Developing the highly-skilled workforce required to bring advanced manufacturing back into Europe with a focus on welding professionals

Erasmus+ VET Strategic Partnership (2015-2017) UK, PT, BE, NO

TWI Ltd (Erasmus+ KA2: 2015-1-UK01-KA202-013823)

Project aims and objectives:

The Manumobile project aims at defining the connection between the credit systems in Higher Education and Vocational Education and Training for a profession in the Manufacturing Sector
Lisbon, November 11th 2015 – The European Commission has identified advanced manufacturing as one of the key growth pillars. To support such an ambitious goal, it is fundamental that European companies can tap into the most important asset of all – a qualified and highly-trained professional workforce, coming from either system, be it traditional education or vocational education and training one. The Manumobile project (Transparency of credit allocation in VET – Vocational Education and Training – and HE – Higher Education – in Manufacturing) is expected to define the connection between the two credit systems for a profession in the Manufacturing Sector and, as such, to ensure that these highly-skilled professionals will be available when the industry so requires. The project’s success is ensured by the broad scope of participating organizations, each having a strong experience in implementation and training using European Harmonized Guidelines, ranging from TWI, Instituto de Soldadura e Qualidade and the European Federation for Welding, Joining and Cutting to the Universidade de Lisboa and European Masters of Skilled Crafts.
This project’s concept has arisen as a result of the fact that there is a lack of transferability between HE and VET systems, even though, to match the existing European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), the European Parliament and the Council have called for the establishment of a European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training. The existing European Credit Transfer System, ECTS for the higher education sector, is a tool that helps to design, describe and deliver programmes of study as well as award higher education qualifications.
The challenge which the project takes on is three-fold:
 To achieve compatibility between the basis of ECVET and ECTS credit accumulation and transfer systems, at the theory, attribution and arithmetic levels, so that credits may readily be transferred between the two;
 To establish trust between different systems of education and training concerning quality and content based on learning outcome descriptions;
 To ensure that VET and HE organizations embrace the results achieved and foster transformation of educational approaches, mobility of students and workers as well as the creation of individual pathways towards European Qualifications;
The use of ECTS, in conjunction with outcomes-based qualifications frameworks, makes programmes of study and qualifications more transparent and provides for a sound support of workforce mobility across existing countries. This project states that ECTS may be used as a credit  accumulation system, in fact creating a transfer system for the mobile students and a tool for the achievement of full recognition of the courses completed abroad by most of the HE institutions in the European Union. In its turn, the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (‘ECVET’) is intended to facilitate the transfer, recognition and accumulation of assessed learning outcomes of individuals who are aiming to achieve a qualification.
The EWF Quality Assurance System and the principles of EQAVET will form the basis of the ManuMobile Quality Assurance System, which will be designed for benchmarking with other professions in Manufacturing.
The basis of the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training
With the new priority of the European Commission to bring back manufacturing to Europe, a need for a growing number of qualified professionals is expected to occur. This will require that VET providers and HE Institutes work together to answer the needs from industry. In order to allow this collaboration between Vocational Education and Training and Higher Education the first step is to ensure the transferability of people between these two educational “paths”. In order to make it more effective and measurable, this specific HE&VET project will focus on the need of qualified personnel in joining technologies, notwithstanding future development for other technologies equally relevant for the manufacturing sector. This expected collaboration will be achieved through the development of a methodology and tools to allow the transferability between systems. For this purpose, at the start of the project, a study will be carried out in order to understand the specific requirements in terms of VET and HE transferability in different countries and in different industries where welding plays an important role. This will allow the development of a methodology in line with the requirements of the different countries and industries.
By making higher education comparable across Europe, the current European Credit Transfer System makes teaching and learning in higher education more transparent and facilitates the recognition of all studies. It aids curriculum design and quality assurance and allows for the transfer of learning experiences between different institutions, greater student mobility and more flexible routes to gain degrees.
It is this goal that is set for the ECVET in vocational training with a further challenge of alignment between two of (ECTs and ECVET) organized in structured units addressing Competence, Skills and Knowledge (the vectors of the EQF- European Qualification Framework).
Expected outcomes
This recommendation is expected to facilitate the compatibility, comparability and complementarity of credit systems used in VET and the ECTS and thus contributes to greater permeability and flexibility between learning pathways in education and training. The outcome will map the learning outcomes of some of the levels of the harmonized European System for training and qualification of welding professionals, which is referenced in CEN and ISO standards and in high demand by the EU manufacturing industry, and align them with the different HE levels.
The consortium is constituted by five partners. TWI will act as Project Coordinator, in direct contact with the National Agency from UK. EWF is the European Federation for Welding, Joining and Cutting, with a Training and Qualification network covering 31 member countries that will be essential in the implementation and dissemination of the HE&VET project results. Two of the partners are the welding institutes of Portugal (ISQ) and UK (TWI), which have strong knowledge and expertise in training and qualification. Universidade de Lisboa is the single partner from higher education in the project, bringing its expertise in collaborating with VET providers and in developing courses that combine HE with VET. Lastly, EUROMASC is a consultancy with experience and competences from a longtime cooperation with national and international organisations within vocational education and training (VET) in managing, monitoring as well as partnering in projects.
The project results are expected to have a strong impact in the manufacturing industry, considering that the European metal working sector accounts for over 87€ billion of value added to the European economy, as well as over 2 million jobs in welding and welding related professions.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication 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.