It has been a fascinating and busy 12 days in Denmark - Over this time I have been able to participate in the Workplace Learning Conference hosted by Learning Lab Denmark, and also met with many interesting people. This has included researchers who investigate workplace learning from a sociological perspective, practitioners designing elearning programs, consultants in VET programs and a technical school. At Roskilde Technical School, it was interesting to compare similarities and differences between the systems in Denmark, Australia and the Netherlands, as some Dutch VET educators were also visiting at the same time. The institutions service particular industry areas, and can roughly be divided into technical, business and service schools. In the Netherlands, colleges appear to be more like my institution where a wide range of industries are served.
When students first start at the college they have two main choices - either to specialise straight away or to do a 'themed' course. In the themed course students get to experience related trades eg Auto mechanics, metal work, welding, and so on. At the end of their 10 or 20 weeks, then the students can make a more informed choice about their career direction. I can see that this would be very useful for many students. To participate in these courses the students do not need employment, and by the end of the first six months of training, many students have gained employment in local industry and start the apprenticeship part of their training program.
The emphasis in the Danish system on contribution and influence by both the trade unions and the industry groups was very interesting. Formally, a qualification must be approved by a committee of trade unionists and industry representatives. Within the Danish technical colleges the focus is very much on the apprentices and young people entering the workforce. Older workers are more catered for through other systems such as the AMU centres, and Adult Education.Posted by Kirsty at December 3, 2004 06:11 AM