The SUSTAIN VET project proposal has been designed to strengthen the provision of work-based learning as the established Consortium acknowledges that quality apprenticeship schemes are a vital requirement for IVET to keep pace with the rapid technological, economic and social developments. Work-based learning has gained increased attention at EU and national levels as one of the remedies for boosting employment and growth in Europe and reducing skills gaps and mismatch. It has been widely accepted that the key to an effective apprenticeship is the role of the company mentor to create a supportive work environment, where there are good learning opportunities. To create an inclusive and supportive work-based learning environment we aim to provide company mentors with initial and continuous support to ensure the apprentice and the company mentor share a common understanding of the roles, responsibilities and rights within a work-based learning setting and to establish feedback mechanisms to monitor the progress of the apprentice and identify whether he/she is facing difficulties in а work-based learning environment. The Consortium strongly believes that company mentors competence development benefits from a systematic approach. This is the reason why we put emphasis on defining what company mentors need, providing relevant training opportunities and finally equipping them with practical instruments for their daily work with apprentices.
In line with the above, the objective of the SUSTAIN VET project is to support company mentors in the planning, design, delivery and assessment of IVET apprenticeship schemes. In order to provide initial support to company mentors we will identify minimum 20 trainers of company mentors who will be responsible for the formulation of right knowledge, skills and competences in order for the mentors to deliver quality WBL experiences. Trainers of company mentors have been identified as a target group considering they are the logical providers of specific know-how and initial professional development to company mentors. To address the needs of the first identified target group, we intend to develop an intellectual output which aims to facilitate the work of trainers of company mentors in delivering trainings. The Proficiency Train-the-Trainer Programme for trainers of company mentors will consist of two main thematic modules: 1. Training Programme Syllabus and Learning Outcomes and 2. Methodological Guidelines. With the first intellectual output we aim to ensure impactful initial support to company mentors, which has been defined as one of the core priorities of the current proposal. In order to provide continuous support to company mentors we plan to develop the second intellectual output, the Ultimate Company Mentor Survival Toolkit, aimed directly at the second identified target group, the company mentors. The output will be designed to offer practical resources and instruments to facilitate the day-to-day work of the target group with apprentices in a work-based learning environment. Both intellectual outputs are aimed at supporting high quality work-based learning in initial VET.