Aihearkisto: rahoitus

Digitalisation in Northern Ireland

Money is tight and in all our development work the motto is ”more for less” – there is an increased need to find new, efficient ways in organizing VET provision with the help of ICT and learning technology and all supportive services around them.

VET qualifications in Finland are fully competence based and in no way linked to any input elements anymore. With the exception of comprehensive school leavers for whom there is a targeted, national joint application process, also intake is now more or less non-stop which means that new learners can start their studies basically every week. This also means that VET providers are required to make learning plans for each learner individually.

With the above in mind, a team of Jyväskylä Educational Consortium staff members – including  Hanna Rajala, Chief Information Officer & Quality Manager, Jaana Virtanen, Learning Technology Expert, Vesa Pulkkinen, IT designer, specialized in student information systems and learning technology and Minna Ahokas, Programme Manager, guidance counselling, libraries – set out to investigate how our partners in Norther Ireland are using digital tools to improve and make their processes more effective.  The visit took place at three of the six NI VET providers, all members also of The Network of Networks (NoN) led by The Dutch Alliance (TDA).

Keith Kilpatrick, Assistant Director for ILT Development and ILT Systems

The group had with them a long list of question such as

  • How are ICT services organised; what is done internally, what is co-created with partners and what services, if any, are bought from a third party? Where client-software / cloud-software are used and what kind of support services are provided for college staff and (VET) learners?
  • Virtual learning policies and strategies; what is the procedure, how are decisions on eLearning tools used/ supported made? How is the support for teachers organized so that they can efficiently use learning technology in their teaching? What kind of virtual learning tools are used and how and how is the use monitored?
  • Guidance; how are guidance and career counselling processes organised? Who are responsible for various stages of guidance and career counselling (recruitment, student admission, guidance during and at the end of the studies? What kinds of digital or other tools are used in guidance?

Glen McMahon, International Manger, Belfast MET

More often than not, we find out that there are more similarities than differences between our practices and those of our partners, and this is also the conclusion of this benchmarking visit. In some areas we are a little bit behind, in others perhaps a step or two ahead. Although all hosts, Southern Regional College, Belfast Metropolitan College and Northern Regional College are operating in a relatively similar context, they had all solved some of the issues in slightly different ways or started their implementation process from a slightly different angle. These contrasts made the 3-day visit very interesting and not repetitive in the least.  Having said that, perhaps the most important outcome of the visit was the message of cooperation. Although all VET providers have their own processes and various things are created and provided for local use, they also benefit greatly from cooperation not just on regional but on national level as well.

The Northern Irish VET providers are all members of Jisc – the UK higher, further education and skills sectors’ not-for-profit organisation for digital services and solutions. Jisc champion the importance and potential of digital technologies for UK education and research; and do three main things: operate shared digital infrastructure and services, negotiate sector-wide deals with IT vendors and commercial publishers and  provide trusted advice and practical assistance for universities, colleges and learning providers. The research and development work done by Jisc is integrated across these three areas.

A relatively cheap Jisc annual membership provides its members a significant advantage by pooling resources and sharing expertise nationally.

Discussions on this issue will continue at the Network of Networks Annual Meeting in the UK in September 2017.

Jaana Virtanen, Hanna Rajala, Damien Caldwell, Minna Ahokas, Vesa Pulkkinen and Irvine Abraham at NRC Ballymena campus.

The JEC team wishes to thank the hosts Southern Regional College, Belfast MET and Norther Regional College. Hopefully we can return the favour to you all sometime in the not too distant future!

LINK 3 – Digitalize or die

In the modern workplace, digital skills are highly valued; in the future, digital skills will be vital. The digital age is expanding into all areas of our lives, and it is not just those who work in IT that will need to be alert of this change.

Five VET-schools, partners in the LINK network,  are currently creating a project-plan about „digitalization and quality in Vocational Education and Training (VET)“, with the focus on the needs and requirements of the labour market and the education of young professionals in various fields. This project is called LINK 3.

Because „digitalization“ is such a huge task and slogan in every country around Europe at the moment, we are establishing an Erasmus+ Project under the programme structure of Key Action 2 – strategic partnerships – which allows us, to share good practice examples, develop our quality in digitalization and implement innovative education methodologies and concepts with the focus of „digitalization“.


During the last five years the core partners have worked together in the field of media design and production in two Erasmus+-Projects: LINK 1 and LINK 2 – both projects has been highly respected by the EU-Commission and the Swiss National Agency. The project results have been of high value for all the project partners (see also

The project partners are Jyväskylä College/Jyväskylä Educational Consortium, Jyväskylä-Finland, Amisto Vocational College, Porvoo-Finland, Hansenberg, Kolding-Denmark, IES Puerta Bonita, Madrid-Spain and the Vocational Education and Training School of St.Gallen, Switzerland (GBS). We are currently in discussion with two more VET schools and two VET teacher training colleges as possible project partners.


A preparatory meeting to prepare the porposal was held 19-20 January 2017 at NEXT in Copehagen. Jyväskylä Educational Consortium was represented by Hanna Rajala,  (ICT & quality) and Rea Tuominen, International Coordinator. The proposal will be submitted by the end of March 2017 by Hansenberg College in Denmark.

More information: Rea  Tuominen (at)

Photo credit: Daniel Kehl

Annual ECVET Forum




Annual ECVET Forum, 11 October 2016, Rome

The Annual ECVET Forum is the place to gather information and exchange views and experiences on how ECVET principles can help to provide people with opportunities for open, flexible and individualised pathways to develop vocational skills and to get recognition for them. The Dutch led EMEU project (Erasmus+ KA2) was selected as one of the six (6) best practices projects to be presented at the 2016 Forum in Rome. The project and EMEU network were represented at the event by Rea Tuominen, International Coordinator from Jyväskylä College.

Access for young VET students to teaching and training methods and work experiences in other countries improves their employability in a global economy. Member states have increased their efforts to create opportunities for 16-29 year-olds to gain accredited skills in cross-border mobility projects, helping them become competitive in an increasingly international job market. The European Commission and the Council have defined ambitious aims for learner mobility: by 2020, an EU average of at least 6% of 18-34 year olds with an initial vocational education and training qualification should have had an initial VET-related study or training period abroad (including work placements) lasting a minimum of two weeks. The actual numbers of students taking part in mobility projects are much lower in most countries. For instance, in the EMEU partner countries, the number of secondary VET students involved in mobility programmes at the beginning of the project was  between just 1-2 %.

The Annual ECVET Forum discussed the issues, solutions and future challenges for the ECVET priorities and the discussion continues e.g. in the ECVET Maganize:



MusicXchange in Munich 6-7 October 2016


Band practise at Neue Jazzschool, 6 Oct 2016

Jyväskylä and Kainuu Colleges joined forces a few years ago to seek high-quality possibilities for mobility for both students and staff in music education on VET level. The task was not easy. During the first year of research, the conclusion was that many European countries did not have VET level education in music and if they did, they did not have interest in mobility or European cooperation. After the education providers that were interested and seemed to have the same kind of needs had been identified, the network partners met for the first time in Slovenia in spring 2015. The meeting was hosted by Ljubljana Music and Ballet Conservatory and the first steps to the network cooperation were taken there.

Since that first meeting the partners have come together three times: autumn 2015 (London, UK), spring 2016 (Arnhem, NL) and recently at Neue Jazzschool in Munich. Jyväskylä College was represented at the meeting by teachers Suvi Uura and Markku Rinta-Pollari and International Coordinator Rea Tuominen.

During the meeting in Munich the partners continued to work on an Erasmus+ KA2 project proposal that will be submitted in the beginning of 2017. The key themes of the project are linked to A New Skills Agenda for Europe which was published on 10 June 2016. Its focus is on equipping Europeans with the right skills in order to increase Europe’s workforce employability and to respond to changes in labour market requirements. The need for the agenda is based on the analysis that currently there is, across all sectors, a shortage of basic, digital, transversal, and entrepreneurial skills.

According to CIGN (Creative Industries Global Network, creativity is increasingly perceived as a strategic driver for economic growth and a real asset for improving competitiveness in a knowledge-based economy. The Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) are knowledge and labour intensive and foster innovation, so the sector is perceived to have a huge but largely untapped potential for generation of employment and export expansion.  Not surprisingly, the creative industry as a whole is recognized as a potential high growth sector in the EU and its member states.

As the culture sector evolves and changes, so do the skills required of individuals active in the sector. The educational and training needs created by these changes can only be met by an education sector that recognises the change in demand. With digital and mobile technologies becoming an increasingly important facet of modern life, it is necessary to ensure that the skills taught in education keep pace.

The pace of innovation, the changing nature of the CCI sector, and the importance of culture to the European economy increasingly mean that many who work in this sector are essentially entrepreneurs and also cultural entrepreneurs need both an entrepreneurial mindset and business skills, which in turn means that educational supply has to keep pace.

CCIs need support to enable them to properly represent their interests and raise their concerns, as well as to create cross-border networks and platforms to help structure and strengthen the sector. Music is inherently an international industry and a successful career in music requires an extensive network beyond local, regional and national borders.

More information: Rea Tuominen (at)


Network of Networks


Network of Networksin jäseniä Alankomaista ja Skotlannista vieraili Jyväskylässä 28.9.2016 (kuvassa kehittämisjohtaja Anu Tokila ja suunnittelupäällikkö Hanna Rajala vieraiden kanssa). Päivän teemoja olivat ammatillisen koulutuksen reformi, kehittämistoiminta sekä laatu- ja opetussuunnitelma työ.

Network of Networks (NoN) on viiden alueellisen verkoston yhteistyöfoorumi. Verkostojen verkosto. Jyväskylän koulutuskuntayhtymä on ollut osa Finn-net -verkostoa vuodesta 2007 alkaen. Muita alkuperäisjäseniä ovat Koulutuskeskus Salpaus Lahdesta sekä Tampereen seudun ammattiopisto, Tredu. Uusimpana jäsenenä verkostoon on liittynyt Vantaan ammattiopisto Varia.

Muut verkostot ovat The Dutch Alliance (TDA, Alankomaat), Hetel (Baskimaa, Espanja), WoScoP (Länsi-Skotlanti, Iso Britannia) ja CNI (Pohjois-Irlanti, Iso Britannia. Jokainen näistä verkostoista edustaa 6-8 koulutuksen järjestäjää. Pohjois-Irlannin osalta verkostoon kuuluvat kaikki alueen ammatillisen koulutuksen järjestäjät.


Jyväskylästä vieraiden matka jatkui Asikkalaan ja Lahteen, jossa Salpaus isännöi järjestyksessä toista verkostojen verkoston vuositapaamista  29.-30.9.2016. Tapaamisen yhteydessä Finn-netin jäsenet allekirjoittivat yhteistyösopimuksen, jonka avulla selkiytetään mm. viestintää eri verkostojen välillä. Vuonna 2017 Finn-netin osalta yhteydenpidosta vastaa Jyväskylän koulutuskuntayhtymä. Yllä kuva allekirjoitustilaisuudesta, jossa Jyväskylää edusti rehtori Pirjo Kauhanen. Kuvassa oikealla Lenny van Kempen, TDA:n koordinaattori ja vuosikokouksen puheenjohtaja onnittelee Finn-netin edustajia pian 10 vuotta hyvin toimineesta yhteistyöstä, joka nyt kruunautui yhteistyösopimuksella. Seuraava vuositapaaminen järjestetään syyskuussa 2017 Skotlannissa.


Tällä kertaa vuositapaamisen pääteema oli ihminen ja teknologia. Torstaina jokainen verkosto esitteli tilannetta ja keskeisiä kehittämistarpeita omalla alueellaan. Perjantaina keskityttiin ideoimaan mahdollisia yhteisiä kehittämishankkeita. Yllä Jyväskylän ammattiopiston opettaja Keijo Salonen kertomassa ajatuksiaan ihmisen ja robotin väliseen vuorovaikutukseen liittyvästä hankeideastaan. Esitys herätti vastakaikua erityisesti hollantilaisissa ja pohjois-irlantilaisissa osallistujissa. Myös TDA toi tapaamiseen tätä teemaa käsittelevän videon ideoinnin pohjaksi.

Jälleen tuli taas toteennäytetyksi, että meillä on myös kehittämistoiminnan saralla enemmän yhtäläisyyksiä kuin eroja järjestelmäeroista huolimatta.

Lisätietoja Finn-netistä ja Network of Networks:istä: Rea Tuominen, kv-koordinaattori