European Skills Passport in Agriculture ESPA 2012-2014 Leonardo Project (Project Summary)

The project involves a consortium of European Agriculture and Rural Organizations with various educational backgrounds, representatives of vocational high schools and employers that will identify a number of positive modules to support education, skills development and professional training for VET persons in agricultural sector, in the response of Europe 2020 strategy for a greater mobility of learners and workers.

The main project objective is to analyses how EQF descriptors, especially on levels 3/4, can be used for defining and describing single or specific qualifications in agricultural jobs. To do so, partners will explore labour and skill data for agriculture occupations at the national level as well, and by comparing, will build an accurate picture of the qualifications demands that VET persons must possess at European agricultural labour market.

The project has three core final results: a handbook entitled European Skills Passport in Agriculture with packages of skills that meet employers needs for a variety of agriculture profiles based upon EQF levels 3/4; three-month course of professional English and two-week training course in ICT, aimed to enrich VET persons knowledge of professional language terminology and computer literacy; a project web site in 7 languages (EN, BG, DE, IT, NL, NO, PL) where all partners outcomes will be placed. The products will be disseminated through a series of round-up discussions and workshops and through existing partner networks of professional bodies and organizations related to the sector.

 

 

1st project meeting in Poland

In the middle of October 2012 the partnership met for their first conference in Poland. Main topic was to introduce themselves and to point out what main activities are planned (in general and in the next future). So the level of implementation NQF/EQF has to be compared in the partnership and it needs information about the different kind of education systems. And the Polish coordinator presented extensive their partner school in the municipality Grabica, all participants learn a lot about education in a Polish agriculture school. Also different farms with pigs and vegetables were visited, the owners informed about practical work and economic circumstances in the region. The visit was added by information about rural tourism and the chances in the visited region. According to the workplan the Norwegian partner will create a central website with information about the partnership activities.  

The participants visit a vegetable farm near Piotrkow Trybunalski.

 
 

Presenting necessary skills for farmworkers on ESPA project meeting from 5 - 9 March 2013 in Italy.

As a contribution to the 2nd project meeting the coneed eG Bildungswerk presents the necessary skills for farmworkers in Germany (EQF level 4). Also it has been explained, that the dual education in agriculture secures an extensive theoretic and practical knowledge in this profession.

General necessary skills, which are expected from employees on German farms

Work in animal production
-Feeding the animals, maintain, clean, carry, transport and breeding
-Animal products purify, store, transport and market

Work in plant production
-Crop production, maintain, protect, harvest
-Prepare herbal products for market, store them

Machinery, equipment and operating systems: to operate and maintain
-In animal production (e.g. feed technic, milking machines, cleaning equipment)
-In crop production (e.g. machinery for soil preparation, fertilization, spraying and
harvesting and transport equipment)
-In the processing of materials such as wood, metal, plastic (e.g. using hand or
power tools, measuring and monitoring equipment)
-Plants and animals: Watching for growth, development, disease or features
-To work with biomass, wind and solar energy using for electric power, To operate
biogas plants and/or supply them

Landscaping and environmental protection activities, social farming
-Maintain and preserve water embankments, roadsides, field margins, woodland,                                                               
-Use environmentally friendly production equipment, to store and dispose them                                                                  -Working in direct selling farms, ecological farms, nature protection farming                                                                        -Working in social farming (people with diseases)

Perform business activities
-Cost calculations and prepare invoices
-Stall books run, even to feed and consumption                                                                                                                     
-Cost-benefit ratios capture
-Markets watch; price monitor developments                                                                                                                          
-Plans implementing

About the skills in Landscaping and environmental protection activities, social farming , especially added by the topics:

-information about farmer-consumer  relationship                                                                                                                   -society needs on soustainable farming and how to strenghten communication process                                                       -picture, role, recognition of farmers in 21. Century

the coneed eG will work extensive during the second project phase.

 
 
 

How theoretical subjects did not become a barrier for students?

How to prepare agricultural students, so that they can work anywhere in Europe?

Answers on the 3rd meeting in Norway.

 

On the workshop (held in Gausdal / Norway in the first days of April 2013) it was agreed, that itīs not so easy to taught theoretical subjects and often students didnīt pass exams by less knowledge in these subjects. Therefore it was important to exchange knowledge, what kind of methodology (projects, workshops outside) is used and how there could be a strong link between theoretical and practical education.

 

About the training methods and whatīs necessary to educate students for European (agriculture) labor market, a questionnaire has been answered in front of the workshop and was discussed in the meeting between the international participants (an extract):

 

The analysis of the answers show, that:

  1. The teachers haven't had enough knowledge about situation on labour market in agriculture in EU
  2. The most helpful in teaching is for teachers meetings with farmers and employers.
  3. The teachers observe that the visits in farms and contact with world work help the students in learning too. .
  4. It is very important for the teachers exchange the experiences, knowledge with others teachers. .
  5. Using new technology, participation in the workshops and courses, visits on agricultural exhibitions are helpful in teaching too.  

"Workshop in Gausdal Videregaende Skole - compare educational methods and learn from each other"

 
 
 

Very important additional opinions in the questionnaire for the teachers: What else do you need to teach better?

  • Time to develop new content for lessons/courses.
  • More good teaching materials.
  • We need more teaching materials, practical lessons and opportunity to do a lot of activities in real situations. Learning by doing is the most important activity!
  • To encourage the youth of school-leaving classes to using in future with centres of European Union.
  • Students' motivation is not good enough, they rarely travel abroad and meet foreigners so they see no point in learning foreign languages. In farmers' classes they do not have any extra hours for vocational foreign language as, for instance, in mechanics classes so more lessons would be very useful.
  • Exchange views with teachers. Participation in courses and training.
  • Eye-to-eye contact between students and business partners. A better possibility for work in the farms, milk and meat factories, the better professionals.
  • I think I need more information about the world of work and exchange teaching techniques and ideas with other teachers.
  • Freedom and less bureaucracy.
  • More resources to distribute among students and the ones which correspond to current situation in agriculture.
  • More time for preparation of lessons.
  • To improve my teaching I would like to have more insight/information about how people in Europe and world wide deal with animals. I know far too few about "what" and "how" beyond the Dutch borders.
 
 
 

The fourth project meeting in Bulgaria 09.-12. October 2013

 The main topic in this meeting was, to hear about the experiences in teaching foreign languages in agriculture schools. The coneed eG Bildungswerk in the specific position as adult education provider informs the team about the situation in rural adult education and social farming.

 In rural adult education itīs the best way, to combine language training with operational work. It has been explained (for e.g.) that the preparation for an international exchange visit needs also competence in the used language. So the host actors are willing to learn the necessary vocabulary to be able to communicate with the guests from abroad. And in the farm shops often involved in different kind of further adult education trainings often employees have knowledge in foreign languages and can do the necessary communication with customers and guests.

 

In this winery near Sandanski/Bulgaria (combined with ecological farm activities) international trade contacts are often and therefore competences in foreign languages are required.

 
 

In the case of social farming/gardening the pedagogical staff needs competence in foreign languages to get in contact with the (often) handicapped people, who live and work in such kind of therapy farm. And often it needs knowledge in various languages to be ready for a minimum of talking/explaining. Sometimes different people, working on the farm or from outside, with specific language knowledge are necessary = so often therapy participants often themselves do the translation for their colleagues (if there is no other opportunity)

  

In the Bulgarian meeting the international team also discussed the following topic and create a questionnaire:  How we should teach foreign language in vocational education?

 

The answers from Bildungswerk coneed eG / Germany: 

 

Situation in Adult Education Lower Saxony / Lessons with farmers and people, who are engaged in rural development / Main foreign language: English

 

Do your students/learners have basic skills in foreign languages?

o    ( )the all have enough basic skills

o    (X )some of them have enough basic skills in English

o    ( )only few persons in a group have enough skills

o    ( )nobody has enough skills

 

In your opinion- should the students/learners have separate lessons/activites of vocational language

o    [ ]No

o    [X]Yes

o    [ ] I'm not sure

 

Are the students/learners enough motivated to learn language

o    [ ]no

o    [ ]yes

o    [ X]some of them

 

Do you have good materials (books,dictionaries,materials) to teach vocational languages

o    [ ]No

o    [ ]Yes

o    [X ]I have few, but I need more

  

 
 
 

How to prepare students to work abroad in the agriculture sector and how to assist farmers, who want to work with foreign workers?

 

This was the headline of the project meeting in Bremerhaven /Germany in February 2014..  coneed eG Bildungswerk, as one of the German partners , inform about pathways to transfer more knowledge and understanding for working in agriculture sector. One example is, to invite in the very beginning of the traineeship foreign students for a meeting , to learn about people, culture, landscape and agriculture products.

 

The topic for this daily program is To collect agriculture in a box and it works like this:

To be sensitive for sustainable agriculture working and nature protection it needs sometimes unusual ways to get attention of the public. So itīs not own done by presentation in seminar rooms and visit in the location, furthermore there has to be a strong personal link to the topic. To remember context and importance it needs personal relevance = to see, to be in contact with acting people in agriculture, their work and their products.This can be much more effective than watch movies or power point presentations.

 

A field trip shows interested persons the sustainable economy activities in the region an all the time they will take a product of the visited places into an

Rural / Agriculture box :

 

-       To visit a local farm shop and have a discussion with the farmer about marketing strategy Local farming products (meat into the box)

-       To go the apple tree farmer and hear about the importance of variety of different local apple trees (apples and honey into the box)

-       To talk with employees in the bakery about regional working places (craft prepared bread into the box)

-       To visit a protected area with sustainable forest economy and get impression what number of animals and plants are connected with the old trees (oak bark into the box)

 

 

The products are a medium to remind the visit, to think about it again and while consume to feel the smell of the landscape / of farming and the visited location again!  So the visit and the information was not only fixed on the short time of visit/information, even in the next days they will be back again and started again personal impression about what they have seen and feel. So itīs a more long term impact, even learning effect becomes sustainable and the interested people are motivated to be in contact with the topic and the persons!

 

The idea can be used on all other places, where innovative pathways be needed, to inform interested people about sustainable/social development in a rural region. Local products are the medium. So the advantages about sustainable rural development and the various chances to work in the agriculture sector are much more personal visible and the method can be transferred to each region.

 

During the meeting the participants visit the Ecological Farm Kaemena near Bremen. Guests can taste their own "Diary Made Ice Cream" and get information about the long farm history and the important aspects of sustainable farming. A good example, how to come nearer to people, products and location.

 
 
 
Final project meeting in Leeuwarden (Netherlands) in June 2014 = to enjoy agriculture and to understand, how to motivate youngsters for this profession

A wide range of presentations - organized by colleagues form Nordwin College Leeuwarden - motivates the international team to go on in training students for sustainable and future orientated agriculture.

So it was really interesting to hear and to see about all possibilities, which can be undertaken. First the team visited "Permaculture Farming" activities near Leewarden: Permaculture is a agriculture productive ecosytem which takes care of the diversity, stability and resilence of natural ecosystems. The local acitivists present the fields and demonstrate, how and why they want to ge practice in this kind of agriculture and to spread the idea.
About another kind of agriculture/rural acitivity was informed in the Farm-Hotel Weidumerhout. The owner family managed a restaurant, a campside and some appartements to rent. Even the location is outside of city/village a lot of guests enjoy the calm place in the middle of wide grassland!

Future Farmers are necessary for sustainable development on European Farms.

 
 

Organic diary farming and Frisian horse breeding has been presented in the village Heeg: The family Kruis worked this days on three nearby located farms in the sense of sustainable farming, enviroment protection and to be engaged for landscape typical Frisian hourses. Mostly the engagement from the whole family for this kind of rural profession impressed the international project team!  Information about other kind of farming (fruit grower) and the emportance of water management in the Netherlands allowed a complete overview about the varitey and advantages of agriculture in the north of the Netherlands.
Finally the project team discussed their experience in inform, attract and winning new students for vocational schools. And they decided  for a "Guide For Future Farmers" to inform about all the project results.

 
 

To use experiences from Passport Agriculture: coned eG Bildungswerk and Nordwin College met again in Leeuwarden

The neighborly partner from project PASSPORT AGRICULTURE met in the end of June 2014 again in  Leeuwarden, to share and discuss project results with the Regional Province Government Fryslan.   It has been agreed that there are real good opportunities to go on working with those project aspects related to education opportunities in agriculture sector and socio-economic rural development. About socio-economic development: Intergenerational movement to overcome demographic challenges is needed, added by welcome culture to new inhabitants and openness to language  diversity. The partners agree, to work on with this topics and  to get in further contact to other neighborly rural areas in Denmark and England. The next meeting of the initiative team should take place on 19th September 2014 in Leeuwarden.

The Province Friesland is bilingual: Frisian and Dutch. A good base for linguistic diversity

 
 
 

To prepare final report and to disseminate results: Working visit in Poland

In beginning of July 2014 the Polish and German project partner in the project (Zespol Voacational School Szydlow and  coneed eG Bildungswerk) met for a bilateral working visit in Poland.

They prepare together the draft of the common part in the final project report. And they think about, what important aspects of the project could be present extensive in the report: For instance the exchange of students to learn more about necessary professional knowledge in foreign countries.

Both partners use also the chance to discuss and disseminate the project results with stakeholders and interested schools/companies in the region. So they visit the vocational school in Czarnocin, to inform the headmaster and pedagocial staff about the project and what can be interesting for them. And the school decided to use the results and to get in a closer contact to  some partners in the project . and to become member of the coned eG network!

Near the school the Polish and German colleagues visit a milk company, who produces (high quality) diary products for the regional market. They were real interested to hear about international qualification activities = an important link to companies, which work in the countryside and direct trading partner for the farmers.

 

Disseminate results: Meeting with the colleagues from vocational school in Czarnocin.

 
 

Link to the international project website: www.espagri.net