Title Net-Working for Quality Assurance
Project Number LLP/LdV/TOI/2012/IRL – 502
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text Net-Working for QA used interagency networks to develop a culture of Quality Assurance at local, regional and national levels by transferring and adapting an interagency methodology, developed in a previous project, EQUAL YOUTH, into the area of Quality Assurance in VET. The project demonstrated the value of interagency working and promoted a commitment to and enthusiasm for QA within/between all stakeholders. The project team built interagency networks across Europe and developed a resource pack and method for use in piloting the EQAVET framework and tools within the partner countries. A training course for stakeholders in QA in i-VET and interagency working and a web site were also developed. The project operated in Ireland, Northern Ireland (UK), Italy, Romania, Finland and Spain and included organisations involved in employment, training, social research, technology and VET.
Europe’s future depends on the extent to which its citizens can face economic and social challenges. To address economic exclusion, unemployment and the education and training needs most notably of socially disadvantaged younger citizens, current EU policy advocates the progression of individual citizens through the creation and delivery of quality assured VET initiatives ‘Given the role of VET in European societies and economies, it is crucial to ensure the sustainability and excellence of vocational education and training’ (Bruges Communique 2010).
Net-Working for QA was a two year (Oct 2012 – Sept 2014) transfer of innovation project funded under the Leonardo da Vinci strand of the EUs Lifelong Learning programme. It aimed to transfer and adapt an interagency methodology, developed in the EQUAL YOUTH project (EQUAL Youth was a 3 year project led by the Ballymun Job Centre and funded under the EQUAL Community Initiative (ESF) www.equal-youth.ie ) into the area of Quality Assurance in VET.
During the project lifetime the partnership aimed to:
1.Demonstrate the value of interagency working and promote a commitment to and enthusiasm for QA within/between all stakeholders involved.
2.Map the QA frameworks, top down /bottom up approaches and interagency models across Europe.
3.Develop a resource pack and method for use in piloting the EQAVET framework and tools within the partnership countries.
4.Develop a training course for stakeholders in QA in VET and interagency working
5.Develop a web portal to support all stakeholders.
The Partnership consisted of six core organisations representing six countries:
• Northern Ireland (UK)
And included employment/training focused NGOs, a social consultancy, a technical university and a vocational training school.
Within each partner country a local interagency network (6 meetings over project lifetime), a national interagency network (3 meetings over project lifetime) and a learner network (4 meetings over project lifetime) were established.
The EQAVET model was piloted with the local interagency groups and their knowledge and experience informed the development of an NQA model, Training Course and Resource pack for wider application.
Member states are at various stages in the implementation of QA systems, including the implementation of the CQAF, the use of the EQAVET guidelines and indicators for supporting quality assurance. The Bruges Communiqué states that ‘The diversity of European VET systems is an asset for mutual learning. But transparency and a common approach to quality assurance are necessary to build up mutual trust which will facilitate mobility and recognition of skills and competences between those systems’ (Pg3). This project sought to address this by focusing on the approach to QA, which needs to include the strengthening of links between VET and labour market needs. The relevance of quality VET has never been more important for ensuring that VET graduates, particularly those educationally disadvantaged (ESL, LTU, low skilled workers) have an equal opportunity in accessing and sustaining a career in a challenging labour market. The Communiqué recommends that this can be improved by creating opportunities for enhanced cooperation ...... by promoting partnership between social partners, enterprises, education and training providers, employment services, public authorities, research organisations and other relevant stakeholders. This project sought to do this by adapting an existing interagency approach that provided the relevant stakeholders with a common language, a range of tools and a tested pilot study. Through this cooperation the partnership aimed to bridge the education and training providers, the learner support organisations and the world of work, while testing the use of already developed quality instruments (EQF, EQAVET Guidelines/Indicators) through both a bottom up (Local providers, support organisations, employers etc.)and top down (national providers, employer groups, support organisations etc.) approach.
The Partnership aimed to transfer and adapt the results of the EQUAL YOUTH Project to the area of QA in VET and pilot this approach across five partner countries. This was achieved through the following actions:
1. Transfer of the EQUAL YOUTH Model to the area of QA in VET. Communicating this to the partnership and demonstrating how the interagency approach enabled improved cooperation, commitment to and enthusiasm for quality services for young people within/between all stakeholders involved. Identification of the relevant aspects for transfer.
2. Production of a research report on Mapping Quality: Investigation of QA frameworks operating across the EU and beyond (including outcomes from the QALLL Network, the work of EQAVET, Understanding Peer Review, CEDEFOPs work on leadership), the use bottom up and/or top down approaches, and their successes/limitations, contributing towards the adaptation of the EQUAL YOUTH approach
3. Using the research report and the agreed adaptations from EQUAL YOUTH, develop and pilot an interagency model.
Produce a methodology for the model which was used as the basis for the pilot study.
4. Relevant stakeholders were invited to participate in the local interagency working groups (to meet 6 times during the project), the national interagency/advisory groups (to meet 3 times during the project) and the local learner/client groups (to meet 4 times during the project).
5. The interagency approach to quality assurance in i-VET was piloted in five partner countries: Ireland, Northern Ireland (UK), Spain, Italy and Finland using both the bottom up/top down approaches. The EQAVET framework and tools were piloted and adaptations, if required, recommended. The aim was for bottom up/top down approaches to inform policy on the application of the quality tools at both an EU and national level.
4. A training course intended for organisations, managers and practitioners on QA in i-VET, interagency working, and advice/guidelines on setting up this type of approach was developed.
5. A web site was developed which could be used as a resource for local/regional/national organisations wishing to implement interagency approaches to QA in VET, providing access to policy & practice websites, documents, resources, tools (already developed) and updates on current practice.
6. Analysis of the piloting of the interagency approach in each country provided a report outlining the recommendations for the further development of this approach on a pan-European basis.
7. Production of promotional material to disseminate and valorise the project results.
Access for disadvantaged
1. The NQA interagency model
2. The NQA Training for practitioners and Managers
3. The NQA mapping report
4. The NQA Website and Web Portal
5. Guidelines for transfer of the model
6. Report and the Effectiveness of the approach