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TTnet Germany (TT Net DE) is a network for innovation in the training of vocational education and training staff. It is a cooperative venture between educational experts from trade and industry, the trade unions, training providers, trainer and teacher networks, schools, federal state institutes and universities. The network is seeking to follow up on the Bruges Communiqué of 7 December 2010 by actively involving itself in German and European educational policy debate.
TTnet DE has its origins in the “European Forum for key stakeholders and decision-makers in the field of training and teaching staff in vocational education and training” and is coordinated by the Federal Institute of Vocational Education and Training in Bonn. The network aims to promote debate and exchange of experiences on the activities, roles and training pathways of VET staff.
The network is pursuing two goals with regard to the strengthening and professionalisation of vocational education and training staff:
VET training staff have a high societal significance. For this reason, the aim is to increase recognition of their performance in respect of the personal development of young people and in terms of the contribution they make towards Germany’s competitiveness..
VET staff are a key factor in the quality of vocational training. In light of the changes in the nature of the challenges facing the world of work, this makes it all the more surprising that their function, requirements and training pathways have only been defined and described in rudimentary terms thus far. This is an area in which the network is seeking to use its activities to create greater transparency, to open up new fields of research and to draw up recommendations.
The members of the network have agreed to identify the following seven theses as a joint working platform:
Vocational education and training staff take on a key role
VET staff are a key factor in the quality and attractiveness of vocational training. They therefore make an essential contribution towards the competitiveness of the companies and towards the occupational and personal prospects of employees..
VET staff are undergoing a change in their role and an expansion of their function
Demographic change, the impending shortage of young skilled workers, a more heterogeneous socio-cultural origin of learners and the necessity of improving cooperation and networking between learning venues are all resulting in changes to the nature of the challenges faced by vocational education and training. This has led to expanded roles and functions for VET staff, for which they need to be trained.
New challenges are requiring professionalisation of vocational education and training staff
New learner-centred and employment-oriented learning concepts and the competence orientation of learning provision and examinations require targeted professionalisation of staff in company-based, inter-company and extra-company initial and continuing training, in school-based vocational education and training and in the field of training service providers.
Ongoing continuing training secures the quality of vocational education and training
Ongoing continuing training for VET training staff is a central prerequisite in order to overcome the new challenges whilst also continuing to develop and secure quality in vocational training. To this end, the focus needs to be on creating suitable general conditions for all those delivering VET (companies, schools, universities and specialist training providers). Particular consideration should be accorded to groups which have previously been neglected, such as skilled workers who provide training and examination staff. The relevance of such parties is substantiated by their large numbers.
Greater permeability and cooperation in training courses for VET staff are required
Current developments in vocational education and training, such as employment and process orientation, a competence-based approach and self-directed learning, are bringing about an increasing convergence in the fields of activity of various sub-groups within VET staff, e.g. trainers and teachers at vocational schools. For this reason, there is a need to create a higher degree of permeability between training courses for company-based and school-based VET staff by using opportunities to offer credit transfer of state recognised advanced training qualifications to vocational teaching courses at institutes of higher education and to provide more flexible access pathways. This requires closer cooperation and coordination between training courses for company-based and school-based VET staff.
VET staff foster European educational cooperation and pave the way for more mobility in Europe
The fact that Europe is growing more closely together both as an economic area and as an educational area means that additional input is necessary at a national level. In the light of the growing trend towards professionalisation of VET staff in Europe, for example, the highly developed university-based training courses, the advanced vocational teaching qualifications and the advanced training for skilled workers providing training that exist in Germany should be included more widely in the European debate.
The network is a discussion forum for all relevant groups in vocational education and training
The societal importance and future significance of the function of VET staff require urgent further development in cooperation between the relevant groups in vocational education and training. TTnet DE offers a platform for this purpose whilst also developing initiatives for plans of action.