Press release

Developing sustainability in vocational education and training

Key development area initiated with 12 pilot projects

25/2016 | Bonn, 31.05.2016

Developing sustainability in vocational education and training

What can we do to promote sustainable development when we are stood at the work bench, sat in the office or working behind the counter? Which vocational competencies are needed to enable us to focus on the sustainability principle when at work? What should a learning location look like in order to make this a reality? Twelve pilot projects have now been initiated, with the aim of embedding sustainability within the structure of vocational education and training. They are part of the “Vocational education and training for sustainable development 2015-2019“ key development area which the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) is funding with approximately € 6 million on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The programme will be presented to the public for the first time in the “Qualified for sustainability at work” forum during “Environment Week” by the Federal President in Berlin on 7 June.

Commercial occupations which account for a high percentage of training are one of the focal points. These include, for example, management assistants in retail services, in wholesale and foreign trade and freight forwarding and logistics clerks. This will help to make up for a gap in provision as earlier projects often dealt with technical and construction-related occupations and were less focussed on sustainable management. The aim of the new pilot projects is to further develop vocational competences for this sector with a focus on sustainability. The intention, by 2019, is to develop, trial and evaluate curricula concepts, digital teaching / learning materials and examination questions for initial and continuing education and training. Specialist advanced education and training will ensure that personnel delivering training are fully prepared for the challenging work. When completed, this advanced education and training will be certified by the Chambers of Industry and Commerce.

Six projects will focus on the design of learning locations encompassing mainly companies providing training, but also to inter-company vocational training centres (ICVECs) and vocational schools. Organi-sational and personnel development will ensure that sustainability aspects in training and working practice for trainees at a local level are specific, tangible and flexible in their design. An indicator system will be developed for sustainable learning locations across all projects. This will aim to set out what constitutes a sustainable learning location, how this is different to a non-sustainable learning location and how to contend with potential resistance.

As a result of this key development area, a range of materials will be available to support education and training practice: Besides recommendations on education and training design and didactic implementation aids, the aim is to provide handouts for specific occupations, teaching and learning materials integrating a range of different media and also check-lists.

Company practice, academic support and the relevant departments will collaborate closely in all twelve pilot projects in order to ensure that day-to-day conditions in the company as well as the latest scientific findings and the curriculum specification bring their influence to bear on the concepts.

A total of 27 project partners are involved in implementing the twelve projects. Over 50 practice partners had already committed to collaborating on the project prior to its start - these included companies, businesses, training providers, education and training associations or ICVECs. A further 35 strategic partners - such as chambers, professional associations, unions and federal institutes were also involved at this stage. The involvement of further stakeholders is planned. The aim of this close networking within the project consortia is to achieve a wide-ranging transfer of structures. The public profile of the issue will also be raised by participation in a wide range of events relating to practice, policy-making and science such as with the upcoming “Environment Week”.

Further information on the key development area “Vocational training for sustained development 2015-2019“ is available at www.bibb.de/mv-bbne (German only)

Information about “Environment Week” is available at www.woche-der-umwelt.de (German only)

Contact at the BIBB:
Christian Srbeny

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