Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Modular training systems for SMEs
Keywords Small to medium-sized enterprises, Training
Modular training systems are currently very popular among the education policy makers in Europe. One of the advantages of a modular system is that it allows young people to gain vocational qualifications quicker than via long-term training courses. This in turn can reduce the level of dropouts and provide the labour market with more qualified workers - quicker.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), for whom education is essential for further professionalization, can gain a lot from these new trends in the building and development of competencies. The European Centre for Work and Society (ECWS) has recently concluded "Modular", a project investigating the types of modular training systems for SME entrepreneurs in Belgium and comparing them to examples in other European countries. Belgian modular training for entrepreneurs is still in its infancy. Some local initiatives have been taken by SME-oriented organizations, but there is not really a coherent policy. This should change in the near future in Flanders, thanks to the introduction of modular systems within vocational training.
A lot can be learned from the rich experience in Scotland and The Netherlands. In both countries, the teaching of entrepreneurial skills is an integral part of a modular process of vocational training. Their experience shows that specific guidance for students, teachers and schools is crucial to the success of a modular system. Equally important is the collaboration between government, education system and the labour market. Three coherent steps have been devised to ensure this. The first step is to determine the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed for a particular profession. This is then used to design a modular training and qualifications structure, which is further developed and implemented by the schools and training institutions. In this way, there is a better match between the supply of skilled workers and the needs of the labour market.
The Belgian initiators of modular training systems for entrepreneurs now have the advantage that they can learn from experience in other countries. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when developing the Flemish system.
For more information, contact Peter Vanzegbroeck at the European Centre for Work and Society, PO Box 3073, NL - 6202 NB, Maastricht. Tel: +31 (0) 43 321 67 24.