g. school heads, rectors, department heads) and support staff (e.g. teaching assistants, career counsellors, human resource specialists in companies) as well as to actions supporting high-quality and innovative teaching and learner assessment. This includes professional development on such issues as communication, collaboration and ex-change among educators, linking education with research and innovation, work-based and informal learning, dealing with early school leaving, supporting learners from disadvantaged backgrounds, and dealing with cultural and linguistic diversity.
  • Transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications: priority will be given to actions that support learning and labour mobility and facilitate transitions between different levels and types of education and training, between education/training and the world of work, and between different jobs. Priority will be given to actions enabling and promoting automatic mutual recognition, as well as transparency and comparability of qualifications and learning outcomes, including through the provision of better services and information/guidance on skills and qualifications. This includes promoting innovative solutions to improve recognition and supporting the validation –at local, regional, national or European/international level– of competences acquired through informal and non-formal learning, including the use of digital badges and blockchain technologies.
  • Sustainable investment, quality and efficiency of education, training and youth systems: priority will be given to actions supporting the implementation of the Investment Plan for Europe, including by promoting funding models attracting private actors and capital such as the European Student Loan Guarantee Facility; supporting the development of evidence-based policies and reforms that aim at delivering quality education and training more efficiently; exploring innovative ways to ensure sustainable investment in education, training and youth, including performance-based fund-ing and cost-sharing, where appropriate.
  • Social and educational value of European cultural heritage, its contribution to job creation, economic growth and social cohesion: priority will be given to actions contributing to raising awareness of the importance of Europe’s cultural heritage through education, lifelong learning, informal and non-formal learning, youth as well as sport, including actions to support skills development, social inclusion, critical thinking and youth engagement. New participatory and intercultural approaches to heritage, as well as educational initiatives aimed at fostering intercultural dialogue involving teachers and pupils from an early age will be promoted.

Detailed information on horizontal priorities (higher education, school education, vocational education and training, adult education, field of youth) is available here.

In the field of vocational education and training (VET), priority will be given to:

  • Developing partnerships supporting the setting up and implementation of internationalisation strategies for VET providers, aimed at putting in place the necessary support mechanisms as well as contractual frameworks to promote quality mobility of VET staff and learners85, including the recognition of their learning outcomes; developing student support services to foster VET internationalisation and learner mobility, through actions aimed at informing, motivating, preparing and facilitating the social integration of the VET learner in the host country, while enhancing their intercultural awareness and active citizenship;

 

  • Developing partnerships aimed at promoting work-based learning in all its forms, and in particular for the implementation of the Council Recommendation on a European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships86. These partnerships can also aim at developing new training content and Joint VET qualifications, that integrate periods of work-based learning, including opportunities to apply knowledge in practical workplace situations, and embedding international mobility experience whenever possible;

 

  • Increasing the quality in VET through the establishment of feedback loops to adapt VET provision, including by setting-up or testing graduate tracking arrangements as part of quality assurance systems in line with the Council Recommendation on tracking graduates, and the Recommendation on the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET);

 

  • Enhancing access to training and qualifications for all, with a particular attention to the low-skilled, through continuing VET, notably by increasing quality, supply and accessibility of continuing VET, validation of non-formal and informal learning, promoting work-place learning, providing for efficient and integrated guidance services and flexible and permeable learning pathways; includes developing partnerships between micro, small and medium sized companies and VET providers aimed at promoting joint competences centres, learning networks, support to pooling of resources, and providing initial and/or continuing training to their staff;

 

  • Further strengthening key competences in initial and continuing VET (in particular literacy, numeracy, digital, as well as languages) including common methodologies for introducing those competences in curricula, as well as for acquiring, delivering and assessing the learning outcomes of those curricula;

 

  • Supporting the uptake of innovative approaches and digital technologies for teaching and learning, as outlined in the Digital Education Action Plan, including the effective use of the SELFIE self-reflection tool to support a comprehensive approach to innovation, and the use of digital technologies for pedagogical, administrative, technical and organisational change;

 

  • Introducing systematic approaches to, and opportunities for, the initial and continuous professional development of VET teachers, trainers and mentors in both school and work-based settings (including apprenticeships), including through the development of effective digital, open and innovative education and pedagogies, as well as practical tools;

 

  • Developing sustainable partnerships to establish and/or further develop national, regional and sectoral skills competitions organisations, as a form of raising the attractiveness and excellence in VET. These partnerships could also develop and support the arrangements for the preparation, training and participation of VET learners and staff in international, national, regional and sectoral skills competitions, while working closely together with businesses, VET providers, chambers and other relevant stakeholders.

 

What are the activities supported in a strategic partnership?

Over the lifetime of a project, and depending on the type of Strategic Partnership, projects may typically realise a broad range of activities, for example:

  • activities that strengthen the cooperation and networking between organisations;
  • testing and/or implementation of innovative practices in the field of education
  • activities that facilitate the recognition and validation of knowledge, skills and competences acquired through formal, non-formal and informal learning;
  • activities of cooperation between regional authorities to promote the development of education
  • activities to support learners with disabilities/special needs to complete education cycles and facilitate their transition into the labour market, including by combating segregation and discrimination in education for marginalised communities;
  • activities to better prepare and deploy the education and training of professionals for equity, diversity and inclusion challenges in the learning environment;
  • activities to promote the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and newly arrived migrants and raise awareness about the refugee crisis in Europe;
  • transnational initiatives fostering entrepreneurial mind-sets and skills.

Strategic Partnerships may also organise transnational learning, teaching and training activities of individuals, in so far as they bring added value in the achievement of the project’s objectives.

 

Who can participate in a Strategic Partnership?

The participating organisations can be secondary vocational schools, either public or private (private schools must be accredited by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia), and any other organisations active in the field of education, training and youth: institute/educational centre; a non-profit organisation, association, NGO; a public or private, a small, medium or large enterprise (including social enterprises); a public body at local, regional or national level; a social partner or other representative of working life, including chambers of commerce, industry, craft/professional associations and trade unions; a cultural organisation, library, museum; etc.

 

How to apply?

To submit an Erasmus+ project, applicants must follow the four steps described below:

  • Each organisation involved in the application must register in the Participant Portal and receive a Participant Identification Code (PIC). Organisations/groups that have already obtained a PIC through their participation in other EU programmes do not need to register again. The PIC obtained from this previous registration is valid also for applying under Erasmus;
  • check the compliance with the Programme criteria for the relevant Action/field;
  • check the financial conditions;
  • fill in and submit the application form.

To register in the Participant Portal, the person representing an organisation (or an informal group of young people) must carry out the following steps:

  •  Create an EU login account (unless the person representing the organisation/group already has an account). For more information consult ECAS user manual;
  • Access the Participant Portal and register on behalf of the organisation/group. The organisation/group need to register only once in the Participant Portal. Once the registration is completed, the organisation/group will obtain a Participant Identification Code (PIC). The PIC, which is a unique identifier and is necessary for the submission of applications, enables the organisation/group to fill-in the Erasmus+ electronic application forms in a simpler manner (i.e. by inserting the PIC number in the form, all the information provided by the organisation/group at registration stage will be automatically displayed in the form).

At the time of the registration, organisations must also upload the following documents in the Participant Portal: the Legal Entity form and the Financial Identification form. Each form must not exceed 6Mb. It is advisable that each document is scanned original in pdf format.

Step-by-step guide to submitting project application is available here.

 

How to find partners?

You can use some of the following resources:

The School Education Gateway is Europe’s online platform for school education, currently available in 23 EU languages, intended to provide everything that teachers need in terms of information, learning and professional development, peer support and networking, collaborative project and mobility opportunities, policy insights etc. The SEG offers a wide range of content, such as good practices from European projects; monthly blog contributions and video interviews of European school education experts; online courses for teachers to help tackle topical classroom challenges; resources such as teaching materials, tutorials and the European Toolkit for Schools; information on school education policies; topical news and events; etc. It offers special tools to support teachers and school staff in finding training and mobility opportunities for professional development (on-site courses, job shadowing, teaching assignments etc), which can be funded under Erasmus+ Key Action 1.

eTwinning is a community of teachers from pre-primary to upper secondary schools, hosted on a secure platform accessible only to teachers vetted by national authorities. eTwinning promotes school collaboration and school networking in Europe through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). It provides advice, ideas and tools to make it easy for schools to set up partnerships and start collaborative projects in any subject area.

 

What are the funding rules?

The budget of the project must be drafted according to the following funding rules:

  • Project management and implementation – planning, finances, coordination and communication between partners, small scale learning/teaching/training materials, information, promotion and dissemination (e.g. brochures, leaflets, web information, etc.)
  • Transnational project meetings;
  • Travel, individual support;
  • Special needs support;
  • Linguistic support;
  • Intellectual outputs;
  • Multiplier events;
  • Exceptional costs (subcontracting or purchase of goods and services).

More information on Strategic Partnership projects in the field of school education is available here and in the Erasmus+ programme guide.

 

For additional information please contact Group for schools, pre-schools and adult education at Foundation Tempus:

Foundation Tempus

Group for schools, pre-schools and adult education

Ruze Jovanovic 27a, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia

Tel/fax: +381 11 3342 430

schools-vet@tempus.ac.rs

www.erasmusplus.rs 

Useful links:

School Education Gateway

eTwinning

EU Login

EU Login guide 

Link for obtaining PIC number 

Legal entity identification form

Legal entity financial identification form

Erasmus+ programme guide 

A practical guide for school leaders

European Commission 

Last modified: April 12, 2019



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