Title Concept and content of a profession based on learning outcomes for occupational travellers using the example of "showman" on the basis of the European Quality Framework EQF
Project Number DE/11/LLP-LdV/TOI/147403
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
For those who are constantly on the road receiving education is a difficult task – that is evident not only in case of young showmen's school education but also in their vocational training.
In Germany the vocational college 'Berufskolleg für Wirtschaft und Verwaltung der Stadt Herne' offers a target group-oriented programme for young showmen: 'Bekosch' (Berufliche Kompetenz für Schausteller - professional skills for showmen) combines courses in the winter months with e-learning lessons and distance learning units during the travelling period in summer.
This vocational programme has now been enlarged as a catalogue of skills and learning units for the profession of 'showman' and transferred to Herford, Ham/France and Gloucester/United Kingdom.
Education of young showmen constantly travelling for their business faces great problems because our educational systems are aligned with resident students. Often young showmen are integrated in the family business to contribute to the business success. Their vocational training is traditionally led by the principle of 'learning by doing' in the family-owned enterprise. However, professional know-how of technical and commercial subjects will be a decisive criterion whether a showman's business will be competitive or not.
Within the EU the current situation is perceived as inadequate so that the project ett-edu (european transfer of travellers´ vocational education) was aimed to improve this situation decisively.
Aims and results
1. Transfer of existing training programmes:
The concept of 'Bekosch' of the Vocational College in Herne was adapted and introduced to the partner institutions although difficult conditions prevented the installation of a pilot course in the Lycée Peltier/FR. But it became clear in Herford/DE and Gloucester/GB that the showmen indeed are very interested in vocational courses that are specifically adapted to their needs.
2. Learning outcomes approach in the vocational education for showmen:
The showmen's associations ESU, DSB and BSM participating in ett-edu drafted the model for the work of a showman as guidance for the project realization. This European model – based on the EQF - is the basis for the catalogue of commercial qualification modules required for running a fairground business that was designed during ett-edu. This educational framework consists of 10 learning units in three levels (EQF 2-4) and combines traditional training units such as “Purchasing Goods” with showmen-specific modules which are concerned with Event Management, Start-up Business, and Corporate Governance – a unique combination unknown so far in other programmes.
3. Creation of acceptance among the target group and among educational facilities:
Communication work constituted one focus of the project because many showmen think vocational training in college unnecessary. ett-edu tried to dispel any reservations in this respect and promoted the educational acceptance of the target group. Many publications accompanied the project, e.g. a film on one of the biggest German public channels. Furthermore, ett-edu improved the cooperation between colleges/inspectorates on one side and showmen/associations on the other side.
The acronym 'ett-edu' stands for 'European transfer of travellers´ vocational education'.
All countries participating in ett-edu face the similar situation of an inadequate schooling of young occupational travellers. Therefore, the participating educational institutions along with showmen's associations and the state school board have used their current approaches and experiences in order to search for ways to improve training opportunities for young people who had been deprived till now.
The professional activities of showmen are no longer limited to their home country. Christmas markets all over Europe which are served by German showmen demonstrate clearly that working in Europe is part of everyday life, so that the European perspective of an EU project – given the internationalization of their own activities – is no longer unfamiliar even in our quite traditional target group.
The vocational college 'Berufskolleg für Wirtschaft und Verwaltung der Stadt Herne' already provides the training programme 'Bekosch' for about 10 years. Bekosch is especially designed for young showmen. Here courses in the winter months are closely linked to e-learning lessons and distance-learning units during the travelling period in the summertime. In cooperation with the vocational college Friedrich-List-Berufskolleg in Herford, the French and British schools Lycée Peltier in Ham and the Gloucestershire College in Gloucester those modules were being adapted, supplemented, and systematized, in order to realize pilot courses in Herford, France, and Great Britain. The project has been supported officially by the county governments Bezirksregierung Arnsberg und Detmold and by the Académie Amiens.
The target group has a very sceptical stance towards education. This proved to be a great obstacle for the transfer of the concept of the Vocational College in Herne to the French and British Colleges. Besides, it turned out to be a critical fact that neither England nor France have had well-established structures of cooperation of official authorities and showmen's associations in the area of vocational education, and that furthermore both countries don't know mandatory vocational schooling, so that the participation in courses is only based on perspicacity and free will.
Especially in France the gathering of participants for the pilot course, for which units were planned in French, mathematics, business administration, welding, and glassware industry, proved to be very difficult. The main reasons were showmen’s prejudices concerning national biased interests about the educational efforts. Particularly the French showmen's associations vehemently rejected the pilot courses. A further problem was the remote geographical situation of the Lycée with poor public transport links (the fact that the Lycée was a boarding school was insignificant, because parents only wanted day schools).
The commercially oriented pilot course in the Friedrich-List-Berufskolleg in Herford was successfully implemented from 7th until 18th of January 2013 with 7 young showmen from the regions of eastern Westphalia and southern Lower Saxony. In spite of the established cooperation between school supervisory authorities, the competent teachers for the children of showmen ("Bereichslehrer"), and the showmen's associations in Germany and in addition to the great interest previously mentioned by showmen of the eastern Westphalia region and southern Lower Saxony, even here the 2-week commercially oriented pilot course in Herford has not been fulfilled without any difficulties. This was chiefly due to the lacking responsibility for the compulsory nature of participation and the heterogeneity of the group, especially the different educational backgrounds. The pupils were taught English, typing, business administration, and commercial law and finance as well as basics in MS Word in the vocational college in Herford. In spite of the problems mentioned above the great interest of the institutions in Lower Saxony and the inquiries of interested persons during the preparations for the course have shown that there is indeed a great demand for a specific offer of vocational education in eastern Westphalia and southern Lower Saxony, so that all participants – students and teachers - considered its lasting development and installation as useful and desirable.
In Gloucester the funding proved to be the principal problem. That their transfer project finally was a great success was mainly due to the EU project funding of ett-edu, because the welding course (with recognised certificate) exactly matched the needs of the showmen and furthermore the pilot course brought them significant financial advantages, as it were offered free of charge.
Vision statement and educational framework
Occupational travellers need a flexible design of the vocational training, which is focussed more on outcomes than on regularly attending school. The showmen's associations ESU, DSB and BSM participating in ett-edu drafted the model for a job related to the field of the work of a showman as guidance for the project realization, at the same time summing up the reasons for the vocational training of young showmen. This model was the basis for the catalogue of skills required for running a fairground business that was designed during ett-edu. This educational framework consists of 10 learning units in the EQF-levels 2 till 4 whose three categories Knowledge, Skills, Competences consider the specific requirements of the profession of showmen. The modular vocational concept of ett-edu is inspired by the German dual vocational training, the catalogue of professional competencies/skills contains blended-learning elements and is oriented towards learning outcomes. The focus on learning outcomes means, that informal learning is treated equal to learning at school. It combines traditional training units such as Purchasing of Goods with showmen-specific modules which are concerned with Event Management, Start-up Business, and Corporate Governance – a unique combination unknown so far in other professions. The modularization of the programme, the design of the learning units as coherent packaging makes trainings flexible and reusable and their updating easy – an optimal concept for young occupational travellers in fairground business.
Project work and dissemination
Crucial prerequisite for the success of the project was and is the significant support by the German and European showmen's associations, because many showmen think that their children's traditional 'learning by doing' in family business not accompanied by vocational training in college is sufficient. Besides, it turned out to be a critical fact that neither England nor France do know mandatory vocational schooling, so that the participation in courses is only based on perspicacity and free will.
A majority of project activities were aimed therefore to address and remove reservations and to promote the educational acceptance of the target group. This especially included the improvement of the cooperation between schools and supervising authorities on one side, and the showmen and their associations on the other.
The project work of ett-edu was supported and accompanied by numerous publications. E.g. the WDR, one of the largest public programmes in Germany, broadcasted a television feature about the vocational efforts in favour of the young showmen. All in all, a notable success regarding sustainability is that ett-edu has been triggering the discussion of French showmen's associations regarding the problem of vocational education. The Showmen‘s Guild in Great Britain has also initiated concrete measures. In Germany the process to offer programmes designed for the target group, which started a few years ago, has made progress by ett-edu.
The website http://www.ett-edu.eu represents the project externally and has been up-dated continuously. An internet based communication platform was used for communication within the partnership.
Project evaluation by the Ruhr-Universität Bochum
The university Ruhruniversität Bochum, department of business computer science, was responsible for support in research and evaluation.
The evaluation of the project ett-edu by the Chair of Business Informatics at the Ruhr-University Bochum dealt with the project work as well as with the impact of the project results on the target group. Aims and concept of the evaluation implied both formative and summative evaluation methodologies, which have made possible process evaluation (e.g. for the timely detection of problems in project work), product evaluation (regarding the actual project results), and the examination and confirmation whether the objectives had been reached by the project partnership as a whole and by individual project participants. The evaluation aimed at:
(1) Project management support
(2) Assessment of the success of the project
(3) Increase of the project flexibility and efficiency
(4) Fulfilment of the requirements to the evaluation by the European Commission
In a total of four investigative phases both the areas of Project Management /Project Partnership as well as the 2013 Pilot Classes, the European Educational Curriculum for travellers according to EQR/ECVET and the effects on the target group were assessed.
Priorities were set on the collection of data from standardized assessments of the project participants and teachers and students of the pilot courses by way of online surveys (in 2 investigative phases 6/2012 und 1-4/2013). In addition the colleagues of the RUB chair of business information technology assessed the project events and results as external observers. Moreover qualitative questionings in structured interviews were conducted with teachers and students, which basically strengthened the fair statements of the online survey.
Results of the evaluation:
The ett-edu project has allowed young showmen to participate in vocational programmes, to improve their personal and business prospects and to shape their profession sustainably.
From the outlined evaluation results valuable conclusions can be drawn for a lasting development of the results achieved in the Leonardo da Vinci project ett-edu:
- The cooperation of schools, supervisory authorities and professional associations has proved its worth and is indispensable for a lasting installation of educational efforts in German and European partner schools. This cooperation should be maintained and developed further on in those European countries where this isn't common practice.
- For vocational education designed for a target group provision of funds and staff is necessary for a lasting establishment of educational opportunities for showmen. Teachers have to have outstanding commitment, enthusiasm and strong identification with the new programme.
- The elaborated concept of flexible instruction modules, which are valid throughout Europe, has a promising future and will guarantee the results with a lasting effect. As demanded in the EQF informal learning in a showman’s business must be of the same value as the classic teaching forms.
- The prerequisite for a multifaceted modular system is a high degree of acceptance and willingness of the young showmen to participate in such training courses. The more multifaceted the range of vocational education and the more options to choose from, the more students are requested – or there will be serious financial questions and problems to organise and justify the quantity and cost of the many required different courses.
- Such a concept may also prove promising at the European level, because modular concepts for other sectors that connect school- and company-based parts are common in many European countries. Such models have accordingly the secure legal basis of the national school authorities. The EQF-based vocational education system designed by ett-edu may consequently be the first step for a skilled occupation for the profession of 'showman' recognized throughout Europe.
Access for disadvantaged
Recognition, transparency, certification
Open and distance learning
Accommodation and Food Service Activities
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
transparency and certification
program or curricula
open and distance learning
description of new occupation profiles
a) Transfer of the blended-learning concept to the partner countries.
b) Pilot courses in the partner colleges in 2013.
c) Model for the vocational education of showmen.
d) Catalogue of professional competences to practice the vocation 'showmen'.
e) Organisation and description of knowledge, skills, and competences into learning units on different levels based on EQR.