In Spain’s Basque Country since last Sunday, a select group of learners studying for a diploma in business studies at Coleg y Cymoedd are on work placement, learning about international trading.
Preparing for his first trip abroad, missing the football, the elections and the cat in the name of building a stand-out CV for the world of business, college student Steve had been hard at work learning Spanish in advance of his departure. Spanish lessons, an online forum and his GCSE Welsh had all had a hand in helping him on his way.
Catching up with the group just before they left, Steve told me that he had initially been reluctant to take up the opportunity but decided, with a very firm career plan in sight, that this was an opportunity he just couldn’t miss. Nicola, who intends to go to university to study business and Japanese, said that she was looking forward to building her business networks, whilst Hannah had her sights on ensuring that she would be well placed to get a job once her studies were over.
The students are in good company. Their work placement is part of a project managed by ColegauCymru on behalf of further education colleges in Wales, funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+.
ColegauCymru has built a strong track record in applying for and managing Erasmus+ funds on behalf of Wales’ colleges each year. Just last month, we learned that we had been awarded a further 500,000 Euros for another two year programme of European work placements that will run from 2016 to 2018.
In total, the college sector in Wales has attracted almost 4 million Euros since 2011 to organise and fund placements for hundreds of vocational learners and apprentices in workplaces across a wide range of European countries.
Our International Coordinator, Sian Holleran, has also supported and advised businesses and work-based training providers in how to make best use of opportunities in Europe as well as wider afield.
Over recent years, we have built our expertise and engagement in a range of international initiatives, developing collaborations, supporting placements, building senior delegations including a wide range of stakeholders for international study visits with a view to inspire public policy that improves the lot of Wales.
With more capacity, we could do even more.
And so it is that we are advertising for a new position of European and International Coordinator to work alongside Sian.
Doubling our capacity to initiate, develop and deliver projects with European funding that benefit the post-16 education and training sector, the position is key to our vision of leading the education, training and skills sectors to drive the economic and social sustainability of Wales.
The deadline for applications is noon on 18 May 2016.
We’re looking forward to receiving applications that are as full of enthusiasm for international engagement as the buzz we see from the vocational learners who return from their placements.
A job to spur new ideas and make careers come alive, what’s not to like?