Here we will summarise the main project events and activities as we undertake our partnership meetings, multiplier events, learning teaching and training events and local/regional events that partners undertake to share the NQCA project journey.
Ballymun Job Centre was our host for the 5-day Master Training in Dublin. All partners had left Belfast on 10th February with a lot of homework to do for the big push on IO5 less than a month later. In Dublin, it was very clear that everyone had worked very hard to design and shape the training models they were responsible for and were ready to deliver these in a real teaching and learning situation. The illustration below summarises the key training activities.
Our meeting in Belfast had a key focus on consolidating the work and planning undertaken in Milan and developing the Master Training Programme – the 5-day training programme to be held in Dublin in March 2017 after which partners would deliver this training to their key stakeholders. The illustration below sets out the key tasks and activities undertaken.
We had a very positive and productive meeting in Belfast with our Social Dinner at Lewis Square Visitor’s Centre in East Belfast. We enjoyed a tour of Lewis Square and the fascinating sculpture gardens which were characters from East Belfast born C.S. Lewis, author of The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe Narnia books; followed by a presentation on the regeneration of the Connswater Greenway and Lewis Square.
The Theme of the Multiplier event was Measuring Interagency and Quality Culture
It was a very busy morning with seven speakers, each taking a different perspective on quality assurance and quality culture. We were delighted to have with us Rodney McMaster from the Northern Ireland Education and Training Inspectorate who spoke about promoting quality improvement in European Social Fund projects. Lorraine Boyd, Co-ordinator of the Northern Ireland NEET Strategy Forum (which has 140 member organisations) presented on the forum’s experience as an organisation dedicated to networking for quality culture and quality assurance. Stephen Atkinson and Michael Lennon (participant on the EmployAbility South project) spoke of their experience as a multi-stakeholder project manager and project beneficiary on the importance of quality culture and assurance to deliver a quality service. Finbarr Fitzpatrick then discussed the NQCA approach to measuring social impact.
The NQCA partnership had another packed agenda for its 3rd transnational meeting in Milan, Italy. Our hosts CIOFS-FP provided us with a beautiful meeting space and a warm welcome to Milan.
The main work of this meeting was to review our performance against the tasks and activities set out in the intellectual outputs and to begin the first stage of planning for the 5 day training that would take place in Dublin in April 2017.
Our 3rd Multiplier Event’s focus was ‘The impact of the interagency model on Quality Culture & Quality Assurance’ at National, Regional & Local level.
The aim was not only to disseminate updated information about the project to a wider audience than that involved in the project itself, but also to open it to a wider public and stimulate debate on possible impacts of the Interagency model into Quality Culture and Quality Assurance at National, Regional and Local levels.
Delegates from local authorities and companies - along with other significant bodies concerned with quality issues - such as the National Accreditation Body ACCREDIA, the Certification Bodies LRQA and other key stakeholders attended the Multiplier Event.
Our second NQCA Partnership meeting took place in Turku, Finland. Similarly to our time in Dublin at our kick off meeting, the weather was quite cold and sometimes wet during our few days but we experienced the best of Finnish hospitality from our fantastic hosts the City of Turku. Our agenda was packed as we strived to review the work we had done together since our meeting in Dublin in December.
Multiplier events and other tasks over the coming months. The meeting was very busy but also productive and we rewarded ourselves with a lovely partner dinner in Mami, a lovely restaurant by the river in the city centre. Fantastic food and company, it was thoroughly enjoyed by the partners. We concluded our meeting with our Multiplier Event in Turku.
This was a public event held in the Radisson SAS hotel, in city of Turku, 8th of April where stakeholders of the VET journey, were invited to attend to gain information about the NQCA project, meet the partnership involved, and start a dialogue on quality in guiding and quality culture. This also had the objective of disseminating information about the project and identifying relevant stakeholders who will participate in the local and regional interagency groups. The opportunity was also used to launch the NQA quality label and define its meaning and significance to VET stakeholders. All project partners attended this event and presentations were made by the Ballymun Job Centre and Education Division city of Turku.
Head of vocational education in city of Turku, director Hannu Immonen, opened the event, welcomed all the participants and gave presentation of vocational education and quality assurance in VET in city of Turku.
Julie McCafferty presented an overview of the current Networking for Quality Culture and Assurance (NQCA) project. NQCA is a strategic partnership project funded under the Erasmus+ programme. It aims to design, develop and implement a model of Interagency working which focuses on Quality Culture and Quality Assurance across the VET journey. Apart from the interagency network, it will develop an NQCA model and toolkit, conduct a social impact evaluation, and develop training that will hopefully all contribute to the sustainability of the project.
Teachers Niina Tunturi’s and Dinah Arifulla’s presentation they gave an overview of the learners experiences of quality in guiding – what students expect, how they feel about guiding in apprenticeship and what is good guiding.
The second part of the event was discussion session in which the focus was on sharing good practices. The session was a learning café: there were four tables with themes “High quality guiding – right person in right place”, “What is quality in VET?”, “How can you measure quality in VET?” and “Different actors´ roles in assurance of quality – learners- teachers-stakeholders”. All the participants gave their ideas and comments to each theme.
Our First NQCA Partnership meeting took place in Dublin, Ireland – the weather may have been cold, wet and windy but our hosts Ballymun Job Centre gave us a warm Irish welcome.
Following partner welcome and introductions and presentations on our organisations, we got down to the business in hand. Our schedule was both busy and very interesting as we worked to develop our shared understanding of the tasks in hand as we energised our project from the pages of our successful Erasmus+ application to our partnership team in action.
As you can see we were very busy but we did find the time to share good food and good company and of course some Christmas shopping on Grafton Street!
This was an excellent first multiplier event which created a great first step for the project in Ireland and in Europe. Delegates representing local, regional and national level who are stakeholders in the VET journey were in attendance to learn about the NQCA project its history and work plan and to meet the partnership. The emphasis was on beginning the dialogue on networking for quality assurance and culture and encouraging participation from those present in the interagency working groups that would support the project.
This platform was also used to launch the NQA quality label and define its meaning and significance to VET stakeholders. All project partners attended this first event and presentations were made by the Ballymun Job Centre, GEMS Northern Ireland on the development of the NQCA quality Label and City of Turku Education Department, who presented their experiences of interagency and the value created to date, as well as a presentation from Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI).
The feedback from delegates was that NQCA was an interesting project and one that had the opportunity to influence both National and European VET policy and practice.
Michael Creedon Ballymun Job centre, setting the context for NQCA in the Job Centre's strategic vision