Information for Engineering Mobility in Europe

Europe has clearly defined its aims and ambitions in learning mobility for 2020. There is a strong focus on creating opportunities for young persons between 16–29 years old to gain accredited skills to become competitive in an increasingly international job market.

Download the Erasmus+ Project November 2015 Newsletter

The new Erasmus for All program (2014–2020) objectives prioritise the expansion of learning mobility opportunities, the creation of strategic partnerships for VET education and the accreditation of learning mobility achievements through the use of the European ECVET Toolkit instruments.

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Access for young VET students to teaching and training methods and work experiences in other countries will help to improve their employability in a global economy; work-based learning is critical for employability at all education levels, particularly in the current context of extremely high youth unemployment. However, engineering is not a popular vocational area in Europe; student numbers have dropped dramatically in the last 10 years and therefore there is a clearly defined need to increase the quality and attractiveness of this sector in many European countries. Opportunities for physical mobility in VET education are also low. In The Netherlands for example, the number of VET students involved in mobility programmes is just a mere 1% of the secondary VET population, i.e. 16–19 year olds.

The Engineering Mobility across Europe (EMEU) partnership project supports and addresses the EU aims described above by creating an open network for sustainable learning and working opportunities for engineering students in VET education. In the project the partner network creates a minimum of 40 enriching Engineering modules of 2 to 3 weeks in which both theory and practice is offered in English to a mixed group of national and EMEU partner students. Besides following a programme at the partner college, the students will visit local/regional companies to experience the theory applied in practical situations.

Local and or regional industry also contribute to the project by helping to develop the contents of the modules and by offering work experience opportunities to the transnational students during or after completion of the modules. To help realise accreditation of the modules’ contents for the partners’ own students, the modules will be embedded in their own curricula. By embedding the modules in the curricula, the contents and quality will comply with the criteria set by the national awarding and inspectorate bodies. To help realise accreditation of the modules for the EMEU partner students, the partnership will use the EU ECVET Toolkit, i.e. the Memorandum of Understanding, the Learning Outcomes and Learning Agreement documents.

The partners will create an EMEU project website on which all modules are placed in a calendar to be freely accessed by students and staff and by any new partner in the future. The calendar will be used to annually offer opportunities to students to gain learning and work experience abroad. Thus it will also help to reduce the workload of a partner's staff to find work placements abroad. If applicable, modules finished within the project’s lifecycle will be piloted by partners and tested by students. To increase the number of students gaining experience in an international context considerably in the near future, the EMEU network will develop a manual of suggested virtual communication activities between partners' engineering classes and for students preparing themselves for an international work placement; these activities are to be completed prior to a physical mobility abroad, in conjunction with their peers in the country where they will do their work placement.

All virtual communication activities will be geared towards professional, social and cultural orientation. This will help them understand and gain respect for other cultures, solutions and work and social attitudes and thus shape their expectations of what working abroad is all about even before departure to another country or even without going abroad at all. To sum up how the EMEU projects aims to increase students' chances of becoming employable on an increasingly international labour market, the EMEU project creates a sustainable network in which annually accredited learning mobility opportunities are offered to 16-19 year old VET engineering students. Through virtual orientation prior to going abroad and by physically participating in the modules offered abroad, youngsters will be equipped with theoretical, practical, social and cultural skills which will enhance their chances to be competitive in an international labour market. Furthermore it will reduce the workload for staff regarding finding international work placements, and it provides opportunities to promote attractive engineering study opportunities in an international context as part of one’s own curriculum.

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.