The University Technical College (UTC) in Crewe, United Kingdom, played host to the First joint-staff training activity of the Erasmus+ KA2 Project: Filling the Skills Gap of European VET Learners (EROVET+).

The activity took place form the 10th-14th February and gathered staff from the eight VET training centers that are partners of the project: INS Escola del Treball from Spain, Ortakoy 80.YIL Meleski ve Teknik Anadolu Lisesi from Turkey, Escola Profissional Amar Terra Verde from Portugal, Directorate of Secondary Education of Rodopi from Greece, Vocational Education and Training Centre Zirmunai from Lithuania, Istituto Tecnico Commerciale Statale e per Geometri “Aulo Ceccato from Italy, Crewe UTC from the UK and Lycée General Technique Gaston Berger from France.

A total of 20 participants were involved in the activity and they were given the chance to work on one of the outcomes of the project: The Managerial Skills Course for VET learners and graduates. It is expected that the course will provide European learners with the necessary skills to manage teams and projects as well as managing their own personal development, thus enabling them to access better employment and careers. The project partners are aware that European VET learners face a lack of training in this issue and it is expected that this course will cover a gap, which businesses increasingly require. Some working sessions were devoted to work on the content, methodology and evaluation of the course and a final draft proposal was developed. Work is ongoing from partners to ensure a final version is ready to be piloted in Portugal in 2021.

During the visit, participants were afforded the opportunity to visit the UTC, engage with staff and understand students project activities from their inspiring presentations.

The UTC model works upon building and sustaining relationships with businesses in the area- specifically specialising in the fields of Engineering and Design, which are the main sectors of focus for the UTC in Crewe. Students then work alongside employer partners in a number of ways; preparing them well for their future careers and the world of work.

Visits to successful businesses also formed part of the agenda including a guided tour of Siemens Congleton and a presentation from the Managing Director of Senior Aerospace Bird Bellows. Participants also benefitted from a visit to AO Logistics in Crewe. During each business visit- partners gained a better insight into recruitment, development and management of people in different ways, suited to the needs of the different businesses and sectors.

 As well as showcasing the multi-million pound investment into the UTC, participants also visited two other nationally recognised colleges within the Cheshire East region- including Reaseheath College, a national land based college and enjoying the formal dinner at the award-winning Academy Restaurant at Cheshire College South, which lives out the EROVET+ values of supporting young people and their skills development through practical experience.

Attendees also gained an insight into the work of various agencies and organisations to support young people into suitable careers- such as The Careers and Enterprise Company focus on achieving the Gatsby Benchmarks as a quality assurance of work related learning and careers education, as well as other presentations pertinent to the outcome supporting the development of project, personal and people management skills.

Overall, it proved to be an inspiring start to the EROVET+ programme of activities. We are all excited to progress our work together, next in Italy, to ensure better opportunities and practice for young people across each of our respective nations.

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