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VET Staff training is the key to VET students’ employability

Entrepreneurship is defined as an individual’s capacity to transform ideas into action. Entrepreneurial programs and modules provide students with the tools they need to think creatively and solve problems effectively. Entrepreneurship education may be especially beneficial in first vocational training, when students are about to enter the workforce and self-employment may be a viable alternative. Vocational education and training institutions (VET) focus not only on job-specific skills that are in line with labor market demands, but also on the development of entrepreneurial capabilities and attitudes to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.Entrepreneurship is featured, to some extent, in the national curricula for vocational education in the majority of European nations. Furthermore, several nations claim that between 90% and 100% of vocational students participate in entrepreneurial programs at some time throughout their career. However, the intensity and efficiency of the programs and activities covered in those numbers may vary substantially. In any event, there is a widespread belief that there is still a gap to be filled.

To bridge this gap, the European Commission has published the “Entrepreneurship Competence Framework and highlights the value of entrepreneurial competences in the Skills’ Agenda, so as to raise consensus about entrepreneurship education. Aligned to this, UNESCO-UNEVOC deemed that the implementation of entrepreneurial learning in VET institutions, is an efficient and practical approach of building transferrable skills that are vital in a rapidly shifting world.

Based on the above, the following needs arose, proving the necessity to promote entrepreneurial readiness and the competences graduates need to be integrated in the labor market. The needs are presented as follows N1: Upskilling of VET graduates so as to be capable to launch their own business, and to ensure their equal and seamless access to the labor market N2: Transformation of the training system, in terms of entrepreneurial capacities N3: Design and development of resources and good practices for the active support of VET students in entrepreneurial initiatives (entrepreneurial methodology tools, networking opportunities, hackathons ect.) N4: Inclusion of the fostering of the entrepreneurial spirit in VET, in mainstream policies

Innovation Hive and its partners developed EntreVet Project where a number of activities and procedures were developed in order to fulfill the aforementioned requirements. Specifically, the partnership proceeded to the design and development of an Assessment Tool of the level of entrepreneurial practices with an embedded Certification Scheme and to the design and delivery of Open Educational Resources (O.E.R) tailored to the entrepreneurial upskilling needs of the VET staff and teachers in VET institutions. As a consequence, we will be able to better meet their particular requirements and assist participants in the creation and launch of their own entrepreneurial enterprises or start-ups through the development of their entrepreneurial competencies. Furthermore, VET teachers and staff will be prepared to provide students with specialized training and assistance, as well as quick feedback and insights into their development. As a result, they will be able to absorb and assimilate the content at their own pace, while also identifying which areas require extra attention. Finally, if required, instructors and staff will spend less time lecturing and mentoring students one-on-one and more time involving them in the learning process.

In conclusion, upskilling of VET personnel and instructors and enhancement of the attractiveness of VET education through the use of e-learning content in the form of Modules is the key to increase the entrepreneurial spirit and boost the employability competences of VET students.

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