Conference on Vocational Education and Training

Monday 5th Jan 2009

The conference was attended by representatives from Finland, France, Turkey, Poland and Germany, Darlington was represented by Councillors Chris McEwan and Tom Nutt and also Elain Richardson, Advisory Headteacher with Darlington Borough Council and Nigel Davison from South West Durham Training Centre (SWDT) at Newton Aycliffe.

SWDT have been involved with an exchange project with Siemens in Mülheim for a number of years. The aims of the conference were to encourage networking between partners, develop ways of exchanging information at an international level and to develop joint projects.
The conference was opened by Deputy Mayor Renate aus der Beek and a paper was circulated "Intoduction of vocational/training schemes in the twin towns". This was followed by 3 workshops:

  • Workshop 1: Hard- and netware (Cisco).
  • Workshop 2: Qualifications / Initial requirements / Contractors / Employment Market.
  • Workshop 3: Internship abroad and project opportunities (co-operation).

Nigel Davison was able to use his experience of the exchange programme to suggest ways for partners to set up their own exchange programmes. It became clear that there is a need for partners to be able to exchange information using a VLE.

Chris McEwan took the lead offering to collect and circulate email contact details.
The outcomes from the workshops were presented and the presentations were followed by a panel discussion and discussions about the adoption of a joint agreement. Conference delegates were invited to attend the Festival of Cultures, organised within the framework of the European Week. In the evening they were taken on a guided tour of the Landscape Park Duisburg-North.

Following the conference, Elaine Richardson has held talks with Carmel RC College which is a Cisco Academy, and Steve Pace from the E-Learning Centre in Darlington.
Steve has been able to suggest a way that partners can access a VLE which will enable them to exchange resources and set up a blog to enable staff to post queries and suggest answers. This would support international student exchanges.

Approaches have also been made to an examination board to look at ways of accrediting skills achieved on international exchanges.

Report and Photos By: Elain Richardson

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