Economic Sectors: Tourism
Theme: Delivery of WBL, Partnership
Educational field and level: Vocational education and training
Target groups: Teachers and Trainers (Education and Training), Trainers and Mentors in the Workplace
Traineeships in VET colleges for tourism provide learners with practical skills and competences, with the associated practical training forming a part of the regular curriculum and valued equally by both learners and employers.
Learners at VET Colleges for Tourism in Austria undertake in-company traineeships, lasting a total of 32 weeks, as a part of their five-year training programme. Individual placements usually last for eight weeks, and take place each year during the summer break. Placements are regulated by an agreement between the learner - or their parents - and the employer, with VET colleges also providing assistance to learners to find a suitable placement. Learners are required to report on their traineeship experiences, with reports analysed and reviewed as a part of the next year’s training provision. Traineeships provide learners with an opportunity to experience real-world working environments in their targeted profession and sector (Tourism) as well as a chance to gain additional practical skills. Traineeships also ensure that future employees are sufficiently skilled to meet the requirements of the labour market and the targeted sector, which often has a high demand for young, well-skilled professionals. Companies see definite benefits in employing trainees during seasonal peaks and consider all such traineeships as a means of better preparing the future workforce. Individual learners also see direct benefits with many applying for work, following graduation, at the company in which have undertaken a work placement.
Success factors and challenges for WBL
One of the main success factors is that of the notably high commitment to traineeship from the world of work, with a high number of companies actively participating. Companies are also keen to provide feedback on learner performance and are actively involved in curriculum development, with the practice-oriented nature of classroom-based delivery seen as a facilitator for those entering the work-based environment. A continuing challenge is that tied to the preparation and qualification of in-company trainers and workplace mentors with currently no requirement for formal training.
Information on the VET system provided by the Ministry of Education: Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture (2011): Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Austria. http://www.abc.berufsbildendeschulen.at/upload/1844_E_Gesamtbrosch%FCre%20%282011%29.pdf
General information on VET in Austria: Sabine Tritscher-Archan; Sabine Nowak (eds., 2014): VET in Europe - Country Report Austria. Refernet. http://refernet.at/en/vet-in-austria/publications
Example VET school: MODUL Secondary School for Hospitality and Tourism: http://www.modul.at/en/programs-in-german/secondary-school-for-hospitality-and-tourism/