Launch of joint project "InnoVET CLOU – Future Cluster for Innovative Vocational Education and Training"

The InnoVET project "CLOU" funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports adaptive and open pathway training and continuing education (German Qualification Framework 5-7) in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. 

This form of training and continuing education is also making technical innovations accessible to vocational education and training. In cooperation with network partners from business, research and from policymaking in education and training, this is resulting in excellent vocational training offers and learning locations.

Businesses, and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), are faced with a dilemma. How can skilled workers, both today and in the future, be recruited, trained and retained in a more targeted manner? So far, it has not been possible for "fully qualified" trainees, after finishing their vocational education and training, to complete company-specific vocational upskilling to level DQR-7 of the German qualifications framework (DQR). As a result, the only option skilled workers consider in terms of furthering their career is a university degree. This means it is small and medium-sized enterprises in particular which often miss out on these qualified skilled workers.

This is where the project "CLOU – Future Cluster for Innovative Vocational Education and Training" comes in. Over its four-year phase, the project is developing sector-specific training offers, training vocational education and training personnel, and also consolidating the structures and content created on a more permanent basis within vocational centres of excellence in the new federal states. CLOU is being funded by federal funds as part of InnoVET – an innovation competition run by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

CLOU uses a range of different measures to support the attractiveness, quality and equivalence of vocational training and continuing education compared to higher education with a focus on the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. This involves developing, testing, evaluating and transferring “bridging qualifications” from DQR level 5 for horizontal and vertical continuing vocational education and training. In each case, company requirements and the needs of individuals and their situation when they start their learning are being taken into account. The goal is reliable, vocational learning pathway planning and career planning on the basis of both personalised and company-specific measures.

In the Future Cluster for Innovative Vocational Education and Training, additional qualifications (ZQ) are being created for physics, chemistry and biology laboratory technicians such as the additional qualification in "Industrial cleaning technology." In addition to this there are also further qualifications for chemical technicians, pharmaceutical technicians and laboratory technicians at the level of professional specialists (DQR 5), bachelor professional (DQR 6) and master professional (DQR 7) with a focus on digitalisation and networked production/laboratory and also work safety/responsible care (a chemical industry initiative for improving companies in the areas of environment, safety and health).

The additional qualification of "Industrial cleaning technology"

The additional qualification of "Industrial cleaning technology" is being devised and set up on a modular basis by the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP together with the SBG and will later be subject to detailed testing in practice. The huge demand for such a qualification was recently identified in an online survey on the market and trends in industrial component cleaning conducted by the cleaning business unit at the Fraunhofer Institute. The results of the survey are soon to be published in a study.

In order to improve permeability between training and degree, the project is developing a digital process for measuring competency which will support recognition of learning content and competencies in both training pathways. The process for measuring competency gives learners feedback to help them assess themselves and also to help with their further development.

CLOU is devising and testing training offers in order to strengthen the competencies of initial and continuing vocational education and training personnel and to improve the quality of training. This is intended in particular to support the targeted transfer of technical innovation from research and development into company practice. Using digital media in professional practice for example creates new scope for communication to help support learning and work processes.

CLOU is bringing together three vocational education and training service providers from the new federal states with a focus on the chemical industry and six additional network partners from science and research. A permanent base is being found for the CLOU network structures and training offers by establishing three centres of excellence for the vocational education and training, with integrated intercompany training, in Dresden, Berlin and Schkopau.

Source: (website on German research news), revised by iMOVE, Dezember 2021