Excellence in work based learning

Work-based learning in centres of vocational excellence

The initiative focuses on how centres of vocational excellence (CoVEs) can support work-based learning in companies.

Work-based learning is a key aspect of education-business collaboration, which is one of the eight priority thematic areas for the ETF's Network for Excellence. Cooperation and coordination between schools and employers is at the core of successful work-based learning.

The six countries involved in this initiative are Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Moldova, North Macedonia and Kazakhstan.

How does it work?

Through the development of partnerships between EU and non-EU centres of vocational excellence.

Coaching and peer learning activities are offered to the members of the network by other centres of excellence located in the EU, specifically in the Baltic countries, through the Latvian Vocational Education Association.

Why the Baltic countries?  

  • Recent experience in system reform: introduction of more and high-quality work-based learning
  • VET systems based on a strategic partnership between public authorities and social partners
  • Strong institutions with excellent practice in school – business cooperation (e.g. VET school in Ogre/Latvia)
  • Transnational cooperation: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania established the Baltic Alliance for Apprenticeships (BAfA)
  • Joined forces in two consecutive Erasmus+ programmes: (1) National Authorities for Apprenticeships: Implementing Work-Based Learning in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – WBL Balt (2014–17); and (2) Testing New Approaches to Training VET and Workplace Tutors for Work-Based Learning – TTT4WBL (2017–20)

Baseline study

In 2021, the Latvian Vocational Education Association (PIB) and the ETF carried out a study of work-based learning implementation in seven CoVEs in the six countries mentioned above (two centres were involved in Kazakhstan). See the summary paper published in 2021 in EN, FR and RU: The role of centres of vocational excellence in work-based learning: Initial findings from a study based on practices from six ETF partner countries

Work-based learning is offered in all six countries, but its implementation differs from country to country. The study aimed to map current practices in the seven CoVEs and identify strengths, challenges and opportunities for cooperation and development.

The study has been supplemented by a number of coaching sessions. Coaching and peer-to-peer learning activities are offered to the participants in the initiative by other CoVEs located in the European Union (EU), specifically Latvia and other Baltic countries (2022), through the PIB (Latvian VET providers association). These activities have been provided by using multiple contacts within public authorities, business associations, chambers, employers, schools, etc. in the Baltic countries. The seven centres also have access to proven tools and methodologies.

The CoVEs involved in this project represent a variety of sectors, namely:

  • Hospitality and Tourism School of Tirana, Albania
  • Vayots Dzor Regional State College, Armenia
  • College of Modern Technologies in Mechanical Engineering and Car Servicing, affiliated to the Republican Institute for Vocational Education, Belarus
  • APEC PetroTechnic Higher College LLP, Kazakhstan
  • Nur-Sultan Polytechnic College, IT Competence Centre, Kazakhstan
  • Kiro Burnaz secondary vocational school in Kumanovo, North Macedonia
  • Centre of Excellence in Construction, Moldova.

What comes next (2022)?

  • A peer learning activity in Latvia in spring 2022
  • Analysis of progress made by all participants and analysis of strengths, weaknesses, barriers and enablers for progress in work-based learning and for transmission of practice

For more information, join our online community on Open Space.

See also:

Coaching session on career education

Coaching session on motivating and involving companies in work-based learning

How do we assess the professional orientation of students in Latvia?

First cycle of virtual coaching sessions on the implementation of work-based learning ended with useful insights and high evaluation

Vocational excellence platform of good practices – ENE