The CDETB International Desk is a support service for CDETB, established in 2004 and operating on behalf of the Chief Executive in partnership with Heads of Centres. Its prime focus is to generate innovation and change management by exploring best practice at local, national and international level. This work involves collaboration across CDETB with a view to capturing and modifying Models of Good Practice and creating opportunities for professional development in the form of peer learning and sharing across centres.
Areas of current focus include:
- Continuing Professional Development
- KA1 Mobility Opportunities
- KA2 Strategic Partnerships
- Other International Partnership Work
- CDETB Models of Good Practice
- Collating and Combining Knowledge and Experience
Continuing Professional Development
Since the establishment of the International Desk, professional development has emerged as a key catalyst for generating and supporting innovation. It is important that the rate of learning is at least equal to the rate of change in the external environment so that our centres continue to offer meaningful programmes, services and supports to our stakeholders – in particular to our learners.
Management and staff enjoy the focus on innovation and the creativity associated with it. They appreciate the value of sharing the ‘good practices’ identified by the Desk and focus on the consequent opportunities and interactions at local, national and international levels.
Over the years much innovative work in CDETB has been assisted through European funding (Leargas) for projects such as Leonardo da Vinci and Socrates and now more recently the Erasmus+ Programme that include:
- Key Action One (KA1) — Learning mobility for Staff and Students
- Key Action Two (KA2) — Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices (Strategic Partnerships)
KA1 Mobility Opportunities
‘Mobility’ in this context means physical travel from one country to another for the purpose of learning or professional experience. Currently CDETB has ten (10) of its centres participating in KA1 partnerships with a broad and diverse range of VET organisations throughout Europe. These KA1 projects facilitate a substantial amount of learning mobility for both staff and students.
These projects allow organisations to send staff, trainers, students, or young people to other European countries to undertake a dedicated period of learning or professional experience, such as job shadowing, training, volunteering, or gaining work experience.
While the current COVID-19 restrictions have delayed our plans we are optimistic that these projects will recommence again from June 2021
KA2 Strategic Partnerships
KA2 projects facilitate cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices (strategic partnerships). They encourage organisations across Europe to form strategic partnerships with each other to develop and use innovative methods in teaching, training and youth work, and to share these results with the wider community.
In recent years CDETB has successfully initiated the establishment of partnerships and the completion of KA2 projects which meet the needs of CDETB and the overall VET sector in Ireland.
With the support of the Curriculum Development Unit and Heads of Centres, the International Desk has managed to mainstream Models of Good Practice that we developed in partnership with selected education bodies throughout Europe.
Other International Partnerships
The International Desk is leading a number of other international initiatives with Korea, Sierra Leone and Zambia. These initiatives operate within Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) arrangements with representative education bodies.
In the Republic of Korea the Jeju Special-Governing Provincial Office of Education and Chungcheongbukdo Education Office are working with CDETB in the area of continuing professional development for teachers at primary and second level education. The MOU facilitates a Professional Development Programme for their teachers for a six-month period from September to February each year. CDETB has built a framework of partnerships that are engaging with this programme including the Korean Embassy in Ireland, Drumcondra Education Centre, various community and comprehensive schools plus a range of primary schools.
In relation to Zambia, Ballyfermot College of Further Education is the lead partner in a project where the focus is on supporting the Zambian education system in the area of Vocational Education and Training (VET) with a focus on the Creative Economy. Irish Aid is funding these initiatives with the support of our Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Irish Embassy in Zambia.
CDETB and the Global Schoolroom Partnership is designed to promote cooperation in the areas of research and practice within Mentoring Programmes for education staff in third world countries. Senior members of CDETB management are leading this initiative while designing and implementing Professional Development Programmes for teachers in countries such as Sierra Leone.
CDETB Models of Good Practice
The Skills4Work Project received the award of Excellence from the European Commission. The outcomes from this project were also acknowledged by QQI where the Work Experience Module was revised at a national level.
The PAL Project has been adopted by CDETB and beyond and provides a framework for recognising and celebrating informal peer learning and sharing between staff.
The Blend4VET Project, initially anchored in Marino College of Further Education, generated pioneering work that has brought significant positive change in the delivery of Further Education and Training (FET) programmes not only for CDETB but for the VET Sector in general.
The TELMS (Technology Enhanced Learning Mentoring Support) Project and recognises that teaching staff need to be supported in their efforts to embed digital technology into their classroom practices. TELMS provides an overview of the mentoring process with guidelines and a range of tools and resources to support teachers to enhance student learning through the use of digital technologies. More recently the TELMS Project (2016-2018) supported CDETB in creating a TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning) mentoring model to support its integration in pedagogy.
Collating and Combining Knowledge and Experience
TELMS and Blend4VET models have facilitated both mentoring and technology opportunities for CDETB with the support of the International Desk. An Advisory Group has been established to lead and support all continuing professional development and TEL requirements.
Building capacity and expertise to address online and blended learning within the organisation has been a priority in recent years. This approach has enabled CDETB to respond successfully to the closure of schools and colleges during the COVID-19 Crisis.
Currently we have one expert group addressing capacity building in the context of TELMS while a second group is focussed on the delivery of our TEL strategic plans. The allocation of time for both groups has been generously provided by Heads of Centres from their own budgets in a spirit of collaboration and collegiality which is a hallmark of our tradition in CDETB.
The CDETB international network, created and sustained during the past 16 years, extends beyond Europe to include Korea and the African continent. CDETB as an organisation is recognised on a worldwide stage as capable of supporting the needs of education bodies through partnership. The embassies for France, Korea and Thailand are generous in their support to provide specific educational interventions in partnership with CDETB.
A 5-year Internationalisation Strategy is in the final stages of preparation and will be published here soon.