Work Placements across Europe for Wales’ Apprentices

Success of Leonardo 2011/12

The first ever ColegauCymru Leonardo mobility project came to an end on 30 April 2012 and who would have thought that 12 months ago that we could convince some of our participants that, even in Ibiza, believe it or not, not everybody speaks English!

28 participants from 8 FE colleges in Wales went to Spain, Italy and Croatia on 2 – 3 week work placements during 2011/12 and had the opportunity to live and to work in another European country.    This could have been an expensive undertaking were it not for the fact that all of these experiences were fully funded by European Commission monies through the Leonardo da Vinci programme.

The variety of different work placements was impressive and here are some examples of the participants’ experiences:

  • Mechanical Engineers from Coleg Morgannwg worked and lived in the beautiful city of San Sebastian in the Basque Country, Spain
  • Gower College Swansea and the Youth Offending Service in Swansea sent four peer mentor apprentices to work with young international mobility students in Tuscany
  • Two apprentices from Coleg Gwent’s Hospitality and Catering department  worked in a 5 star hotel in the centre of one of Europe’s most dynamic cities, Barcelona
  • Three Business Administration apprentices from Ystrad Mynach College spent two weeks working in companies in Ibiza.  Unfortunately for the apprentices, (but well-planned by the college staff I feel!) the work placements took place out of season in February and not in August!

Here is some feedback from some of the participants:-

“It has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and I was very pleased to be chosen.  Also, I was offered more work over the summer.” Joe Buxton, Deeside College

“Everyone in the company was really nice and always checked on me to see how I was.” Tammy Bishop, Deeside College

“It was amazing although I would say that you have to adapt ….  An experience I will never forget!” Charlotte Hodgens, Gower College Swansea

“Because my job was hands-on, the chefs could show me what to do even if they couldn’t tell me!” Natasha Huxtable, Coleg Gwent

Participants had language and cultural lessons to prepare them for their placements overseas and many were accompanied by staff from the college and it proved to be an enriching experience for them too.  Mike Rees, Head of Engineering at Neath Port Talbot College commented on the benefits that he feels it has brought to the college, the employers and the participants:-

“I believe that this has been an excellent opportunity for the apprentices to develop their skills and for the companies involved to raise the profile of their apprenticeships.  Also, the project provides a CPD opportunity for the college staff involved in the project through job shadowing in the host partner college.”

Nathan Wildman, a mechanical engineering apprentice at Neath Port Talbot College / Crown Foods at work in Masias, Spain.

Bigger and Better: New Leonardo Project 2012/14

The 2012/14 Leonardo project organised by ColegauCymru will involve 12 colleges and the number of participants has more than doubled to 63 across 8 curriculum areas and involving 7 European countries.

If you’re interested in finding out how your college could become involved, you can contact me, Sian Holleran, on 02920 522500

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3 Responses to Work Placements across Europe for Wales’ Apprentices

  1. Sarah Hoss says:

    Hi – I wanted to drop by and say ‘hi’ – having just returned from the EuropeMobility Conference held in Sardinia last week. What plans are there for sending more Welsh students abroad please and also what about us hosting students from other countries? I’d like to be updated because I’ve had some expressions of interest where I work (Pembrokeshire College). I gather that this scheme will offer funded placements for months rather than weeks and is available for disabled students up to the age of 35? Is that true? I can only imagine the benefit of sending young people on such internships. I think it is also important to highlight that this strategy is designed to tackle the growing issue of NEETS across the EU and that people undertaking a placement abroad as part of their FE experience will find it easier to get a job on their return- due to the upskilling and experiences they have and a better CV on their return.

    • SylviaDavies says:

      Hi Sarah, Really pleased that you could attend the EuropeMobility Conference. We’d hoped to attend but were unable to do so. Would be great to hear more about it… We’ve been successful with three rounds of Leonardo funding for Welsh FE students and apprentices to date. Now moved on to Erasmus+. Updates to follow on our developments very soon.

  2. Emma says:

    If they haven’t already your participants can enter our Your Story competition. It is a chance for them to share their stories in film, words or photos for the chance to win a great prize. Closing date – 28 September.

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