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Norway – Piloting spearhead projects

For excellence in higher VET

Inspired by the European scheme for vocational centres of excellence (CoVEs), the Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HK-dir) is funding two vocational colleges to work long-term with quality development and innovation in higher vocational education, as a pilot project.

Rationale

VET programmes are becoming increasingly specialised, as the demand for what a skilled worker should be able to do increases in line with technological developments. There is a need for specialised centres in all sectors of the economy to help develop innovative ways of working with, and promoting, the quality of training, and to provide the labour market with the skills it needs.

The vocational centres of excellence aim to fulfil this purpose. After an application process, two VET centres were selected to run two pilot projects, Rogaland Polytechnic College and Viken Vocational College. As these are large public vocational colleges, with 1 100 and 1 600 students respectively, they have the potential to play a national role in quality development in the VET sector. Rogaland Polytechnic College is already part of T-Shore, an ongoing CoVE. The centres started the pilot at the beginning of 2023 and will receive funding over 4 years.

Objectives

The role of the centres in these pilot projects is to explore new forms of collaboration with the world of work, and to strengthen cooperation across education levels and national authorities in addressing the skill needs of society. These centres have signed cooperation agreements with relevant stakeholders and plan to organise meetings at both regional and national levels. Similar to centres for excellent in the university and higher education sector, the pilot projects aim to achieve the same prestige for VET colleges and, among other goals, to stimulate increased quality in VET colleges.

During the pilot, the two VET centres will focus on:

  • designing pedagogy and didactics tailored to higher VET;
  • developing learning methods adapted to society’s needs for cross-cutting skills and students’ needs for hybrid education;
  • exploring new forms of student participation in a sector with a high proportion of adult part-time students.

The pilot scheme will be evaluated after 3 years to assess whether the scheme should be continued.