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Intellectual Outputs, Tools and Results

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Intellectual Outputs, Tools and Results

Here we will share our partnership intellectual outputs - our achievements, learning and results. This section demonstrates and provides evidence of the intellectual outputs we have undertaken in our partnership work plan and the goals we have achieved. It will also highlight any new learning and or added value outputs, outcomes and deliverables.

Project Tools and Resources

To view the NQCA Toolkit document, click on the relevant language link below

To download the NQCA Toolkit and additional documents in zip format, click on the relevant language link below

Intellectual Output 1(IO1)

IO1 - 1 September 2015 to 29 February 2016

An adapted Net-Working for Quality Assurance model relevant for the wider VET journey, across a variety of case studies and across partner countries.

IO1 - Aims

To develop a well-researched and relevant model of Interagency working focused on Quality issues (Quality Culture and Quality Assurance), which is based on the previously developed NQA model and which supports EQAVET. It aims to be relevant to a range of VET journeys which will be defined as part of this Output and inclusive of all relevant stakeholders. The target group will include Learners (particularly those most vulnerable during various stages and at transition points in the VET journey), and all relevant stakeholders at both local provision and regional/national policy levels.

IO1 - Key Tasks & Activities

  • Establish the VET journey in partner countries and at an EU level – define the VET journey
  • Agree case studies to be piloted (Young people, older workers, Apprenticeships, Unemployed, work based traineeships etc.)
  • Introduce the NQA model and inform partnership of its implementation, challenges, outcomes and future direction. Partners from the original NQA project (3) will present their experiences particularly in terms of the real challenges encountered, the learning gained and how this can inform the current project.
  • Finalise elements to be transferred (Resource manual, Interagency meeting content, training etc.), identify elements which are scalable and identify new areas for development
  • Conduct research in each partner country relevant to the project definition of the VET journey (Guidance, VET provision and upskilling/training in the workplace) and produce a report outlining the baseline situation across the partnership for the project.
  • Inform the development of the interagency model in terms of Quality Assurance and Quality Culture across the VET journey. Conduct research in partner countries and at EU level into QA (in guidance, VET and workplace learning), the implementation of EQAVET in partner countries and the existence of Quality Culture within the stakeholder organisations relevant to the VET journey.
  • Examine a model developed by the European University Association in their 'Examining Quality Culture in European Higher Education Institutions' (Loukkola & Zhang, 2010) and explore its appropriateness for the VET sector. This model proposes Structural-formal elements and Organisational -psychological elements (both collective and individual). This model could be used to inform the further development of the NQA Training (O5)
  • Develop an NQCA interagency model to be implemented across the partnership using a bottom up and top down approach, which is informed by the research conducted for this Output

IO1 - Results Achieved

  • A Report that draws together the research conducted by each partner which defines the VET Journey
  • Quality Assurance and Quality Culture in the VET journey, NQA Elements to be transferred and the NQCA Model for Implementation.
  • An Executive Summary of the Report in Italian, Finnish, German and Hungarian

IO1 - Demonstrating Results

Intellectual Output 2(IO2)

IO2 - 1 September 2015 to 31 March 2016

NQA: A Quality Label

IO2 - Aims

To develop the Net-Working for Quality Assurance (NQA) brand into a quality label, launch and establish it in each partner country so that it is recognisable as associated with Quality and Interagency working. The brand should be recognised by national systems.

IO2 - Key Tasks & Activities

  • Research in Partner countries on the status of Quality Assurance and the implementation and visibility of EQAVET (all partners)
  • Development of links between the project and with EQAVET reference points in each country (all partners)
  • Develop NQA as a brand representing Quality Assurance and Interagency approaches in each partner country (all partners)
  • Design and develop an online presence to create awareness of QA across the VET journey, at all levels, and a space where stakeholders can register their commitment to Quality and Interagency working, and where they can gain further information about how the NQCA approach could operate within their own area.
  • Develop relevant and appropriate content which will create an enthusiasm for the development of quality cultures leading to continuous improvement and QA in VET (GEMS NI, supported by all partners).
  • Design and develop four newsletters which will be available for download from the website
  • Create a dissemination strategy which will optimise the spreading of learning across the VET sector and across the VET journey and which will highlight the NQA quality label and its significance.
  • Conduct research in each partner country relevant to the project definition of the VET journey (Guidance, VET provision and upskilling/training in the workplace) and produce a report outlining the baseline situation across the partnership for the project.

IO2 - Results Achieved

  • A Report that draws together the research conducted by each partner which defines the VET Journey Quality Assurance and Quality Culture in the VET journey, NQA Elements to be transferred and the NQCA Model for Implementation.
  • An Executive Summary of the Report in Italian, Finnish, German and Hungarian

IO2 - Demonstrating Results

  • The Quality Label was formally launched 4th December 2015 in Dublin Ireland
  • The www.nqca.eu website went live in February 2016 and was launched in a periscope broadcast from the project twitter account @NQCA_Info
  • All partners are working to raise awareness of the quality label locally, regionally and nationally – this will be ongoing during the project lifetime
  • Connected2 Spring 2016 has been published with the Summer 2016 newsletter due in June 2016

Intellectual Output 3(IO3)

IO3 - 01st February 2016 – 30th June 2017

Implementation of the NQCA Model

IO3 - Aims

This output aims to put quality culture at the core of QA (QALLL, recommendation 2) by building interagency networks across the partnership that will committee to developing quality cultures within and across the partnership stakeholders. Ownership of the approach will be enabled by involving stakeholders from the outset. A participatory approach whereby key stakeholders activity participate and buy into the process will be essential and ensure that stakeholder membership feel that there is value in their participation. The aim is to implement the adapted NQCA model at local/ regional and learner levels.

IO3 - Key Tasks and Activities

  • Identify stakeholders at local and national levels concerned with Guidance, Basic education, VET, employment supports, employers, workplace learning and upskilling.
  • Implement the NQCA interagency approach in seven partner locations (Dublin, Belfast, London, Turku, Berlin, Eger and Rome). Each partner will establish, foster and drive a local interagency group, who will meet 6 times over the project lifetime. The purpose of the interagency approach is to raise awareness of QA, gain a common understanding of QA, its concepts and tools, to build mutual trust and foster a quality culture by enabling a bottom up approach.
  • The national group will be established and invited to participate in either individual meetings to an interagency group who will meet 3 times during the project.
  • A learner forum will be established in each of the seven locations, where small groups (6-8 participants) will be brought together to discuss Quality experiences on 4 occasions and whom will inform and further develop the NQCA model.
  • In total across seven sites, 91 meetings on quality Culture and Quality Assurance will take place, alongside 6 transnational meetings and seven multiplier events (one in each country, two in the UK – Belfast and London).

IO3 - Results Achieved

  • Each partner chose a specific case study to test the model. This approach allowed the partners to demonstrate the flexibility of the NQCA model.
  • A total of 94 meetings were held across seven locations.
  • Each of the partners established a Local / Regional and Learner group.
  • Findings at each of the meetings were communicated to the other stakeholder groups enabling a bottom up and top down approach. The aim of this approach is to reduce the drop in quality at the transition points in a learners VET journey.
  • Many of the local interagency groups have planned to continue after the life of the project.
  • Multiplier events were held in seven different partner countries. The multiplier events were to disseminate the work of the project and the importance of Quality Culture and Quality Assurance underpinning a learners VET journey. Each event focused on a different aspect of the project work. There was good representation from participants involved in VET, education, career guidance and the national bodies responsible for EQAVET.

Intellectual Output 4(IO4)

IO4 - 01st September 2015 – 31st August 2017

Toolkit for Policy Impact

IO4 - Aims

This output aims to develop a toolkit which can be used by Policy Makers to participate in and support the development of Quality Culture and Quality Assurance at national, regional and local levels. Often at the national level, QA is characterised as a formal, bureaucratic procedure which is delivered using a top down management approach. QALLL and the NQA project emphasised the 'closing of the quality cycle', connecting the bottom up qualitative approach with the top down quantitative approach. The NQA project sought to engage the national /policy level across partner countries however this proved to be a difficult process, with levels of engagement varying across the partnership, as commitment was based on the prevalence of existing relationships rather than on a strategic approach.

The involvement of MetropolisNet as leader of 104, with its specific transnational scope and range of action will endeavor to support the development of a strategic toolkit for policy makers relevant across the partnership and beyond. MetropolisNet is a consolidated entity at EU level which aims to promote learning experiences in VET, the labour market and social inclusion in metropolitan European contexts.

IO4 - Key Tasks & Activities

  • Survey the specific policy-practice gaps within the QA arena at EU level and at national level (within partner countries). Utilise the local interagency groups in partner countries and the national groups/stakeholders identified by each partner to establish an understanding of the policy–practice gaps and or blocks in the QA cycle.
  • Develop a compendium on Policy-Practice issues for QA in VET, presented in a systematic way identifying commonalities and differences across countries and at EU level.
  • Make recommendations as to how the national/policy level can engage in interagency working and promote Quality Culture throughout the Quality cycle.
  • Develop a Toolkit for policy makers on Quality Culture and Quality Assurance across the VET journey. This key tool will provide the national level/policy makers with practical step by step guidance on planning and implementing a strategy where quality culture will be promoted and enabled. It will make recommendations as to how the Policy-Practice gap can be reduced or even closed. It will focus on enabling structural elements such as quality goals, governance and tools for evaluation to be supported by organisational elements such as trust (Leadership, communication, participation, collaboration) and shared values. It will offer guidance on the promotion of Quality Culture from the top down.
  • This Toolkit approach will add enormous value to the nurturing of a wide scale quality culture as it will not simply document the recommendations but will test its relevance through the implementation of the national group.

IO4 - Results Achieved

  • A toolkit for policy makers was developed, case studies from the seven partner countries highlight where the policy practice gaps exist. Each case study had a list of recommendations that can be used to reduce the gaps.
  • The toolkit also contains the Guidelines and Resource pack, the stakeholders meeting templates, questionnaires used to capture information for the Social Return on Investment report on the project and the local NQCA Interagency training developed as part of the project.
  • The toolkit is available in English, Italian, Hungarian, Finnish and German on this web page

Intellectual Output 5(IO5)

IO5 - 01 February 2016 to 31 May 2017

NQCA Training and Master training

IO5 - Aims

This output aims to further adapt the Training for stakeholders (at local, regional and national levels) in interagency working and Quality Culture and Assurance and to train two Master Trainers from each partner country who will deliver one Training course each in their own country. This will ensure participation in the project by members of new potential interagency groups across the partner country. Participants at local, regional and national level will be invited to participate in the training and to establish similar networks promoting quality culture and assurance.

IO5 - Key Tasks & Activities

  • NQA training module to be used as a base for the development of a NQCA training module for all stakeholders involved at any point in the VET journey .Training will focus on interagency working, developing quality cultures (Structural-formal elements and the Organisational -psychological elements) and assuring quality is driven from the bottom up as well as from the top down. The module will also aim to support participants in demonstrating evidence of quality relative to national and European standards.
  • The training course will examine a number of case studies captured through the implementation of the NQCA model, which represent VET journeys from across the partnership, and allow participants to work through real cases in an interagency /partnership way, identifying how quality can be improved particularly at transition points in the VET journey, and how to develop strong interagency approaches to improving learning outcomes and experiences.
  • The Training modules will be tested by partners and adaptations made to ensure relevance across each partner context.
  • A key recommendation from the NQA project was the competencies of the NQA trainer/ facilitator. A competency framework for Master trainers will be developed and Master trainers will be selected by each partner organisation.
  • Master Training Curriculum will be developed and piloted with a small sample from partner organisations. Master Training will be implemented at the Train the Trainer training in Dublin.
  • Master Trainers will plan and deliver two NQCA training courses in each partner country

IO5 - Results Achieved

  • The competency framework for the NQCA master training was developed
  • Master training took place in Dublin in March 2017
  • Partners delivered two local trainings to participants from the local/regional groups as well as other interested parties.
  • The local training is available in English, Hungarian, Finnish, Italian, and German on this web page

Intellectual Output 6(IO6)

IO6 - 01st September 201 5 to 30th August 2017

Social Impact Evaluation

IO6 - Aims

This Output aims to evaluate the impact of interagency working, by measuring the social value created for a range of key stakeholders. The NQA project identified a lack of enthusiasm for interagency working at a national level, where time and resource implications were perceived as barriers, and where the value of interagency working did not out weight the costs associated with interagency working. This was also a concern at local levels, where organisations were reluctant to release staff to work in an interagency way, where staff representation could be changed at each meeting etc.

This IO seeks to measure the impact of this way of working, particularly in relation to Quality culture, learner’s experiences, improvements in quality across the journey and across a range of case studies.

IO6 - Key Tasks and Activities

  • Introduction to Social Impact Evaluation for Partners: structure of the evaluation, identification of stakeholders, Principles of Social Impact and Social Return on Investment, identification of inputs, outputs, outcomes and outcome measures
  • Define the Social Impact Framework - this will involve excellent documentation of the project and internal monitoring of transnational meetings, interagency meetings, Multiplier events, Training.
  • Build the Impact Map
  • Conduct the Social Impact evaluation with Stakeholders
  • Production of a Social Impact evaluation report

IO6 - Results Achieved

  • Evaluation project plan was developed and presented to project partners
  • Key questionnaires were developed for the stakeholders meetings, information was captured through forums and evaluations.
  • NQCA Impact Map was developed
  • NQCA Evaluation Report was compiled to display the value of interagency working