It was an amazing privilege to be invited to make two presentations, chair and participate in a series of workshops in Ankara following catching up with the Turkish delegation in Scotland some seven months ago.
I was on familiar ground around talking occupational standards, national awarding , accreditation, credit and levelling and quality control at national and centre level, but my talk was about how centres can use technology to support innovative delivery and personalised assessments which is my current day job, reflecting the work of our team.
I know we as a centre can support centres and training staff in Turkey to innovate their practice. I hope a partnership can grow around that.
Interesting opportunities too with a large centre in France for learner and staff exchange and with a centre in Italy keen to figure out portfolios, microcredentials and digital badging with us. I'll take these back to our international team.
It was great to hear the progress that has been made in Turkey where they have broadly adopted the Scottish Vocational system. Like many other countries. Unit based awards with clear approval criteria for centres and a sensible sampling quality assurance process is a sensible option. Well done SQA who were along to support event and great to catch up with Roderic Gillespie and Donald Paterson two former SQA colleagues supporting the developments in Turkey. Well done too to the SCQF partnership who were truly european trail blazers around setting up a national qualifications framework.
We visited a really well equipped training centre and sampled their processes. These would be familiar to any training centre or College in Scotland. One thing stood out, when assessing candidates on solar panel installation or working at height on powerlines, all of the practical assessments are videoed as evidence and kept for later sampling. At moment evidence is required to be kept for 100 years. In Scotland we just need to hold evidence for around 12 months, though we do keep records of resulting for 3 - 5 years.
It was good to hear too the progress that has been made in France, Italy and Germany who made presentations on their own systems.
All have clear employer levies that support employers and trainees. France and Italy have perhaps the most flexible system to support employers and employees upgrade their skills. Germany is looking to modernise their established system - the delegates knew that many countries look at their system as leading. It was interesting to hear them describe their own system as like Sputnik - a world first but now in need of upgrading. Their system is creaking a bit in terms of it ability to innovate and on the ground they are having challenges around recruiting and retaining assessors.
My own reflections -
- I think we need clearer line of sight in Scotland between the employer levy and where money is then committed to the vocational system. It is clear that is an essential element of a successful vocational system.
- Ankara is a modern metropolis of 6 million people, it's very cold in winter - but with warm friendly people and amazing food. Turkey has a population of 84 million.
- I've encountered the massive success of Scottish vocational system all around the world. It is easy to forget for a tiny country, we have always hit well above our weight on educational exporting, developing global thinking not at institutional but at national level, this around our vocational system - not school assessments nor the Scottish University system. I am still concerned this will be seriously disrupted or even lost when reforms come to SQA.
- Other countries are making strong progress around digital certification. In Turkey you can request your certificate in any major language.
- It was great to meet again colleagues from the European Training Foundation and from GOPA and great to hear that expat Glaswegians in their ranks follow my wee brother's Lost Glasgow Facebook and Twitter pages.