Berlin Learning Log – Thursday 15 January 2015

Learning Log
Name: Carolyn King
Date: Thursday 15 January 2015
Organisation: South Eastern Regional College – Northern Ireland

1. Activity description (Summary of what was done that day)
The IT Training at the Federal Ministries: Deutscher Bundestag
• Meet students, trainers and staff
Chamber of industry and Commerce – Berlin
• VET Business Partnerships, role of Chamber of Commerce, Internships, support of Work Placement, legal role of Chamber of Commerce

2. What did I learn from this activity? What insights did this new knowledge give to me in relation to school/organisation, learner and employer?
The IT Training at the Federal Ministries: Deutscher Bundestag, Platz der Republik 1
Mrs Sabine Kropf (IT Training Coordinator – 15 years) – also an examiner for the Chamber of Commerce.
• Have been sending students to OZS IMT for four years, prior to that had sent students for training to other institutions including private school.
• Students send in their CV and letter and are given logical tests including maths, an interview, a stress test looking at students reactions and behaviour in a simulated situation e.g. member of parliament entering the room.
• The Bundestag has 100 students/trainees in 11 different professions e.g.:
o Administration – office manager, designer, digital media event manger
o Technics – plant mechanics: sanitary, heating, air conditioning, elect5ronic , energy and building technicians
o IT Technicians – IT specialist: system integration, electrical technician
o Police Officers – apprenticeships for in house policing
• IT Trainees follow the official educational curriculum at work and in college but also work in the Bundestag completing day to day tasks.
• Students visit various areas in the parliament e.g. repair shop and two weeks in the network team and hotline etc. also in the customer care team visiting staff with IT problems.
• The Bundestag realised there was no chance for students to learn marketing, trading etc. so the got together with the Dept. of Trade, TEA ( to ‘Charite’) etc. to learn this – setting up virtual companies so students could learn.
• The Students and company trainers have to follow the official curriculum and created their own also to cover skills such as:
o Soft skills, knowledge required to work at the Parliament e.g. history, laws, parties, committees, Standard German (German Tuesdays introduced speaking only correct German) and English Fridays, presenting skills and IT projects.
• Projects – the staff realised the importance of projects for the trainees e.g. working together as a team, teamwork capacity, take personal responsibility, meet deadlines as a team, everyone proactive – completing their role, find and finish the task.
• Present their project findings – the company grades the presentations (this is also part of their course exam) – students are taught eye contact, standing still posture, voice control and speed of presenting.
• Year one – students complete a project, commercial course (3 months) and communication seminars.
• Year two – students do not complete as many projects but do work based learning e.g. Ireland (Leonardo da Vinci) e.g. start of May to end of June working on live projects, and improving their language and life skills etc.
• Year three – projects and final exams.

Students completed 42 hours per week in college, there are 14 students per class learning 6 subjects, taught by 16 teachers over the three year course.

Originally the Bundestag sent students to Siemens Professional Education a private school. Students completed 39 hours per week in college, there were smaller classes (8 students), learning 5 subjects with 7 teachers.
• First year students were taught basic skills for their job and were entirely at school
• Second year students did 2/3 weeks at school and were mainly working at their job, working on projects and writing documents
• Third year students were mostly at work, only at school to prepare for exams and completing their exams.

Students personal experience – Students take it in turns to take on the role as ‘Project Manager’ this gives them confidence in their ability. One student he started only 16 years old and was the youngest in the class, he knew he was insecure and had low self-esteem. The teachers and staff worked with him to improve in these areas. He was not looking forward to the presentation at the end of the course he felt it was the hardest thing he would have to do but admitted this turned out to be the easiest because of the hard work the staff and student put in to improve.

Mrs Sabine Kropf organised a run for staff and students to help them get fit and develop team building and collaboration – this has developed into a greater event, taking part in the

The Chamber of Industry and Commerce – Berlin. IHK Berlin, Fasanenstrasse 85, 10623 Berlin.
Mrs Sandra Theede.
There had been a shortage of apprentices a number of years ago but this was not the case now,
recruiting apprentices is still a challenge and not every company can or is allowed to provide vocational training, they must be checked for suitability by the chamber. Each company must nominate an instructor – evidence must be provided to confirm the instructor is professional competent and has completed training on how to train and supervise students.

The ‘Vocational Training Act 1969’ was laid down in parliament and this was amended in 2005 allowing a third of the vocational training programme to be spent abroad.

The Chamber of Industry and Commerce provides the following services:
• Bringing together SME’s trainees
• Consultation of companies and trainees
• Acquisition of apprenticeships
• Aptitude test of training companies and instructors
• Checking and registering of training contract
• Organisation of interim and final exams
• Marketing for vocational training.

Staff Support
There are 6 teams representing various areas e.g. IT, Media, Hospitality etc. They provide advice and expectations on laws and procedures for vocational training companies and trainees.

Training Contract
A training contract is signed detailing the company information and payment details etc., this is registered on the CCI System organising intermedia and final exams.

The College is informed by the CCI and each student must produce the registration certificate to the college. It is the task of the company to register with the college but this is generally completed by the students.

Each contract has 1-4 months’ probation period during which time either party can dissolve the contract giving on reason. After four months it is difficult for a company to ask the student to leave.

University drop out students can join the college and take a shorter course as a pathway into the IT sector.

The chamber organises the exams with input from a company representative with expertise in the subject area, one teacher from the college and a member of the chamber. The exams are in the form of a range of assessments e.g. project work, presentations, written and practical examinations. Companies do not examine their own students this is completed by an examination board.

People working in industry can sit the exams without working as an apprentice if they can prove their work experience, they pay to ‘top up’ and will be expected to complete one or two semesters in college.

Information days are organised offering young children the chance to see possible career paths. These are also provided for older children, a range of large companies participate as well as colleges. School/Company Partnerships – these are advantageous to the schools because it motivates children and provides better external cooperation with companies. Companies gain from this also:
• An opportunity to influence students
• Gain knowledge about young people live and learning conditions
• Image improvement for the company
• Reduces drop-out rate in the VET system.

Career Fairs are also organised giving companies an opportunity to demonstrate their apprenticeship opportunities’ to future students.

The CCI are not keen on full time students (3 year courses) they do not feel there is enough industry experience.

Students starting up their own businesses are assisted by the CCI start up staff.

Some SME’s do not offer apprenticeships because of the difficulty with young students – young people tend to have punctuality problems the companies prefer older more mature applicants.

3. How did I feel about what was presented to me? What did I find innovative?
What did I find difficult or challenging to do or understand and why?

The Chamber of Commerce ensure people have a route into work and the standard is kept at a reasonably high level.

There is a great rapport between teaching staff and industry supervises with the students.

The students benefit greatly from the two teaching scenarios – at college and in industry. Students are given training to achieve their goals, offered the tools to evaluate their own development.

4. What is working well and could be applied in my organisation and why? How would you go about doing this?

SERC help to improve student’s skills in presenting and communicating but the level of guidance depends on the tutor or course. Would it work to impose particular days or classes to encourage students to speak English correctly, not using text/slang words? This would prepare them for industry and working abroad and improve their vocabulary and grammar.

Company supervisor – is as much a teacher as in college for dual students; encouraging free thinking, problem solving.

Parents information for placement students – we have an abundance of placement information for staff and students but not for parents – to inform them of the expectations of placement e.g. punctuality, attendance, sick leave, dress code, college contacts etc.

SERC Placement providers – I need to expand on the placement information we offer through BEST and initial emails etc.

Placement evaluations are mainly centred on employability skills and life skills this is similar to SERC placement evaluations but with added technical assessment’s. Similar to previous CME project outcomes – more Work Placement Officers would release teaching staff from placement visits.

5. What definitely would not work in my organisation and why?

The role the Chamber has with apprenticeships is fantastic. SERC is a member of Belfast Chamber of Commerce but I am not sure if and who attends the meetings etc. and what we get from the membership?

Any additional comments

It seems that the students on placement abroad are visited by the company supervisor and the college coordinator.

How quickly do the colleges adjust to changes in their industry standards?

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