INNOVET project

Fostering INNOvation in VET through the exchange of good practices

Collaborative approach to be ready for the future skills needed

Collaborative approach to be ready for the future skills needed – working with regional stakeholders and other VET colleges

At the INNOVET Training Event organised by EfVET and hosted by SEPR in Lyon, France, partners from Da Vinci College and YSAO College presented two ways to collaborate in colleges during one of the workshops.

The first way was focusing on regional stakeholders, the second on collaboration between colleges in developing international strategy and activities.

First the way YSAO from Iisalmi is working with the partners in the region was explained. They organise a meeting on a regular basis where the companies and the college staff meet to discuss the future. What are the trends, what kind of competences are needed and how can the college react on this need? 

In a collaboration like this, trust is crucial.
“It is a matter of trust, apparently it is not the ‘normal situation’ that colleges and companies are on the same table”. In Vocational Education this should be normal, but this seems not to be the situation. So it is essential to work on that and establish good relationships. Moreover, it is important to make sure you have a common understanding of the terms used.

They created a Regional Forecasting team: partners and stakeholders, they collect and analyse data. In ‘round table sessions’ educational institutes, companies, municipalities and associations discuss the data and translate this into practical guidance for education and training providers.

Centre of competence development model. The main idea of competence centre is that all companies or other organisations can present their need for skills or competence development to the coordinator, he will suggest possible solutions to that need. The coordinator is the key contact and will find the best answer for that need using all education, training and consulting organisations. The company will get a variety of possible solutions to their need for skills development.

The other task for competence development centre is to coordinate trainings based on skills forecasting and strategical data.

In the Netherlands Da Vinci has created with the regional government and companies the Duurzaamheidsfabriek (Sustainability Factory). One of the goals is to bridge the skills gap between the college and the world of work.

The Drechtsteden region in the Netherlands is home to almost 1,000 companies in maritime construction, shipbuilding, manufacturing, and sea river shipping. This includes global leaders like Boskalis, Royal IHC, Damen Shipyards Group, Oceanco, Valk Welding, Veth Propulsion and Fokker Technologies. Traditions and craftsmanship are highly valued in the region, and enriched with 21st century insights. To enhance the innovative strength of the region, stimulate collaboration between the corporates and SME’s, and improve lifelong employability, government, industry and education have successfully joined forces to develop a regional innovation ecosystem. The Sustainability Factory plays an important role in this ecosystem.

Innovation and lifelong learning

The Sustainability Factory is an initiative created by the Leerpark Cooperative, a public-private partnership between the municipality of Dordrecht and ROC Da Vinci College, with the aim of stimulating innovation, providing a hybrid learning environment for students, enhancing vocational education and forging the advancement of technology. The factory opened its doors in 2013 with a focus on manufacturing (for the maritime industry), energy transition and smart technology – topics that are also closely related to the region’s strategic themes. Much of the infrastructure and facilities housed at the factory are owned by the regional business community, which also plays an active role in developing the education programme.

The successful triple helix model structure works from the vision that learning, working and innovating are inextricably connected in a labour market that is changing rapidly and continuously, due to technological and demographical developments. As a Fieldlab Smart Industry, the Sustainability Factory has three core functions:

  1. Lifelong learning
  2. Platform for innovation and articulating demands
  3. Business development and start-ups

The Sustainability Factory

The Sustainability Factory in Dordrecht is the place where companies – from start-ups to global players – can take their innovations to the next level, directly involving vocational education, to ensure the integration of new technology, skills and insights. With a clear objective, a practical approach towards seizing opportunities and a profound understanding of the needs of both businesses and education the Sustainability Factory has seen a constant growth over the last six years, leading to new developments. Around the Sustainability Factory a campus is created, focusing on valorisation, providing more space for start-ups (testing and prototyping), scale-ups and higher education, as well as housing and leisure. Another best practice is the collaboration between Da Vinci College, the local government and the hospital. Together they have set a number of goals for the population of Dordrecht to improve the quality of their health situation. All partners have tasks, for the colleges these are related to training students in innovative care technology.

Regional cooperation in the City triangle region (Apeldoorn – Deventer – Zutphen).
In order to make sure that the curriculum of the Aventus educations stay up-to-date, Aventus has organised the INNOVENTUS project. We work together with all relevant stakeholders in our region to bring in their latest developments.

Examples are the ‘Domotica house’ and the ‘Innoventus lab’ where our stakeholders bring in their latest technology for our teachers and students for experimentation.

Since the region in which we operate wants to further develop as ‘a cleantech region’, Aventus is part of this cooperation where 7 Municipalities are cooperating with entrepreneurs, education and research towards an energy-neutral, waste-free and sustainable economy and society.

The second topic of the workshop was related to collaboration between colleges. Examples from both countries were presented.

In the Netherlands there is a strong collaboration between all international coordinators in the country. They meet on a regular basis to discuss all kinds of issues related to policy issues from the EU and Erasmus+ activities. Especially for newcomers this is a huge source of information.

Next to that most colleges are united in smaller groups of 3 to 12 colleges who help each other with all kind of questions, some in consortia where they also combine their Erasmus+ applications for mobilities. Others in associations that support each other with anything interesting, policy documents, doing peer reviews etc.