WBL Guarantee (Public-Private Alliance to GUARANTEE the quality of Work-Based Learning – 2017-1-IT01-KA202 -006161) is an Erasmus KA2 project, coordinated by the Regione Lazio, which started in September 2017 and ended in August 2020.
It was projected by a multi-actor Consortium, which involved 5 countries (Italy, Spain, Cyprus, Germany, Poland) and 11 public organizations (Regione Lazio, Cyprus Productivity Center, Andalucia Emprende), from the business sector (Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Confartigianato Imprese Lazio, Femeval), of the professional training system of employment services (ERIFO, FyG, MMC). The German University of Applied Sciences at Work (HdBA Mannheim) and an ICT company from Poland, Danmar, also took part in the consortium.
The main aim of the project was to contribute to the strengthening of learning in the workplace, increasing the skills of tutors (in companies and training agencies) involved in work-based learning paths, to facilitate successful management, market transitions, as well as the quality and attractiveness of such paths.
The project’s focus was the WBL activities not included in formal learning courses (for example in Italy, the extracurricular internship, or the II level traineeship), identifying and experimenting with a methodology aimed at enhancing such learning experiences. Furthermore, it is relevant to the purpose of subsequent certification of learning or the continuation of studies.
The main outputs of the WBL Guarantee project are the following:
1) A study on the WBL schemes adopted in the Consortium’s partner countries, also aimed at identifying the skills required by the profiles responsible for managing the devices. The research was based on quantitative analysis (questionnaires for trainees, interns, and apprentices – company tutors and training agencies) and qualitative analysis of the devices adopted in each country. From the study, a roadmap to achieve skills to become a tutor emerged.
2) The development and testing of a training program for business tutors (SMEs) with downloadable handouts in all the languages of the partnership. The course was developed for remote use, MOOC, with commented slides in the different languages of the partnership, as well as tested and validated, through piloting activities carried out by an adequate number of company tutors. The course allows the participants to acquire knowledge, techniques, and tools to monitor and quantify learning, including for subsequent certification, as well as to develop effective mentorship relationships, both for users of the WBL and for the company itself.
3) The development and experimentation of a study course for tutors of training and/or employment agencies, operating with the WBL programs, to strengthen their skills in planning, management, monitoring of learning.
The course is projected on training and professional standard. Furthermore, it was accompanied by a tool kit, containing the methodology of the course, the results of the learning, the guidelines for providing it, as well as the bibliographic reference materials.
Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic – the Italian course was also available in FAD, synchronous tutoring. The course provides to tutors methodological skills to project, implement and monitor WBL paths based on clear and measurable learning objectives/outcomes, as well as referenceable to standardized national profiles (to increase the guarantee that they can be – in a next step – enhanced through a skills certification process). The Course was validated through a piloting activity conducted in remote mode due to COVID 19.
4) A training activity that involved 18 Operators of the WBL and the Employment Centers. It allowed to validate and refine the curricula based on the training needs expressed by the technicians who took part in the project’s activities.
5) A comprehensive information manual to enhance the effectiveness of the WBL in non-formal learning courses. The Manual prepared based on the contributions of all partners, contains suggestions on the impact, sustainability, and transferability of the WBL Guarantee methodology in other contexts and countries. The manual aims to maximize the use of the products and stimulate institutional reflection on future work-based learning.