Hello, could you briefly introduce yourself and your organisation?
I’m the policy officer of the EQAVET Secretariat. EQAVET stands for European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training. Our role in the Secretariat is to support the implementation of the Recommendation on the establishment of a European Quality Assurance Framework for VET adopted in 2009.
In doing this, the Secretariat supports the work of the EQAVET Network; which brings together those responsible for quality assurance of VET in the EU Member States, the social partners and the European Commission.
VET Graduate Tracking has taken centre stage in Europe, could you give us a short overview of recent developments?
Tracking graduates has become a key policy priority in light of the adoption of the Council Recommendation on Tracking Graduates on November 2017. The Recommendation is part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe and aims to improve the availability of qualitative and quantitative information on graduates from VET and higher education programmes. It invites Member States to establish, by 2020, graduate tracking systems that include
the collection of relevant administrative data from education, tax and social security databases; the development of longitudinal graduate surveys; and the possibility to link, on an anonymised basis, data from different sources to build a composite picture of graduate outcomes.
A network of national experts will be established in the coming months by the European Commission to reflect on the best way forward for the implementation of the Recommendation on tracking graduates.
As you already know, TRACKTION focuses on improving the quality of Graduate Tracking and Alumni Relations at VET provider-level … how could the EQAVET Framework inform VET schools in this process?
The EQAVET Framework is a shared framework for quality assurance in VET which has been developed as a result of a long process of EU cooperation which commenced with the launch of the Copenhagen Process in 2002. The EQAVET Framework includes a set of ten indicators.
Among these, indicators 5 and 6 are output-based. They are used to monitor accessibility and attractiveness of VET programmes by demonstrating their relevance to employment and/or further education. This means their policy purpose is to support employability, to improve responsiveness of VET to the changing demands in the labour market and to support adapted training provision, including for disadvantaged groups.
Could you elaborate on these two indicators?
Indeed. EQAVET Indicator 5 looks at the Placement rate in VET programmes. This is defined as the proportion of VET programme completers who are placed either in the labour market, further education or training (including university) or other destinations within 12-36 months after the end of programme.
There are two key aspects here. The first one is knowing the destination of VET learners at designated point in time after graduation. Are they working? Going into further studies? Doing something else? The second one is having a clear idea of the share of employed learners at a designated point in time. The data and subsequent analysis gets enriched by factoring in the type of programme and other individual criteria.
What about indicator 6?
Indicator 6 focuses on the utilisation of acquired skills at the workplace. Again, this entails considering two different yet complementary aspects. On the one hand, the indicator captures the percentage of VET programme completers working in relevant occupations. On the other, it incorporates a subjective dimension by gauging the satisfaction of VET Graduates and employers in regards to the relevance of their training for current occupation.
How can schools make the best out of EQAVET indicators 5 and 6?
First and foremost, having good graduate tracking protocols in place. By tracking graduates, VET providers get relevant information about learner transitions, either to the labour market or to further education/training. This provides information on the skills demand and supply which can help to align VET provision to the needs of the labour market. This set of data represents a good basis to address problems of skills mismatch and the adequacy of labour market outcomes of VET.
Can you give us some examples of VET schools integrating these indicators in their quality systems?
There are many examples of VET providers in EU countries that utilise these indicators. I particularly like the work undertaken by Cardiff and Vale College in Wales (CAVC). The College hosted an EQAVET Network peer learning activity in 2016. We learned that the College is using data on destination of VET graduates not only to respond to the needs of employers but also to reduce the number of NEETs (young person who is ‘not in education, employment or training’).
CAVC is tracking graduates to ensure local skills and economic growth needs are met and to identify sectorial needs in cooperation with local employers – SMEs and big corporations alike – s and enables CAVC to create learning opportunities based on real problems facing employers and offer innovative solutions. Graduate Tracking is also used to ensure students access to high-quality work experiences. Career advisors develop strategic partnerships with major employers that help learners to develop their talents and employability skills. The advisors also advise learners in relation to progression; offer careers guidance, and support learners who are at risk.
It was great having you in our second project meeting in Estonia. Now that you’re more familiar with the project, what would you like to see happening in the next future for TRACKTION?
For the work we are developing at EU level, we are very interested in your work and learning whether it is possible to develop a common methodology for collecting data between the 5 partner countries (i.e. ES, NL, IT, EE, UK); on how data can be utilised and meaningfully contrasted; and on the possibility of establishing a common data register to be used by systems and VET providers.
Eager to know more? Visit EQAVET website