3 November 2015

This week teachers and tutors from the Alsace region of France will be visiting colleges across the East Midlands as part of a return exchange visit to explore different ways of working.

The delegation is supported by Acadèmie de Strasbourg, which has a 25-year relationship with emfec, and the exchange is being sponsored by the European Union under the Erasmus + programme.

The two delegations are exploring the differences between the educational pathways available in the UK and France, including looking at aspects of governance, inspection, employability, and delivery.

Over the next couple of weeks, the French delegation will be shown around Leicester College, Vision West Nottinghamshire College, North Nottinghamshire College and Chesterfield College, and will have the opportunity to see how qualifications are delivered in UK FE establishments.

In October, a UK delegation made up of representatives from East Midlands colleges and organisations visited Strasbourg for the first leg of the exchange, after stepping back into the classroom to upskill their French language skills and cultural awareness in preparation.

This visit focused on the curriculum area of business and management, providing work shadowing and an opportunity to see how French colleagues at the Acadèmie engage with employers, particularly to identify and support work placements.

Delegates from the UK had the opportunity to observe how academic establishments engage with employers to generate work placements and create potential job opportunities.

The visit included a trip aboard the Prinses Irene, a training vessel owned by Lycee Emile Mathis in partnership with the local authority in Strasbourg. Students from the lycee are taught vocational seamanship skills within a live environment while sailing the Rhine to develop a range of skills including navigation skills, mechanical principles, and electrical and diesel systems.

On this occasion, the UK delegation learnt some new skills as they were treated to a masterclass in how to tie boating knots, delivered by the lycee students.

Simon Feneley, Director of Delivery and Operations for emfec said:

“Our relationship with the Acadèmie de Strasbourg is an excellent opportunity to explore best practice in a variety of aspects of educational governance and practice.

“It has been both interesting and valuable to our members in the East Midlands to see first-hand the differences between our education systems and to draw comparisons between both academic and vocational pathways.

“We are very thankful to French partners for hosting us in October and we are looking forward to showing them around some of the FE colleges in the East Midlands this week.”

The delegation from the UK consisted of a variety of emfec members and partners. The list in full: ABC Awards, Boston College, D2N2 local enterprise partnership, Derby College, The Derbyshire Network, North Lindsey College, Stephenson College and Vision West Nottinghamshire College.

emfec will be organising two further delegations to Strasbourg in 2016, full details of which will be circulated to members in due course.