“LINK-INC Fostering equity and inclusion in Work-Based Learning by equipping trainers and mentors with innovative approaches to address cultural and ethnic diversity in VET” is an innovative project funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, aimed at the integration of intercultural competencies and the management of cultural diversity in Work-Based Learning (WBL), in order to prevent discrimination and support the participation of migrants and ethnic minorities in learning and social inclusion.
The target group and users of our project results are VET and in-company teachers, trainers, tutors, instructors, mentors, counsellors and other professionals involved in Work-Based Learning, especially those working (or likely to work) with migrants and ethnic minorities – the final project beneficiaries – among VET students and in-company apprentices.
Research results from an initial project phase on cultural and ethnic integration in Work-Based Learning in Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Portugal and Spain has shown significant differences related to WBL and the target groups in those countries. National differences in the educational and labour market system lead to variations of professionals` profile working in this area. Adding differences in funding and support schemes, it is obvious that also results in qualifications then vary.
To cover a full spectre, LINK-INC shares Work-Based Learning to be a concept including parts of:
We furthermore need to see Work-based Learning as an instructional strategy that is essential in preparing students for success in education and careers, to help people learn about work, about particular jobs, about the skills needed to perform specific jobs, and about how to move between jobs to understand
“Work-based learning is an instructional strategy that is essential in preparing all students for success in postsecondary education and careers and is a core component of the Linked Learning approach.”
To help improve the situation particularly in the countries of this project (i.e. in alphabetic order: Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Portugal and Spain), we clustered WBL forms found in an initial research into three types of WBL, namely apprenticeships, traineeships and internships and offer in the main project outcomes:
- an overview on objectives, knowledge, skills, competences (= Learning Outcomes/LOs) for these following the ECVET methodology needed by trainers/mentors in VET and companies working with intercultural integration and the aforementioned learner group(s) in the LINK-INC Curriculum;
- support and didactic insight in the LINK-INC Handbook and
- example activities in the LINK-INC Toolbox.
All of these – and further details – can be found online on the LINK-INC platform (www.link-inc.eu).
EQF and ECVET
The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) which was developed by the European Commission for eight education levels is a translation tool that helps communication and comparison between qualifications systems in Europe in general. The LINK-INC training curriculum is designed for EQF levels 4-6, in order to cover the educational levels of VET and in company teachers, trainers, tutors, instructors, mentors, counsellors and other professionals involved in Work-Based Learning in the project’s partner countries. The EQF qualification descriptor which is based on Learning Outcomes (LOs) focuses on knowledge, skills and competences learners shall have at the end of a training/ course/ education. Level 4-6, relevant for LINK-INC, reads:
The LINK-INC training furthermore follows the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) which – in addition to the EQF mentioned earlier – aims at individuals’ vocational profession qualification, related transparency. For the LINK-INC project, more specifically, this shows in the allocation of 2 credits that equals 25 hours per module of total learning time (including 8 hours in presence as ‘contact hours’, and further as self-guided/-study hours, assessment and other).
Details on the methodology chosen can be found in the complementary LINK-INC result, the Handbook.
 Contact hours refer to theoretical (non-practical hours). In case of live online contact sessions, it can be considered as part of the contact hours.
Self-study hours refer to the study of something by the learner him/herself without direct supervision or attendance in a class setting (e.g. site visits which are not supervised).
Hands-on hours refer to practical sessions which could be supervised (e.g. a supervised site visits).
Assessment hours include the time needed to prepare the assignment; in the case of an exam, it would only refer to the exam hours.