Strengthening vocational education and training by providing training staff with future-oriented training

Hubert Ertl

Dear readers

Training and teaching staff play a crucial role in young people’s transition from school to the world of work. During the course of this transition, they help learners to equip themselves with the right tools to pursue a purposeful occupational activity and also create the conditions for career-long learning. Studies and field reports provide evidence of just how important training staff are for the quality of vocational education and training and for the learning experience of trainees. This issue of BWP therefore focuses on the acquisition and training of VET staff.

Linking continuing training provision and networking

Topics such as digitalisation, sustainability and the growing heterogeneity of learners are creating new challenges for training staff in terms of structuring training processes. Particular challenges were also produced by the contact restrictions necessitated by coronavirus. Against this background, the main focus needs to be on training provision for trainers which links continuing training formats and systematic networking. As well as including content-related and professional aspects, training provision must especially also foster the methodological and pedagogical competencies of training staff, for example when dealing with increasingly heterogenous training groups. This requirement constitutes an important starting point for the forthcoming revision of the general training plan for the Ordinance on Trainer Aptitude (AEVO), which in a sense governs the minimum standards for company-based trainers.

When training measures are developed, particular attention should be accorded to the assessments and experiences of VET staff. This is the only method of effectively identifying training needs.

Fostering of media competences as a target dimension

In light of the current trends in the training system, the development of media education competences should be a target dimension in the design of training provision. Media education concepts are the foundation via which training staff will be able to usefully integrate digital media into company-based training. Relevant studies indicate the risk that training staff at companies which have a low level of digital competences may become detached from these developments.

The newly launched continuing training concept MIKA (Media and IT competence for training staff) offers support to company-based training staff with the deployment of digital technologies in teaching and learning processes. Guided practically related exercises, which contribute to the development of media education competences via a balanced combination of face-to-face sessions, webinars and phases of self-directed learning, form one core element of the provision. The seminars are embedded in a learning platform that has been developed and trialled over the past few years and are supplemented by an advanced training programme for MIKA trainers.

The MIKA continuing training concept represents an example of future-oriented further development of the support and training structure for training staff. Given the enduring severity of the shortage of young skilled workers and the necessity of enhancing the quality and attractiveness of VET, we can only hope that this training provision has a broad effect.

Prof Dr. Hubert Ertl
Vice-President and Director of Research of BIBB

Translation from the German original (published in BWP 4/2022): Martin Kelsey, GlobalSprachTeam, Berlin