Founded in 1975, Academia Marco is a Private Technical School, located in the centre of Zaragoza (Spain), where around 500 students are engaged in studies here. As far as Education is concerned, this Technical School offers a wide range of specific Vocational Education and Training, from Initial to Advanced level and Dual Training. Furthermore, this Education Institution is authorised to teach some training courses from INAEM (Spanish Public Employment Service) to unemployed people.
We will undertake five main actions for the internationalisation of our Institution: extending mobility opportunities not only to students but also to staff, building an inclusive and connected Higher Education Institution, implementing digital mobility management, developing innovative practices and promoting civic engagement.
We strongly believe that it is an essential strategy for Academia Marco to continue taking part in the Erasmus + Mobility Programme because nowadays, more and more of our students request for work placements in other European Union Member States. Apart from that, our staff demand the possibility to contact with other European Educational Institutions to accomplish the implementation of innovative practices in education and training, which will be a highway to the modernisation of our institution. Advanced Vocational Education and Training students of our school have carried out placements abroad for the last six years through the Erasmus Programme so we would like to extend this opportunity to staff members. Since we have enough experience to manage new challenges now, we are ready to face them.
Therefore, one of our Institution main educational strategies that the school is planning is the mobility of both its students and teaching staff, willing to integrate it as part of the Educational Project for the Centre (PEC). This strategy acknowledges the key contribution of mobile students and staff to improve the quality of Vocational Education and Training programmes, to increase their employment prospects and to strengthen European identity of all members of the school community. Our institution undertakes to contribute to the goals of a European Education Area laid down in the communication on “Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture”.
In particular, we will take part in Erasmus Key Action1 learning mobilitycalledthe Mobility of Higher Education students and staff.It is worth mentioning that our target groups for mobility activities will be Advanced Vocational Education and Training students to do their traineeships in a another European country, and staff either to teach or to train at a partner Education Institution or business company.
On the one hand, remarkable benefits for the students are that mobility activities can help them to learn foreign language, broaden minds to become more respectful to every culture, strengthen European identity, know new techniques and develop self-confidence and responsibility. That said, given the high rate of youth unemployment in Spain, the principal aim is employability in Spain or any foreign country.On the other hand, benefits for the participant staff are that mobility activities will allow them to learn about different education systems and techniques implemented in other countries and share them with the rest of the staff.
Our objectives regarding internships abroad and staff mobility are:
- To provide students with experiences with normal mobility format or blended mobility format which complement their education at our Institution.
- To ensure that our mobility participants are sufficiently prepared for their mobility periodswith digital knowledge and language capabilities.
- To consolidate the contribution of the Advanced Vocational Training and Education to the innovation process.
- To improve the quality and increase the amount of cooperation among our school and other Higher Education Institutions, Research Centres and companies in the framework of a clear strategy of internationalisation.
- To facilitate the development of innovative practices for education and training at a tertiary level and their transfer.
- To promote and support student and staff mobility, especially for individuals with fewer opportunities, and develop non-discrimination policies
- To promote lifelong learning to support employability for young people in a country where unemployment levels are very high.
- To recognise the importance of, and provide visibility to the results achieved by our staff members and students engaged in individual mobility.
The Strategy to be followed progressively by our Institution in the following years is:
- To establish quality procedures for the mobility of students and academic staff.
- To develop and improve foreign language competence for students and teachers
- To maintain and reach new agreements with European companies, research centers and institutions.
- To digitalise Erasmus procedures in line with the technical standards of the European student card initiative (Erasmus without paper).
- To promote environmentally friendly practices in all activities related to the programme and sustainability.
- To encourage the participation of individuals with fewer opportunities in the programme.
- To promote civic engagement and encourage students and staff to get involved as active European citizens
To respect the non-discrimination objectives and inclusive policy, we impulse social cohesion, active citizenship and civil engagement through social responsibility actions in our institution. That is why our Institution is holder of the seal of entity RSA+ (Social Responsibility Entity of Aragon). We also promote intercultural dialogue because we are located in one of Zaragoza’s most multicultural neighbourhoods withdisadvantaged socioeconomic or migrant backgrounds. As we have this wide cultural diversity, we try to reinforce the learning ability to create a feeling of European citizenship based on human rights respect and tolerance. In addition to this, we carry out activities to contribute to equality between men and women.As far as disabilities, our policy has taken into account the full integration of physically handicapped users.
The opening of our institution to Europe is our main target to improve the quality of education, modernisation and employability of our students.
First of all, we want to state that we would like to take part in Erasmus Key Action 1 Learning Mobility: the Mobility of Higher Education students and staff.
For this reason, our target groups for mobility activities will be Advanced Vocational Education and Training students to do their internships in a foreign country and academic staff to teach or receive training.
The students have to be enrolled on any second school year of Advanced Vocational Education and Training to be eligible for the Erasmus + project after having completed a previous year of studies
The institution provides the following studies at this level: Marketing and Advertising,International Commerce, Clinical and Biomedical Laboratory and Computer Network Systems Management.
The academic programme of this second school year is quarterly and modularised. The first two trimesters roughly comprise 10 weeks of classes followed by a week of examinations. Our pupils have to acquire theoretical knowledge at school then and in the last term, a 370-hour work internship is compulsory. Finally, they will graduate positively once completed.
The work placement in a European country will be part of the Erasmus+ student mobility traineeship. On the other hand, the staff mobility will have the purpose of teaching or training in other Higher Education Institution or enterprise. Students and teachers will be supported by our Institution to carry out their mobilities.
The people who will participate in the role of organizing and developing the mobilities will be the following: the administrative staff (which will supervise the Erasmus accounting), the Erasmus department composed of two coordinators, the members of the different departments of the institution, the tutors, the School Director and the Headmaster. The Erasmus coordinators will inform the School Board about all details concerning the implementation of the Erasmus programme.
It is necessary to organise clearly defined activities – before, during and after mobility – within the framework of an institutional mobility culture, which involves the whole academic community so:
Firstly, there will be an information day at the beginning of the school year to explain the Erasmus programme to encourage as many students as possible to participate in it.
We will ensure that selection procedures for student mobility activities are fair, transparent and documented. We will take into account academic records, foreign language level (a minimum to be able to understand working tasks), a language test (if they do not have a language certificate) and a personal interview.Apart from that, the Erasmus department will ask the other departments and tutors for their opinion. We will ensure equitable access to all potential participants, especially those with fewer opportunities so we will provide a pre-financing of the student grant (80 per cent) plus an additional help and additional points. There will be two formats: a blended mobility format and a normal one and the work placements can be curricular and extracurricular.
We will guarantee that outgoing mobile participants are well-prepared for their activities abroad by undertaking activities such as talks about the necessary information of destination countries. There will be an online archive with feedback from former mobility participants so that the new applicants can contact them to solve their questions.
Regarding the language capabilities, participants will have a compulsory two or four hour per week English module included in their curriculum. Apart from that, we will inform them about free courses organized by public entities in our area. Erasmus coordinators will explain to the outgoing students cultural tips and basic tools for staying abroad.
During the first term, both students and Erasmus coordinators will seek foreign companies, research centres and Higher Education Institutions that are willing to provide them with work placements because we want our students to be involved in the searching process too.
- Student mobility: there will be a learning agreement that is to be signed by the School director, the company mentor and the student. This will include dates, insurance policies, training activities, dates, knowledge to be acquired, monitoring system and assessment system.
- Staff mobility:The teacher who intends to carry out a mobility will have to prepare a project that includes the activity he or she wants to carry out, the objectives and the way to apply the project in the school. Once approved, a compulsory mobility agreement between the sending and receiving Higher Education Institutions/enterprises for teaching or receiving training will indicate the activities to be undertaken by the school member and expected outcomes and impact in both institutions.
Our institution will provide the participants with an accident and a liability insurance to complete the one offered by the Regional Education Administration. Moreover, we will offer help to make accommodation and travel arrangements, to prepare paperwork and to issue European Health card.
A school mentor will support the mobile student while in the enterprise/ institution. There will be a contact with him/ her via email, Skype or telephone weekly to provide support, encouragement and information to the trainee on life and experience at the workplace. Likewise, there will be an email contact between the school mentor and the company mentor monthly to monitor the activities and any problems. The learning agreement will specify the contact details for both the school mentor and the company mentor. Participants will be made aware of whom they can contact in case of problems, telephone numbers and emails of Erasmus coordinators and insurance protocols in case of accidents.
In the case of positive evaluation, full recognition will be granted by the ECTS (a full quarter’s work placement programme is worth 22 ECTS), by the Europass Certificate Supplement, by the Higher Technician Diploma and by an Erasmus Traineeship Certificate which will be given exclusively to the pupils who pass the work placement abroad. The company, the Research Centre or the Higher Education Institution will issue this Traineeship Certificate attesting duration, tasks and competencies developed.
As we mentioned before, by carrying out traineeships in other European countries, our technical school will facilitate the development of innovative practices, expand cooperation networks and improve the employability of our students both in Spain and abroad.
Staff mobility will allow our Institution to get to know different education systems to enrich our own, to be in touch with the new methodologies and techniques implemented in European organizations and to enrich the rest of the staff with the experiences and new learning acquired during the mobility. After it, teachers will achieve a certificate of recognition.
Our Education Institution is sure that our participation in the Erasmus + Programme will give a boost to modernize and improve our education and training programmes and make them more innovative. Our strategy acknowledges the important contribution of staff and student mobility to increasing employability as well.
The expected impact of our participation in the Erasmus +mobility will be:
- Extending mobility opportunities to Vocational Education and Training students with fewer opportunities and teachers to methods, practices and technologies used in other countries will help not only to improve attractiveness of Vocational Education and Training Programmes but also to increase employability. That is why to carry out work placements and training /teaching periods in foreign countries is so important.
- Strengthening education quality through mobility and cross border cooperation between our Technical School and other Higher Education Institutions. Transnational mobility, as well as international cooperation will contribute to the internationalisation of our Institution and increase our openness.
- Developing cooperation with partners in other countries such as enterprises, clinical laboratories, hospitals and other Higher Education Institutions in the framework of a clear strategy of internationalisation. We have already established partnerships between our Higher Vocational Education institution and other Education Institutions such as Universities and companies in England, Czech Republic, Malta and Finland.
- Taking active measures to implement minimum requirements for digital mobility management progressively promoting learning and training opportunities in this field to administrative and other staff within the Institution to build capacity for digitally arranging mobilities.
- Striving to promote environmentally sustainable and responsible behaviour among its mobility participants as our Institution supports the objectives of sustainable development as shown on its website.
- Enabling young people to multicultural awareness and a stronger sense of European identity amongst mobile students and staff. In addition to this, we hope that the students with a mobility experience will be far more engaged in civil society organisations to help people with special needs. This will fit with the social responsibility actions our Institution usually carries out in our town.
- Improving governance and funding. This program will help students even those with less opportunities to finance their work placements in a foreign country and facilitate the transition from education to the world of global work.
Qualitative and quantitative indicators in monitoring this impact will be:
- Early school leaving reduction at all levels from initial vocational training to advanced vocational training if the Vocational Education and Training programmes are more attractive.
- An increase in the employment rates of mobile students: some of them will stay in the countries where they do their internships and others will increase the possibility of finding a job in Spain and other European countries.
- Participant assessment reports of outgoing students and staff.
- A rise of Cooperation partners: Higher Education Institutions, Laboratories, Companies, Research Centers…
- A growth of innovation, efficiency, time saving of Digital Mobility management via European Card Initiative and Erasmus + mobile App. This will be a big step to the modernisation of our Institution
- An increase of civil engagement actions and foster a positive attitude to other cultures in our neighbourhood, while having a European identity.
- The emergence of blended mobility grants which can give opportunities to access them with more flexibility and for people with less income level.
- A rise of environmental friendly practices following the Institution policy of recycling and protecting the environment.
- An increase of grants for people with fewer possibilities.
- A public recognition via encounters and talks of the mobility participants to tell their rewarding experiences to the new students and staff.