As from the next academic year (2018-19), Flemish secondary education students will have the opportunity to do a week-long taster exercise in a company, experiencing or observing work-based learning in a real setting. Initiated by the Flemish education minister, Hilde Crevits, and the labour minister, Philippe Muyters, this measure gives participating students a better idea of dual education programmes and is a step towards more efficient career orientation.
‘With the trial week scheme, we are giving Flemish youngsters an additional chance to get a feel of the labour market and to make well-considered choices’, explains the Flemish Minister for Labour. He points out that students’ limited awareness and hands-on experience in a particular sector may provoke hesitation to start a dual learning programme. Tasters enable youngsters to get acquainted with an occupation and the daily life of professionals. This allows them to discover the benefits and drawbacks of the job, strengthening their subsequent study choices and helping lower obstacles to technological professions. Above all, they can experience the appeal of a company themselves.
The tasters target secondary education students from the age of 14, who will be able to participate in a week-long, work-based training within a company. This exploratory work placement or observation activity (for those still of school age) allows youngsters to get a better idea of what dual learning entails. They can reflect on the profession or study programme in which they would like to continue their training and the kind of company or organisation in which they would like to implement it. These work-based tasters are already offered by the Flemish training provider SYNTRA and have been in the German-speaking community for a few years.
Starting in next school year, these one-week tasters will be offered in all current dual learning projects. Their introduction will coincide with the number of dual learning programmes, which will being largely expanded in the Flemish-speaking community.
In Flemish: Expanding dual learning programmes: http://onderwijs.vlaanderen.be/nl/duaal-leren
In English: Cedefop (2017). Belgium: VET in Europe: country report 2016. http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/belgium-vet-europe-country-report-2016