EURIAC

The EURIAC – European Industrial Automation Class – project was funded by the Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation programme and was carried out in 2011-2013. The overall aim of the project was to conitnue the development of the European class concept and the experimentation on ECVET (i.e European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training).

The European Class concept and the ECVET experiences and work processes created in the previous ECT project (i.e European Class in Trucks Maintenance) were transfered to the EURIAC project. The focus of the EURIAC project was to create a European Class in industrial automation. The results of the project provide new partnerships complete support to set up their own European class. All products may be downloaded at: EURIAC

Aim

The EURIAC project aimed at creating units of learning outcomes in industrial automation in line with European industry skills needs in order to increase the volume of and improve the quality of international mobility opportunities in vocational education. The main target group for the EURIAC project was vocational students participating in initial vocational training in industrial automation at EQF levels 4 and 5.

The core of the EURIAC consortium was composed of a selection of renowned and experienced professionals from vocational training centres in Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, and Spain together with representatives from the industry in Sweden and Switzerland and representatives from the public sector in Sweden and Germany. The project was led by the municipality of Kungsbacka, Sweden.

Background and project objectives

The EURIAC project was initiated to meet a number of identified challenges – gaps:

(1) Interest gap – According to the communication from the Commission “A new impetus for European cooperation in Vocational Education and Training to support the Europe 2020 strategy” (EUROPEAN COMMISSION, 2010), young people in Europe do not find vocational education attractive due to low quality. However, a recent Swedish study indicates that opportunities to study and work in an international environment during their training attract young people, since they think international experience will provide them with opportunities to improve their language skills and gain new perspectives on life and personal growth.

Moreover, the study “Arbetsgivarens syn på utlandserfarenhet” (CONFEDERATION OF SWEDISH ENTERPRISES, 2010) shows that international experience will increase the students’ employability both at national and European level since the employers highly appreciate the competences the students gain abroad, such as a sense of responsibility, communication skills, and the ability to act on their own initiative.

(2) Knowledge gap – Due to the rapid technology shift in industry – causing multi-skills needs in industrial automation – and the lack of communication and cooperation between vocational centres and the industry, a mismatch on industrial needs and the learning outcomes of students in vocational training has arisen. Industry claims students are poorly educated and trained and are therefore not employable.

(3) Opportunity gap – There are still few vocational training centres offering international mobility opportunities and fewer thus offer students in vocational training in automation the opportunity to study or work abroad as part of their qualification. However, the aim of the new programme Erasmus for all is to increase this quota to 6%, providing 5 million people with an opportunity to study or work in accordance with the objective of the European 2020 strategy. Of these 5 million people, 1.5 million should be students in vocational training. The professional profiles in industrial automation are all highly international. Students could work anywhere in the world after graduation, and would thereby greatly benefit from international learning opportunities.

(4) ECVET-gap – Studies, initiatives, and projects aiming to develop and utilise the ECVET devices in vocational training have been conducted, and there is an ongoing process of mapping National Qualifications Frameworks (NQF) to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) to provide a common reference that will simplify the comparison of VET in Europe. However, more work on the practical implementation of ECVET in national VET is required to increase and ensure transparency and transferability to the national system of learning outcomes gained abroad.

Result – Using ECVET improves the quality of vocational education in many ways

“For the first time I understood precisely what my qualification was about and what I would be able to do, understand and know when returning home from the Netherlands. The funny thing was that I understood the description of this learning opportunity better in English than I have ever done trying to interpret the learning content of the national courses in automation in Swedish.”

– Swedish EURIAC mobility student