Thursday, October 05, 2017

International Network on Innovative Apprenticeship-conference 2017 - DAY 1

In Washington DC for the biannual International Network of Innovative Apprenticeship (INAP) conference. The theme is Modern Apprenticeship: widening their scopes, sustaining their quality. The conference is held at the US Bureau of Statistics and organised by the American Institute for Innovative Apprenticeship, Siemens Foundation, Urban Institute and the Swiss Embassy. An opening reception is held on the evening of 1/10. As always, good to meet familiar faces and meet new researchers. 

The opening session is chaired by Robert I. Lerman. Greetings and opening remarks come from Professor Philipp Gonon.

First keynote is with Dr. Omar Arias from the World Bank, who speaks on the topic - Skills policies in a fast-changing world of work. Provided a high level overview, of relevance to Apprenticeships.Covered 3 mega trends - globalisation, shifting trade patterns and demographic shifts. Implications for skills demand and follow on to skills policies and programs. Mega trends exponential change increased by technological (ICT) breakthroughs. Brings costs of processes down, income from manufacturing employment has peaked and a concern for developing countries as they now are unable to raise national productivity and wages. Increasing urbanisation increases need for Services, shifting skills from technical to social / relational. So, increase in high skilled occupations with intensive non routine cognitive and interpersonal skills and decrease in low skilled occupations with non routine manual skills. Middle skills with intensive routine cognitive and manual skills especially challenged. Therefore, multiplicity of skills required including basic cognitive, social emotional and technical skills. Recommends training systems are market / employer driven, tailor needs to clientele / learner population, adopt task based approach to training, have mainstream active learning practices e.g. Apprenticeship, internships etc. and be results and evidence based to make decision. 

Workshops then begin. The first has 3 streams. I attend the stream on Apprenticeship and universities: substitutes or complements.

First up, Thomas Deissinger from the University of Konstanz in Germany, on VET and universities in the German context - substitutes or complements? A problem analysis. Provided an overview of the German VET context, then the structural relationships between Vocational and academic and discussion. Explained how the dual system (Apprenticeship) works. In essence, allows for students to move from Vocational to work or Vocational to entry into the academic. Slight shift in numbers over last decade with an increase in higher ed. 2.8 million in 2015 and 2.3 million in dual and full time VET. Summarised the challenges to try to balance employers demands for high quality entrants and young people's expectations for occupations with high wages and opportunities. Introduced the concept of vocational academies or dual universities which are an option post upper secondary education which also includes universities, polytechnics or applied universities and university of education. 4 meanings of tertairisation of VET - Vocational full time schools, hybrid qualifications, new Batchelor courses in HE and HE Institutes copying the VET dual model. Dual universities often envisaged as a 'premium Apprenticeship '.  

Followed by, Warren Guest from Holmesglen TAFE completing his studies in conjunction with Mike Brown at La Trobe University in Melbourne on  - Pastoral care within a college setting: customising individual Apprenticeship support towards lifting participation and completion rates. Detailed study carried out to increase apprenticeship completion. Started with an overview of the Australian system for the international audience. Rationalised project objectives. Piloted a centre to support apprenticeship (ASC) offering liaison between the various agencies and support networks, players. 183 case studies examined  and interviewed 6 ASC staff to find out what it was about ASC works best. Support from ASC included elements of pastoral care usually solved by referrals to other agencies,  mentoring was to assist with advice as to what to do after Apprenticeship, assistance with academic skills and financial assistance. Vocational background of ASC deemed to be major advantage in helping to resolve issues and assist with eventual completion. 

After lunch, the second round of workshop run. I stay in the workshop stream I present in. The theme is occupational standards and assessing competence.

First up, Douglas Haynes and team from the Institute of Technology in Dublin on Innovative Assessment and its implication for Apprenticeship. Changed assessment type in one module. Provided background of the development of core practical skills using project based learning. Objective to shift summative assessment to being more transparent and collaborative. Students self assessed their own work then peer assessed to negotiate final mark. Context in electronic engineering. Wanted to improve student and teacher relationship, improve feedback, improve clarity of assessment, improve self evaluation and assessment skills, and increase student confidence. Found better student and teacher relationship, assessments were clearer, self evaluation and confidence similar. feedback valued more in traditional assessments which may be because of students were in first year and more dependent on teacher judgement. 

I present examples and interim findings from our eassessment for learning project. Revolving around the affordances of efeedback, range of feedback and learning possibilities and need to ensure students and tutors confidence not only in digital literacy but also in learning through using digital tools and platforms. 

Then Professor Ursel Hauschildt from University of Bremen, working with Helen Brown, with competence measurement and development in South Africa: exploring the determinants heterogeneity. Reports on major conclusions of data analysis on COMET. Provided statistics on number of test takers, their trades, genders and completion rates. Explained how competency graphs are constituted. Reported on learners' perceptions on being tested. Despite many learners unable to complete tasks, most supported the tests, they were interested and motivated and enjoyed the challenging test. Discussed the wide range of results coming from the 12 sites and the challenges presented by the SA contexts. Teacher tests reveal wide gap between top and bottom teachers and will need to be addressed to assist forward movement,

Followed by Professor Ralph Dreher from the University of Zeeland, on work process oriented content of VET - a concept facing the development of industry 4. Worked on understanding industry's perspective on what is the future of industry in the context of the internet of things? Provided examples of totally automatic systems, replacing skilled workers. High qualifications work now has changed to becoming the optimisers - requiring knowledge of production process and programming knowledge. Therefore, need to combine the vocational with the academic. Framed using curriculum focused on higher skills (Spottl / Dreher, 2009) - moving from craftsmanship to industrialisation and automation with increase from imitation to science, action and design orientation. From being able to do to understanding and reflection. From unconscious incompetence to unconcious competence. Need to shift teachers as well. And there is the challenge of trying to understand how to understand unconscious competence. How to develop tacit knowledge, giving the possibility to verbalise and codify tacit knowledge.

Last stream of workshops and I attend the stream on Innovative teaching and learning.

Dr. John Gaal presents on tweaking success: developing a pre-Apprenticeship program for at risk high school students. Provided US background and present opportunities to encourage apprenticeship in Missouri. Case studies on Bayless Floor Layers mAp focused on bringing apprenticeship into the secondary school system, Ferg-Flor advanced manufacturing based in 6 states, BUD lite to bring women and minorities into construction trades.  Detailed evolution, development and logistical plans with the original Bayless programme since 2004 and scaling to other states. Summarised learnings as identify best practice, focus on something workable first, do your research, turn back if it does not work, and establish trusting relationships. 

Then, Aine Doherty from the Institute of Technology at Sligo, Ireland, on using reflective online diary entry to enhance teaching and learning in online Apprenticeship: pedagogical perspectives. The three year programme BA in insurance practice through Apprenticeship. One day a week online learning using Adobe Connect and Moodle. standard BA curriculum followed and third semester over the summer is on the insurance specific learning. Summarised the challenges and recommendations on experiences as online teachers. Connected reflective practice to students own learning, analysed students postings to improve teaching approaches and enable more holistic assessments (diaries worth 20% for summative assessment). 

Bettina Siecke from the University of Applied Science in Düsseldorf presents on heterogeneity as a challenge in assistant nurse training: which strategies do teachers use? Introduced the topic and context on the German health sector. Skill shortage due to aging population requires a broadening of skill and easing entry in assistant nursing - into dual Apprenticeship and through full time Vocational schools and schools of health and social sector. Regular nurse training system summarised. Comparatively, assistant nurse training is for 1 -2 years and content and learner profile is more diverse. Small study with 4 interviews across 5 teachers. Reported on results.  

The conference then travels across to the Swiss Embassy for more presentations and conference dinner. 

We begin the evening with a welcome from Dr. Simon Marti head of science, technology and higher education from the Swiss Embassy. Provides an overview of Swiss and US cooperation on Apprenticeship along with context, system and funding on apprenticeship. 

Professor. Philipp Gonon from the University of Zurich provides an overview on recent trends in Switzerland: skills policies in a fast changing world of work. Presented on expansion, quality and hybridisation through a longitudinal, historical report on the longevity of the Swiss VET system. 

Dr. Robert Lerman follows with the trends in the U.S. Apprenticeship. discussed the different US system where apprenticeship numbers are low, when compared to other similar countries like U.K., Australia and Canada. Presented on some of the multiple reasons for this. Need to recognise more than just academic skills to include occupational and employability skills. Recent and present governments support expansion of apprenticeship. Need 9 elements to sustain apprenticeship, effective branding, incentivise to set up apprenticeship, develop credible occupational standards, make Apprenticeship easy to create, funding for off job classes and quality education, counselling, screening and support of apprentices, certification body to issue credentials and research, credible assessments and train the trainers. Proposed how some of these elements can be achieved. 

Brent Parton deputy director of centre for education and skills - New America, presents on US Youth Apprenticeship and Colorado startup. Provided quick overview of New America and its vision and mission. Presented study on why youth apprenticeship has not become mainstream in US. Included case study on initiative in Colorado. Found public open to Apprenticeship but systems are fragmented and not well known. However, need to keep at it has many advantages for apprenticeship. Presented examples although most relatively small and much still needs to be done regarding support systems and policies. 

Each provides their perspective. Dinner is pizza from A wood fired oven on the Embassy grounds.

A busy, productive but long day. Good networking with a range of researchers working on similar challenges. 

No comments: