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Project Background

This page contains information on the background and processes of the AEROVET project completed in May2012. For the project outcomes please click on one of the other project pages in the menu in the left hand column. Other infomation about the project (and the predecessor AERONET project) is also available on this page. The AEROVET project was concerned with the 'Identification of sector-related qualifications according to common demands of being employed by enterprises of the European Aeronautic and Space Industry.'

Disclaimer: This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. The information on this website reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

AEROVET was a European comparative project funded under the Leonardo programme (2009 - 2012), which looked at how aircraft maintenance technician training is carried out in France, Germany, Spain and the UK and the scope for trainees to take some modules in another country and receive appropriate credit (and whether in future this could be facilitated under the auspices of ECVET). Below a summary of the original aims and tasks of the project are outlined for reference purposes, together with some information on project partners results and some background on the previous Aeronet project.

The European Aircraft Industry is an outstanding example of an intensive transnational cooperation in production and maintenance – but not yet in apprenticeship.

Project partners:

AEROVET project co-ordinator: Institut Technik und Bildung (ITB), Universität Bremen: key contacts: Rainer Bremer and Andreas Saniter.

Other AEROVET partner institutions: Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB), Germany; Centre d’études et de recherches sur les qualifications (CEREQ), France; Universitat Rovira i virgili, Spain; Institute for Employment Research (IER), University of Warwick, England: contact: Alan Brown.

The UK Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) was a partner until 2010. However, QCDA ceased to be an active partner following the decision by government in 2010 to abolish the QCDA.

Main idea: The main product of this project will be a grid derived from the demands of real work tasks (not curricula), which describes the units (designed to facilitate mobility), corresponding to the typical professional tasks in a transparent manner. This grid will be tested as an exemplar in the already established mobility programme within the Airbus Company. In each involved country (Spain, UK, France, Germany) the units are set in relation to the national curricula. This leads to a valid basis for possible reorganisations of the (national or European) apprenticeships. All institutions involved in the project will publish a statement concerning European core profiles in the Aircraft Industry that should be understood as a recommendation for future practice.

Background: these four countries were involved in a previous project (AERONET) which involved the development of holistic Typical Professional Tasks (TPTs) for use in initial training in Airbus. The idea was that mastery of the TPTs would give a basis of developing expertise (and be a more reliable indicator than achievement of learning outcomes (LOs), because of the level of aggregation of the tasks), but it is possible to move from TPTs to LOs in order to construct modules, assign credit etc. (AEROVET team includes organisations concerned with assessment in England and Wales (QCDA), France (CEREQ) and Germany (BIBB)).

Project tasks: Establishing the Typical Professional Tasks (TPT) that were identified and validated in our former project (AERONET) as the basis for units respecting the technical ECVET-Specifications. Appointment of the units to the respective [national] qualifications of the 4 participating countries. Determining of the units that are part of transnational ‘Core Profiles’. Formulation of mobility units: Mobility units are integrated parts of the respective TPT/unit. The decision, whether an apprentice has reached successfully the learning outcomes of a mobility unit, is marked by the trainer/teacher based on a qualitative assessment scheme with date, location and signature. Crediting the TPT/units based on their relative weight. We aim at establishing the following method of assessing: When all/almost all Learning Outcomes of the MU are reached by an apprentice he or she is in charge of a complete work process related to the respective TPT/unit. When successfully completed the credits for the whole TPT/unit are allocated to the candidate. Establishing, testing and, when indicated, modification of the developed methods and grids within the Airbus intercultural exchange activities. A handbook that explains the purpose and the handling of the grids will be published.

The work packages were as follows:

WP1: workshop with representatives of industry in order to validate that the TPTs are relevant to what aircraft maintenance workers actually do. It is possible to add to or remove tasks from the current list of TPTs.

WP2: TPTs have to be expressed in terms of skills, knowledge, understanding and competences which are already implied in the descriptions of the TPTs. This work will be undertaken by ITB, University of Bremen together with BIBB and CEREQ. The result will be that the TPTs are expressed in terms of (potentially Europe-wide) units – that is, the TPTs are turned into a form acceptable to accreditation bodies and potentially of use within ECVET.

WP3: each national team compares the units with the national regulations in order to see whether there are any possible additions to be made to the units or whether there are any divergences. Each national team will calculate the relative weight of (each unit) of the national qualification and then ascribe notional credit points. This process will allow a comparison to be made between the ratings given between countries and it could also be linked to progression to higher level qualifications. The intention will then be to develop some (European) core profiles / common units.

WP4: technical development of European sub-units etc. with the aim to allow progression to HE

WP5: sub-units are compared to ECTS scheme (process of validation)

WP6: interchange of apprentices across countries (easier because of common units) and evaluation of outcomes (some tests of apprentice decision-making)

WP7: examination of solutions offered by apprentices in tests (extent to which they are able to engage in independent problem-solving) and judgements about the the application of the whole approach to ECVET

Interim Results: Typical Professional Tasks (TPTs)

A TPT describes a class of similar holistic working processes. It does not explain a chosen working place, nor is it reduced to skills, competences or knowledge. The skilled work of aircraft mechanics and electricians can be represented by TPTs with those that were found in all 4 countries comprising a common core profile. The TPT fulfil the ECVET-Requirements for units, but they are: maybe too large for mobility periods; not automatically taught en bloc; partly often taught not once but several times during apprenticeship; and partly not teachable at schools.

Solution: Mobility Units (MU) We determined by Learning Station Analysis (LSA) coherent parts of the TPT (units) that do not lose their meaningfulness. Each TPT consists of several of these Mobility Units (5-20). Some of the MU are part of different TPT – but the essential learning outcome to gain is the one to be able to work on all relevant MU of an unit in context.

Background on previous AEROnet project

AEROnet was an EU Leonardo pilot-project (2005 - 2007) and had the aim to carry out accompanying work into a possible trend of universalisation of qualification requirements due to the accelerating harmonisation of technical and organisational processes in Europe. Raw material, technologies and processes are not only available in broad regions anymore. In fact globalisation - the demand of global markets - has led to a worldwide move to similar ways of organising work and processes at least in certain sectors of industry. This has had an impact on the qualifications required of employees. This in turn means Vocational Education and Training has to adapt to these production-induced tendencies that can be summed up under the headline "internationalisation of technical and economic processes."

Work processes and the use of material change faster and faster in their evolution. Therefore job profiles change more rapidly too and the requirements for workers are not anymore just of a purely technical nature - soft skills and key qualifications are needed to ensure employees have the ability to adapt these changing processes and industrial needs. This also implies evolving ideas and concepts about training and new ways and tools that involve HR development orientated approach to working processes and holistic skills and competencies.

These circumstances are observable to a considerable extent in the aerospace sector. The requirements for high-tech professions are changing more rapidly than in any other sector. This implies also for the aerospace industry introduction of more identical production processes, especially inside the European market where the production of civil airplanes is almost exclusively in the hands of one company: EADS / Airbus. At the moment, however, production processes are split up whereby single major production steps (wings, undercarriage etc.), or even similar production phases, take place in different countries. Training too is devolved and the training of young workers – even if qualified for the same work – takes place according to different training systems under diverse national authorities and legislations. In consequence they are trained in different patterns for similar, if not the same, work.

For the AEROnet project this presented a challenge. Researchers, teachers of vocational schools and managers of EADS wanted to document the existing diversity, the common contents and methods of training and want(ed) to define a core of vocational training in France, Germany, Spain and the UK, where there are major Airbus plants.

The project ran until the end of 2007. On on the previous Aeronet project website you will find documents, findings and further information about the project and the training practice in EADS / Airbus plants in the four countries. That website also has futher background on the AEROVET project, but the site was used for development and has been replaced by this permanent site, although some material may be of interest to a few people, but note that that site is no longer actively maintained.