Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports excellent continuing VET concept

"LBT Forward" is one of 17 projects to have successfully made it through the national innovation competition

The German Agricultural Engineering Association was in celebratory mood as the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, yesterday presented the select group of 17 projects to receive support as part of the programme promoting excellence in vocational education and training (VET). The announcement was made at a live press conference. The innovation competition "InnoVET" is part of the German federal government's national continuing education strategy. For the second round of this national competition, the high-calibre jury has proposed funding over a four-year period through the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the German Agricultural Engineering Association [Landbautechnik Bundesverband] project "LBT Forward" is among them. The national association's project was one of 176 project ideas submitted, and its concept made it through the first round of the competition. This now successful contribution was developed over six months from September 2019 to February 2020 together with a total of five project partners and ten cooperation partners drawn from the skilled trades, commerce, education and training providers, manufacturers, and higher education.

"This will be good for our sector. It represents outstanding work on the part of our team, and goes some way to securing our future," commented Ulf Kopplin, President of the German Agricultural Engineering Association, with pride. Ultimately, around two million euros will now be invested in the further development of the vocational education and training system, as well as in the testing and implementation of entirely new ideas. "We are delighted that the independent jury is thus showing recognition and confidence in the testing and implementation concept to support modern, attractive and permeable vocational education and in the recruitment of skilled workers to our sectors," says Dr. Michael Oelck, General Manager of the Agricultural Engineering Association.

The idea at the heart of the LBT project "LBT Forward"

The LBT Forward project is a response from the entire sector - stakeholders from the skilled trades, vocational education and training, industry and various regions - to dynamic developments which are changing the skills required of employees and exacerbating the shortage of skilled workers. Using the example of the agriculture and construction machinery mechatronics technician occupation, a sustainable, attractive and permeable vocational education and training system is being developed which can be adapted to new requirements thanks to ongoing occupational monitoring. Training requirements are being met and new careers are being introduced in technical and management areas. This is a result of horizontal and vertical diversification and the increased integration of various sector participants and education and training stakeholders, of the various sub-sectors and of stakeholders in agriculture, the construction sector, the skilled trades and in commerce.

Co-operative learning location arrangements of manufacturers, universities, Chambers and of the skilled trades are resulting in the dovetailing of outstanding education and training programmes of equal value and are enabling specialisation. After subsequently enshrining what had been trialled in regulations and adopting this in day-to-day operations, the training modules and innovative delivery concepts became established nationwide. They are now accessible to all market participants and are benefiting education and training stakeholders.

The modified vocational education and training is helping to meet the demand for skilled workers over the long term with trainees, individuals changing careers, and digitally qualified and specialised employees who are supported where required and who receive opportunities for development. Technological and economic development in the agricultural engineering sector is being stimulated, the digital transformation in small and medium-sized enterprises supported, and their long-term survival ensured, and rural areas are being given a boost.

The goal is to transfer the concepts and findings initially developed in the agricultural and construction machinery sub-sectors to other sub-sectors (for example materials handling equipment) where vocational education and training is still inadequately specified, and to use it for the modernisation of other skilled trades sectors.

Source: press.lectura.de (news on the manufacturing industry), revised by iMOVE, January 2021