Research in VET proves that students should be offered supplementary training in order to further develop their personal and professional competences and therefore, improve their chances of employment. Because of this, INS Escola del Treball in Lleida (Spain), follows a programme that goes beyond the compulsory training. The programme is called The Wheel of Talent as it aims to extract and foster the talent of the students. It includes a set of actions that take place during the length of their training in a chronological order, thus taking the shape of a wheel:
1. Foundation courses (September): short trainings before the start of the school year that equip students with specific knowledge and tools to face the compulsory syllabus and further challenges, such as development of transfer of innovation projects.
2. Award ceremony (October): Students awarded in last year’s ET Empren Contest (see point 8) are recognised in the event. Sponsoring companies also attend the ceremony.
3. Business Networking (October): It aims to facilitate networking between students and companies. Companies present their challenges and those students who accept the challenge are guided through the development of the project. The students and the company sign an agreement and during the development phase the company is regularly updated.
4. Speed Networking (November): During 3 minutes those students who have an idea try to convince those attending the activity. Groups are formed to work together on its development. Again, an agreement is signed.
5. Entrepreneurial pills (each month): Six micro training activities (one each month) which aim to foster transversal competences, such as creativity, communication, time management, team work, conflict resolution and effort. Again, enrolment is not compulsory.
6. Entrepreneurship week (February): Lectures, workshops, technical sessions and round tables, are offered to our students during the whole week. The week is organised under a common thread and lecturers, company managers, former students, and entrepreneurs participate explaining their ideas and experiences and giving advice.
7. Job Dating (March): Students get the chance to be interviewed by a HR service company, such as Randstad and Optima. Students are previously trained to elaborate their CV and Cover letter. Interview simulations are also organised, and when the Job Dating activity takes place, those students who volunteer, go through a real interview.
8. ET Empren Contest (June): A contest to award the best projects. Four companies sponsor the prizes. Teachers and companies evaluate the projects. The awarded students are also selected to enter the local and national project competitions. This is the last activity of the Wheel of Talent and, therefore, closes the circle.
The national law of professional qualification and training, points out the promotion of entrepreneurship to facilitate the adaptation and incorporation of students into the labor market. It also mentions the introduction of methodologies that develop work competencies and train versatile and autonomous professionals. Our Wheel of Talent is, undoubtedly, our institutional contribution to this idea.
Involvement of different stakeholders
The Wheel of Talent has currently become the flagship of INS Escola del Treball involving current and former teachers and students. It also involves institutions such as GlobaLleida, an entity of economical development and promotion. Companies are also involved as they participate in round tables during the Entrepreneurship Week, providing our students with tips on how to succeed when applying for a job. They also provide challenges for the Business Networking and sponsor the prizes of the ET Empren Contest. Students, teachers, families and administrative staff find the actions in the programme very attractive.
Students’ attendance is on a volunteer basis and due to the high demand; some of the sessions are usually duplicated. More than 100 students usually complete all the Entrepreneurship Pills and receive a certificate issued by GlobaLleida and the Education authority, which undoubtedly improves their CVs. Teachers are committed in its organization and success and look forward to the sessions, as well as families and administrative staff. Moreover, the satisfaction surveys of the activities in the Wheel of Talent score above 9 (out of 10) and all indicators show an upward trend, with encouraging comments in the open questions.
Finally, we would like to emphasize the fact that the employment rate of students after six months of graduation is also higher every year. There is no doubt that the Wheel of Talent greatly contributes to this good result.