The EU co-funded project IncuVET (2014-2016) envisages to support and promote an innovative role for VET schools as local/regional hubs for entrepreneurship, beyond the mere provision of start-up advice. VET schools are in a position to stir a multi-stakeholder process where local authorities, employers, start-ups, teachers and students come together to shape the way entrepreneurship education is embedded in the curriculum and learn from each other in a collaborative way, with valuable impact on the schools, the students, the market and the community as a whole.

CHANGING MINDS The project provides an open space where all interested stakeholders (teachers, employers, entrepreneurs, students, local authorities, community organisations) will engage in a process of discovery and discussion in order to stretch the concept of the role that entrepreneurship should play in society and education.

UNLEASHING NEW IDEAS The project is run under the principle “No Idea Left Behind”. Creativity and sustainability deserve special attention. In order to provide the right conditions for new ideas to come to the surface connections with the real world, interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial cooperation stand out as crucial elements in the equation.

ADDING VALUE The project aims to propose and secure the conditions for some of these new ideas to abandon “Thoughtland” and morph into viable businesses, innovative products, disruptive services, new teaching methods, inclusive social schemes, cultural events, adding value and making a contribution to the economic, social, cultural and environmental development of the local markets and communities VET schools are incorporated into.

The incuVET project aims to strike the right balance and articulation between these three layers of intervention by tapping into and learning from existing initiatives. The project is based on the exchange of ideas, experiences and practices among the partners of the consortium through four workshops in the form of study visits to best practices in four European countries (Finland, Spain, Greece, Belgium) but also through the collaboration with new partners around Europe, contributing their knowledge and practices to the project knowledge base and information hub on entrepreneurship education in Europe and the role for VET schools in this respect.




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IncuVET welcomes guest contributions from and is open to synergies and cooperation with actors involved in VET on Entrepreneurship Education:

  

About


The challenge: VET schools fighting old-fashioned perceptions

VET systems across Europe can boast a wide diversity. However, many VET schools fail to acknowledge and come up to their essential role in securing a smooth transition for young people into the world of work. Whereas integration of start-up pre-incubation services feels like second nature to Higher Education Institutions, oddly enough like-minded initiatives in VET schools are scarce despite the fact that it should make perfect sense, as most have often managed to develop close-knit networks with local employers.
This cooperation with local businesses in the shape of apprenticeship schemes and other actions constitute consolidated practices that would help explain the growing popularity of the vocational tracks.
There is a raft of sound practices which is slowly but firmly fighting against old-fashioned perceptions and prejudices towards VET.

The unique position of VET schools: bridging education and marketplace

With a highly relevant curriculum and close connections with the marketplace, VET schools are in an unbeatable position to put forward an ambitious entrepreneurship education agenda. Ad-hoc subjects have been designed and embedded in national VET curricula together with widely adopted mini-company schemes and business ideas contests. Quite interestingly, this already positive picture has been enriched in the last years with the irruption of a growing concern about the pedagogical aspects of entrepreneurship.

In spite of its low prevalence, the integration of start-up incubation units in VET schools could start boasting about some promising results in terms of business creation and survival rates of companies started by VET students. Just this fact, makes it worth having a proper look at the start-up pre-incubation services put in place in order to identify essential elements to scale them up.

Entrepreneurship education: VET schools as regional/local entrepreneurial hubs

VET schools could further support the entrepreneurial aspirations of some of their students by transforming themselves into regional/local hubs for entrepreneurship. Far from being a utopian vision, such exercise may just require a slight reframing of the school mission and actions already in place.
The overall vision underpinning the incuVET project contemplates, “an improved understanding and better rounded provision of Entrepreneurial Education and Start-up Support in VET Schools”. In this line, the incuVET consortium is set to identify basic elements of an ideal VET school-based entrepreneurial support system, drawing on existing initiatives and best practices among the consortium and beyond, and to provide an information hub to collect material, stir the debate and discussion, in an effort to embed some of the learning taking place during the project lifetime into the VET school structures.

The workshops: promoting best practices in Europe

The main tool of the incuVET project will be the organization of four (4) thematic workshops/study visits at the premises of different organizations involved in the project, which constitute best practices of entrepreneurship education in Europe. Read more about the workshops here

Partners



Workshops


During the incuVET project implementation period, four (4) thematic workshops/study visits will take place at the premises of different organizations involved in the project.
Each workshop will contribute to the co-production of a vision of success shared by all partners. This entails taking stock of the experience brought to the partnership by different organizations involved in entrepreneurship education and the role of VET schools in this respect in view of setting up a valuable baseline. After each workshop knowledge will be shared with colleagues and all members of our community and target groups comprising VET school and other key local stakeholders at the local level.


Workshop 1. Creating a Vision: VET Schools as Entrepreneurial Hubs
Location & Date: Espoo, Finland - 7/8 May 2015

InnoOmnia, an innovation development unit within Omnia with entrepreneurship at its heart represents a good benchmark initiative to set the tone of the project. Partners got familiar with this interesting experience of whole-school approach to entrepreneurship in VET.

Read the report See the agenda


Workshop 2. Back to basics: Sthes in VET
Location & Date: Bilbao, Spain - 20/21 October 2015

The second workshop will place its focus on pre-incubation and start-up support in VET Schools. Partners will share and discuss the pros and cons of different services and tools. Spanish project leader Valnalon and partner Tknika as workshop hosts will walk partners through different initiatives to integrate start-up incubator in a local VET School.

Read the report See the agenda


Workshop 3. From skills to dispositions: Teachers’ and students’ new role in Entrepreneurial VET Schools
Location & Date: Athens, Greece - 3/4 February 2016

The third workshop broadens the scope in order to accommodate a wider perspective of the role teachers and students should play in the development of entrepreneurship key competence paying attention to specific initiatives geared towards the development of entrepreneurial dispositions such as workshops for personal and professional development (STARS Success Yourself), accredited by the International Coach Federation.

Read the report See the agenda


Workshop 4. The Broader Picture. Cultural Change and Stakeholder Engagement
Location & Date: Ghent, Belgium - 19/20 April

The fourth workshop will tap into the role networks play in shaping a sound entrepreneurial ecosystem in VET. Quality of entrepreneurial support in VET is greatly influenced by the interplay of three essential stakeholder groups: Policymakers, VET Schools and Employers. The apprenticeship system stands out as a key arena where such collaboration takes place. The network of SYNTRA Flanders and SYNTRA training centers has developed methodologies and experiences on the development of the entrepreneurial spirit and the entrepreneurial competences of young people within the apprenticeship system.

Read the report See the agenda

Practices


Image Map

“…local VET schools should be embedded in the local entrepreneurship eco-system and be promoted as ‘R&D departments for local SMEs’. Ideally, the VET school should be seen locally as the place where small companies could acquire the newest knowledge, as well as the place where they could send their employees to learn the newest skills.”
European Business Forum on Vocational Training 2014. Final Report.


Readings


EU Project | Interactive comic e-book teaching entrepreneurship in VET

April 2016

Have fun while teaching entrepreneurship in VET! Have a look at the interactive comic e-book developed by an EU project and selected as good practice under the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007-2013.. More here

Report | New Eurydice Report on Entrepreneurship Education at School in Europe - 2016 Edition

February 2016

Developing and promoting entrepreneurship education has been one of the key EU policy objectives. Indeed, in the context of high youth unemployment, economic crises and rapid changes related to our complex knowledge-based economy and society, transversal skills such as entrepreneurship are essential not only to shape the ‪‎mindsets of young people, but also to provide the ‪skills, ‪‎knowledge and ‪attitudes that are central to developing an entrepreneurial culture in Europe. However, although some countries have already been committed to fostering entrepreneurship education for more than a decade, others are just starting. Following the 2012 Eurydice report on entrepreneurship education, this new analysis captures the latest developments in Europe, focusing on ‪primary education, ‪lower and general ‪‎upper secondary education as well as school-based initial ‪vocational education and training. More here

Article | Lost in transition: VET, apprenticeships and entrepreneurship

January 2016

“Plain common sense seems to suggest apprenticeships could be used to further advance the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills but regardless of such potential, experts acknowledge most apprenticeship schemes currently in place do no explicitly train entrepreneurship skills.” (OECD, 2010). The title is an attempt to capture what has been a recurring issue in our ongoing efforts and discussions to pin down the essential defining features of a truly entrepreneurial VET School under the frame of the EU-funded project IncuVET - VET Schools as Entrepreneurial Hubs. Finding common ground for VET apprenticeships and entrepreneurship is not an easy task. More here

Article | Tensions in Creating an Innovative Community of Vocational Education and Entrepreneurship

November 2015

New innovations are necessary to ensure and enforce entrepreneurship skill development and working-life-centricity in vocational education. We present an example from Finland. InnoOmnia is a multi-actor knowledge community within a VET organisation. It brings together students, entrepreneurs, and teachers in a non-formal setting where traditional roles are revamped. A number of traditional silos have been broken in order to build a co-learning innovation environment. The transition is not painless, however. Using a large dataset of text and visual content, we identify tensions relating to the transition. The tensions fall under the themes of community borders, operational culture, structures and leadership. InnoOmnia is not perceived as one community. Rather, every participant seems to have his or her own representation of it. Based on these differences, conflicts arise. Our research indicates that an innovative, entrepreneurial community inevitably contains destructive and conflicting forces as well. A key force counterbalancing the tensions is enthusiasm. More here

Report | Skill shortages and gaps in European enterprises

October 2015

The global crisis has increased unemployment in the EU to unprecedented levels, yet many employers claim they have difficulties finding skilled workers to fill their vacancies. This report shows that most vacancy bottlenecks arise because of factors other than general skill deficits, including job offers of poor quality. Genuine skill shortages affect a small group of dynamic, internationally oriented European enterprises in specific economic sectors (health and social care, ICT, advanced manufacturing). To mitigate skill bottlenecks, European companies must commit to offering high-quality apprenticeship places and good-quality jobs, which can be supported as part of a process of social dialogue between VET providers and labour market actors. Ultimately, the business and product market strategies of a greater share of European firms will have to become reliant on higher skill needs. The role of VET in developing creativity and entrepreneurial capacity in the European workforce will be crucial. More here

Research Paper | Entrepreneurship Skills: Literature and policy review

September 2015

Recent research has highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship skills to small business performance. Although there are quite extensive literatures dealing with management and leadership skills more generally, relatively little is known about these particular skill-sets. This project sought to source the key components of ‘entrepreneurship skills’, to identify how they can and cannot be developed, and to draw out possible lessons for UK policy. The review finds that entrepreneurship skills are associated with competence in the process of opportunity identification (and/or creation), the ability to capitalise on identified opportunities and a range of skills associated with developing and implementing business plans to enable such opportunities to be realised. This definition is distinct from, but closely related to, accepted definitions of management and leadership skills. There is evidence that some entrepreneurship skills can be taught and/or learned. However entrepreneurs tend to learn less effectively from the conventional didactic approaches typical of much of the educational sector. The most effective approaches to developing entrepreneurship skills involve experiential learning based around task-oriented development focused on real business problems. More here

Research Paper | How should our schools respond to the demands of the twenty first century labour market? Eight perspectives

February 2015

Young people have never left education more highly qualified and with more years of schooling to their names and yet face record levels of unemployment, too often losing out to older workers in the competition for employment. This new report features interviews with eight leading commentators on the relationship between education and employment. The interviews highlight ways in which the labour market has become more hostile to young people over the last generation. Three key themes emerge: the labour market is more complex and opaque than in the last increasing the significance of careers education especially where it is rich in direct workplace contacts; school to work transitions have become more fractured than in the past demanding new recruitment skills and resiliency from young people; and, employers offering jobs with greatest prospects have changed requirements, expecting young people to be personally effective in applying knowledge in unfamiliar situations demanding that schools place greater emphasis on applied learning and enterprise education.[...]. More here

Final Report | Business & VET Partners for Growth and Competitiveness

September 2014

On September 2014, 345 participants from the worlds of business, policy, education and training met in Brussels to take part in the second Business Forum on Vocational Training. The overarching theme for the Forum was “Business & VET - Partners for Growth and Competitiveness”. The Forum included three targeted workshop sessions and two panel debates. The titles of the workshops, which followed the topics of the Forum, were: Workshop 1 - Meeting skills needs in key sectors // Workshop 2 - Working together on entrepreneurial skills // Workshop 3 - Developing apprenticeships in companies. More here

Final Survey Report | Survey of VET-business cooperation on skills, entrepreneurship and apprenticeships

September 2014

The survey analysis summarises the findings of 91 interviews conducted among large European enterprises, vocational education and training (VET) providers, social partners and sector organisations on challenges and practices related to business-VET collaboration focusing on three main topics: meeting skill needs in sectors of key strategic importance to the EU; business-VET cooperation on entrepreneurial skills; and developing high-quality apprenticeships. The survey was part of the preparation for the second European Business Forum on Vocational Training to hold in Brussels on 23-24 September 2014 under the heading “Business & VET - Partners for Growth and Competitiveness”. The Forum is a high-level event that takes place every two years with participation of all relevant stakeholders from different levels (EU, national, regional, etc.), such as policy makers, companies, SMEs, social partners, VET providers, teachers and trainers, entrepreneurs, guidance practitioners, human resources experts as well as youth and student organisations. More here

Report | Profound Employer Engagement in Education

This report aims to provide a critical review of research and public policy literature concerned with the characteristics of engagement between employers and schools, focusing on school provision for the age group11-18: it does not examine provision in Further Education Colleges or Apprenticeships. More here

News


Join us from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm at the premises of project partner European Vocational Training Association (EVTA), Rue de la Loi 93-97, 1040

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