Approaches from the Learning Practitioners’ Perspective.
There are a number of facts, and already several studies globally about how and how much work-based learning strategies improve a range of strategic elements in the industry, from talent capture to speed and spread of innovation, competitiveness, learning process efficiency etc.
As an active practitioner both in the creative and cultural industries and the learning sector, there is a single determinant fact:
It is what really happens
The dichotomy starts when the legislative framework of each country in the European Union enters into play. Our experience shows that almost every successful case from big corporations to one person brands in the CCIs It has an invisible process of both work-based learning and peer transfer of knowledge and skills. This does not permeate at the same level to the formal learning sector, the policies and the legislative context.
A little historical track reminder
These results became clear during the research process and country scoping exercises during the Learn to Create project. The traditional mentorship existing in the Arts is that intuitive notion, almost a natural impulse we have of learning by replicating, to mimic the one we admire, particularly in arts, to finally find the “master” who you can shadow to learn throughout your journey.
This instinctive methodology was meant to change with the industrial revolution, it was not scalable to the new increasingly demand for literate, mathematical and logical skills needed, a drastic innovation at the time was needed and the result of it was a restructured, state regulated learning pathway for every citizen. (something similar is going to happen with code and programing in a few years but that is another story).
The advance of the education system was of a magnitude that had a positive change on the entire world. This has lasted for a long period in which the “supremacy of knowledge” proved beneficial for every single aspect of society.
While work based learning as a concept did not really start to be used until the very end of the XX century, the practice still remained as one of the most natural informal learning strategies in the CCIs.
What it has changed in the last 10 years has made the concept along with the practice itself to become a critical catalyst for the inflexion point needed in the learning sector to adapt again to a new revolution, as it did after the industrial revolution and neoclassical period.
Work based learning in its modern concept has become a critical element for sustainability, competitiveness and again scalability this time in both the CCI’s and the VET training provision attached to this sector. This is not new.
The industry has already widely embraced the approach, almost every sizable company with an HR department has implemented it. The European Union recognised this more than a decade ago with transnationally funded programs offering early results back in 2008 and policy makers were already starting to be scrutinized in 2012 in how they apply this concepts into actual policy
Whilst some sectors have already benefited from this including the automotive industry, aeronautics, building and construction, the CCIs still have a distance to travel to achieve a “level playing field across Europe.
A bottom up strategy
Whilst the traditional, formal learning sector has always followed a top down approach, supported by legislative frameworks and benefits, this has proven insufficient to reach the necessary level of flexibility and capacity of dialogue with the industry. To update practice and efficiency in the learning pathways particularly in the CCI sector in which formal training has become a silo, with a resistance to adapt to changes …
One of the critical elements that we found thanks to the interaction at a transnational level during the research and methodological exercise in Learn to Create was that, the legislative differences from country to country makes the landscape uneven and irregular. Some places share the dual-learning strategy with solid legislative frameworks behind it, whilst in other countries this is not present at all. Some countries offer apprenticeships, whilst others do not have any updated legislation to cover this.
Given the successful efforts and achievements in terms of mobility in the Eurozone, this creates an intense dystopia, which makes the second critical element more difficult. The adoption from the sector.
What we tried to provide with the results of the second intellectual output in the project was a first building blocks to deliver the opposite strategy, a bottom-up approach in which the practitioners themselves seek solution. The hypothesis of this approach is that when we reach a critical mass in practice over the learning sector associated with the CCI’s the legislative changes needed will shortly follow, but more importantly it will be feasible to deliver, something that has also failed when countries deploy a legislation when the landscape is not ready yet to embrace it.
The Vet practitioner as a vehicle for change towards a feasible work based learning approach
This heading could resume the intent and aim of these first building blocks we tried to provide for the CCI training community. Let’s remind, update, bring to digital, and put back in practice, competences already forgotten or diluted into the instinct of informal learning, and most importantly updating those competences to the new scenario in which changes happen at an increasing rate, and the size and maturity of the CCI sector in the EU.
With this in mind we researched, designed and developed a Curriculum Framework to improve the capabilities and capacities of the VET practitioners, to promote the WBL strategies, reach the industry actors in their contexts and facilitate the journey and efficiency of the learning they provide to the new generations.