1. Good administrative models

1.1. ECVET - European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training

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ECVET aims to support the mobility of European citizens, facilitating lifelong learning (formal, informal and non-formal learning) and providing greater transparency in terms of individual learning experiences, making it more attractive to move between different countries and different learning environments. 


ECVET is the framework for the transfer, recognition and accumulation of individuals' learning outcomes in order to achieve a qualification. ECVET tools and methodology comprise a description of qualifications in terms of units of learning outcomes, a transfer and accumulation process and a series of complimentary documents such as learning agreements and personal transcripts. ECVET is intended to facilitate the recognition of learning outcomes in accordance with national legislation, in the framework of mobility, for the purpose of achieving a qualification.  
However, before a mobility period can begin, a great deal of planning and work is required in initial stages. Both the sending and the hosting organisations play a crucial role in building mutual understanding and agreeing on cooperation and individual mobility periods.


1.1.1. Prepare a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

A partnership for ECVET mobility needs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). It is a framework agreement between partner organisations showing how cooperation is arranged. The MoU sets out the roles of partners involved and specifies under which conditions credits can be transferred. The use of an MoU can support the establishment of mutual trust between the partners concerned.


The key aspects include information about:

  • Organisations signing the MoU
  • Qualifications and units of learning outcomes
  • Assessment, documentation, validation and recognition.


Units of Learning Outcomes
The description of qualifications in terms of units of learning outcomes is one of the main elements of ECVET. The nature of the units of learning outcomes or the approach chosen for identifying them will, in general, depend on the specific qualifications system or context.



Unit(s) of learning outcomes must be:

  • Clearly understood
  • Possible to achieve during mobility
  • Assessed abroad
  • Recognised when the learner returns to the home institution.

1.1.2 Clarify validation and recognition


Documentation of Learners' Achievements


Recognizing learning outcomes acquired abroad relies on providing evidence that the learning outcomes have been successfully achieved as verified in the assessment. In order to make learners’ progress during mobility visible, it is important to document their achievements in a transparent way.

 In ECVET, the document specifying the learner’s assessed learning outcomes is called the ‘learners’ personal transcript’. Example

1.1.3. Sign a Learning Agreement (LA)

The Learning Agreement (LA) defines the conditions for the mobility of each individual learner. The LA is usually agreed between the sending and hosting organisations and the mobile learner. Prior to signing the LA, the home organisation should discuss all aspects of the mobility period with the mobile learner.
 The key aspects in the LA:

  • Unit(s)/groups of learning outcomes the learner will achieve abroad
  • How and when these will be assessed
  • How the unit(s) will be recognised

 Furthermore the LA provides information about:

  • Partners involved and the mobile learner
  • Duration of the training period abroad
  • Qualification being prepared by the learner - current status of acquired knowledge, skills and competence
  • Learning outcomes to be achieved during mobility
  • Assessment procedures (including criteria, indicators and methods)
  • Documentation of the learning achievements abroad
  • How validation and recognition will be carried out, and by whom


A. Assessment of learning outcome



Once the learning process is complete, the learner must demonstrate achievement of the required learning outcomes in an assessment process.
Assessment methods could include, for example:

  • Self-assessment
  • Structured feedback meetings/discussions
  • Written assignments
  • Skill demonstrations
  • Work samples
  • Presentations

The assessment method and criteria must be oriented towards the conventions of the host organisation which the home organisation has agreed to in advance.



B. Document Assessment Results - Personal Transcript

During the mobility phase (or at the end of it), the learning outcomes achieved abroad are identified by the assessor in the host country.
The assessed learning outcomes are documented as agreed before the start of the mobility period, for example, by using the Europass Mobility-Document.
The assessor can:

  • Provide a description of the strong and the weak points of learners’ performance with regard to the given task (using as basis the expected learning outcomes description)
  • Complete an assessment grid which contains certain criteria describing learner’s performance.
  • Recommend that the person passes the assessment or that he/she achieves a certain grade.

C. Validate and Recognise Learning Outcomes



Validation and recognition take place at the home organisation as the learner returns home. It must be carried out according to the agreements laid down in the Learning Agreement.
Recognition of learning outcomes means the process of attesting officially achieved learning outcomes through the awarding of units or qualifications.
Depending on the specific context, validation and recognition of learning outcomes can be done in a single act or in two distinguished steps and by one or different organisations:

  • In case the VET provider in the home country is competent to recognise credits, the same organisation can not only validate but also recognise the learning outcomes achieved, for example, by awarding a certificate.
  • In cases where another organisation is competent for awarding units or qualifications, this organisation needs to be involved. In instances where it can be verified that rules have been complied with, they officially confirm that achieved learning outcomes are accepted.
1.2. Europass Back to top

1.2.1 Europass-CV


The Europass CV, or Curriculum Vitae, presents key information about the learner in a concise form. You can use the Europass CV to record the learner’s personal information as well as details about his or her educational and training attainments and work experience.

You can also use the Europass-CV to describe personal skills and proficiencies, such as language and communication skills. Europass-CV can prove personal skills and competences acquired during a lifetime and career which are not necessarily covered by any formal certificates. The Europass-CV also helps to analyse and describe personal skills and strengths as a worker.


1.2.2. Europass Mobility


A Europass Mobility document records learning experiences from other European countries, such as traineeships, student exchange or voluntary work, if they are a part of your studies in your home country. A learning experience that can be recorded should take place within the framework of a Community programme in the field of education and training, or meet the following criteria: the period of time is part of education or training based in the country of origin; the sending organisation and the host organisation stipulate a written agreement on the mobility experience; and both countries involved are EU or EEA countries.
The learning experience is monitored by two partner organisations, the first in the country of origin and the second in the host country. Both partners agree on the purpose, content and duration of the experience. The partner organisations may be higher education institutions, schools, training centres, companies, NGOs, etc.


1.2.3. European Skills Passport


This is an electronic portfolio of your skills and competencies. It can be used together with your CV to give further information about you and your achievements.

You can add other Europass documents to your European Skills Passport, such as the Language Passport, as well as other documents e.g. diplomas and education certificates.


1.2.4. Europass Language Passport


In the Europass Language Passport, language skills are described using a six-step scale of skills levels. These levels are in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and it is used all across Europe.

The Language Passport helps to give a comprehensive and detailed description of the learner’s language proficiency: he/she can describe their skills separately in speaking, writing and comprehension of a language. For the Language Passport it is not relevant where and how the learner has obtained his or her language proficiency: what matters is the personal skills level. The learner can, at will, also include information on formal language studies or language exams into his or her Language Passport.

The Language Passport also helps to analyse the learner´s language skills, to set goals for the learning process and follow your own progress.


1.2.5. Certificate supplement



The appendix to a vocational qualification certificate gives information about the content of studies and the vocational skills that they provide.




Visit http://www.ecvet-toolkit.eu , http://www.europassi.fi/europass and www.your-ecvet.eu
for more information. These pages provide a lot of excellent information on how to use ECVET and its documents.




2. Good practical arrangements
2. 1. Quality of the services Back to top  

2.1.1. Welcoming


When welcoming young foreign students to your organisation, it is important to give them a high degree of security. They should feel that there is a system behind the exchange and that there are special people dealing with all internship issues. Our experience shows that this might be a good way of welcoming: To pick up at the airport/ train station and have a direct, brief induction on the first day of arrival (if not very late). Usually, the person who is responsible for the internship will accompany them to the accommodation quarters in order to show them important facilities such as: place to wash laundry, shops, dining room, gym and where they could meet other students. It is of high importance to get to know the newly arrived individual in person. Additionally, the student feels “safer” after getting to know the contact person dealing with the internship, having their contact and telephone number. It is normal that the student has very special expectations, which the contact person should take into account. It is therefore wise to hand out a welcome brochure which deals with most frequently asked questions about the “new” environment upon arrival. Hint: In our opinion it is very good if your own students take part in the welcome – letting the foreign students get acquainted with the “local peer group” right from the start.

2.1.2. Induction and orientation

On the student’s first day abroad, it is a good idea to introduce the student thoroughly to his or her new environment. Here is an example of how one organisation handles the induction: “A presentation and tour of the organisation as well as an orientation tour of the city is good to start with. If students do a language course at the beginning, it could be integrated. Depending on the type of internship, the student will either start the language class in the afternoon or on the second day.  If the student is only doing a work placement, then the Work Placement Department will meet with him or her on the second day to talk about their work choices.“ If your organisation has a handbook, this is the right time to go through it together with the newly arrived student.


2.1.3. Handbook

If you are dealing with mobility on a regular basis, we strongly recommend producing a handbook which will increase the quality of your work over a longer time. It secures the modus in which your organisation deals with mobility experiences. It also reduces arising questions by students and their sending organisations before the internship and helps the student to find their way on their daily activities. A good handbook is updated at least twice a year in order to be a meaningful up-to-date tool, because it is common that maps of public transport, fares, cultural events and their opening hours are constantly changing. This helps to prepare the students for a different culture so that they are prepared when they arrive. This is also a good way to show what awaits the incoming student, e.g.  students’ responsibilities, anti-discrimination policy, regulations, doctors, alcohol policy, code of conduct, etc. A good handbook should at least contain: information about the organisation, contact data, information on public transport, maps, culture, sights, general city information, accommodation policy, what to do in case of illness or emergency, etc


2.1.4. Presenting the placement plan

The first week should be explained and be in line with the set learning agreement. It is wise to hand out a written plan which corresponds to the official learning agreement. The time table must be adapted individually, because of the need to arrange meeting days with companies and the need to have a visit in school work-shops on a certain day, where foreign students could meet students from our school. It could look like this:


2.1.5. Lodging

Depending on the age, maturity, budget and requirements, a good lodging solution will be different for different incoming mobilities. The importance of the “right” lodging solution should not be underestimated, because this will be the home of the student for many weeks, maybe the first time being outside of their family, peer group and familiar surroundings. It is also a place for recreation from work and a starting point when exploring the new environment.

If the student is less than 16 years old, the best solution would be to stay with a host family, mainly because of responsible monitoring reasons. Depending on requirements and needs, for students of 16 years and over, a good lodging solution would be to stay in a flat, together with other incoming students or alone, having the possibility to keep their household on their own. If a student over 18 arrives alone, then self-catering will be considered the best option as the individual will get to meet other students and get the most out of their time here as they can make friends and attend social activities together.

A good solution for the lodging is to live in a boarding house / student dormitory if possible. The student can cook his or her food in the common kitchen. There, the incoming trainees get to meet with other trainees from the college and from different professions.

Another good solution is to stay at a youth hostel in the city centre. The reasons are many: normally cheap and they often make contact with people of the same age and situation.


2.1.6. Managing complaints and quality

Even if the different parties during an internship are known as reliable and suitable, it will most likely be the case that smaller or bigger complaints will be brought to your attention. Complaints are not to be considered negative, but as a normal thing which will happen at any time in any organisation. Each of the parties such as the receiving organisation must learn from these cases, in order to continuously optimize its performance and services. If your organisation has been awarded with a certified Quality Management System (e.g. ISO 9001), it normally contains a system on how to deal with complaints and the very important “continuous improvement process” (CIP) which is a central feature of every QM system. If you don’t have it in your organisation, it is recommended to have a systematic way, such as a “complaint reporting document” on how to document all kinds of complaints and possible solutions. This basic evaluation makes it easier to find a solution. A learning organisation with clear steps on how to reach a high degree of client satisfaction is better equipped to deal with complaints.


2.2. Logistic issues

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Before the young student goes abroad, it is very good to give them a list of clothes, footwear and basic equipment they will need when leaving for an internship.

The daily transport to and from work/school for the students is important. The best policy is to arrange a monthly student’s ticket for bus and subway for them upon arrival. With it they have a possibility to travel around the city as much as they want, at a fixed price during the internship.  

Not all students have a possibility to go home on the lunch break to prepare something to eat. If the student needs to buy his or her food, expenses might turn out to be very high, also in “cheaper” countries. It must be clear in advance how much budget each student needs during the internship and the best solution for buying and preparing food. It is unlikely that the student gets a free meal from the employer. If the employees, for instance, go to a lunch restaurant every day, it is highly likely that the student cannot go with them because of budget reasons.

The important communication with friends and family back home is normally very easy to organise nowadays. Access to free (or very cheap) Internet is standard in most European countries and is the main means of communication. In terms of Skype, Facebook etc…, communication is normally even possible without an extra charge. It is however very good to be accessible at all times using your normal mobile phone. Having your own smart phone or mobile phone with your own SIM card from home, however, might be very expensive when being abroad, even if the EU has regulated parts of the fees lately. A good hint: buy and use a pre-paid SIM-card from a local service provider in order to keep financial risks low while still being able to be reached.


2.3. Important formal issues Back to top

2.3.1. Work safety regulations


When dealing with the important work safety regulations, the sending and receiving organisations must agree upon their legal duties. This should be done using a written agreement, because legislation might differ from country to country.  When a trainee leaves for an internship abroad, he or she will most likely not be a proficient speaker in the language being spoken at work. Therefore, thorough information on the topic “work safety and fire safety at internship” should be given in the own country, before the student travels.

Detailed and specialized instructions, describing each enterprise and its individual risks, (e.g. hazardous work with machines and tools, fire protection, etc) must be done also by the receiving enterprise because of very important legal issues. Instructing a student (no matter which nationality), with the aim of reducing work related accidents, has an utterly important legal implication: in many countries an enterprise must prove that they have given safety instructions, letting the student sign and verify that he/she was instructed. All safety instructions should be documented as proof if there happens to be a work related injury. If the regulations are not being followed, it might be a problem to get free medical treatment or rehabilitation financially covered to a full extent. Therefore, the enterprise should do this, following national (and if applicable European, Regional and Local law). If the student goes to an external enterprise, we add the importance of this in an extra contract between us and enterprise.

It is good to agree with the hosting partner that they have to give the information. It is impossible to know all rules and regulations in all the countries and fields of profession where trainees are sent. In case of outgoing trainees, the trainee must be informed before going abroad and be reminded that by the end of the day it is their responsibility to have the needed knowledge and conduct at work. It is good to let them sign a document, stating that they have understood and agreed. If they are under 18 years old, parents should sign.

2.4. Illness & Insurance (illness, liability, accident)


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Important note: Different organisations or individuals are responsible to ensure that a student who goes abroad has sufficient insurance, valid for that particular country. Because of different national regulations and special circumstances, it is not possible to advise on this topic to a full extent. It is utterly important that the student is sufficiently insured, e.g.  in terms of illness, liability, accident etc.

Always ask your National Agency and the institution responsible for work-related insurance abroad if you are not 100% sure about the minimum insurance coverage before you send a student abroad!


2.4.1. The European Health Insurance Card


The European Health Insurance Card is a free card that gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country.


Cards are issued by your national health insurance provider.
Important – the European Health Insurance Card:

  • is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private healthcare or costs such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property
  • does not cover your costs if you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment
  • does not guarantee free services. As each country’s healthcare system is different, services that cost nothing at home might not be free in another country

Visit the web page from the European Commission's (DG for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion) http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=559 for more information




Hints for outgoing students:
“Sometimes outgoing trainees are responsible themselves for their own insurance covering all aspects when abroad. This depends on your own legislation and what the directives from your National Agency say.“

“Outgoing students are as insured during their EU-based placement abroad, as they are in their own country. They should have a valid “European health insurance card”. In order to be extra precautious, however, we provide them with an extra (time-limited) private insurance covering: illness, liability, accident.”



Hints for incoming students:
“When you accept students, it is wise to demand a European Health Insurance Card, and that they are fully insured when arriving. This should be regulated in the placement agreement between local companies and the student. Sometimes, e.g. in Slovenia, the companies need to do extra health insurance, which covers injuries at work. Companies are obligated to do that by the contract.”

2.5. Evaluation and monitoring


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Monitoring is an important instrument in order to ensure satisfaction of all parties. Here are some good examples of how to use monitoring as a tool for incoming and outgoing students:

Hints for incoming students:
“At the beginning, middle and end of each project, we let the students fill in a monitoring form at each stage so that the way in which the student’s expectations are being met can be assessed. If the student scores a low degree of satisfaction, or even less than that, then they should be asked to give a reason for this. They will also have a meeting with a “neutral” member of staff to discuss the issue and decide on the best way to resolve the matter. We send the partners the Final Monitoring for the students and we also compile a Final Report to send to the partner.  The Final Monitoring reflects how the students found the project, the parts they enjoyed and if there are any areas that they think could be improved on. Together at the enterprise, we thank the enterprise and its staff for the time and efforts with a small gift.”

“In order to make sure that the placement is of good quality, we visit the company to carry out a Health and Safety check and also to check to see if they have Public and Employer’s Liability Insurance.  We also take on board any feedback from past students who have been in a work placement.”


Hints for outgoing students:
“We have two more meetings after their arrival: they are given instructions for writing final reports, they get Europass Mobility documents and we talk about their mobility experience.
We ask them questions about their satisfaction and impression about practical training, mentors, foreign students, improvement of English and other languages, accommodation, food etc. They present the hosting country/school with photos.”

“It is important to have these meetings because students tell you what they miss and what was really good. Therefore, you have a possibility to change something and to do it better next year. Moreover, you also get positive feedback and this gives you the motivation to continue with your work.”


2.6. Dealing with problems Back to top

2.6.1. Problems in the workplace


Sometimes, placements and foreign students are not compatible with each other, regardless of reason. If it turns out to be a serious problem in the workplace, the contact person must act very fast and be decisive. An example on a good way to identify the problem is as follows:

If incoming students report a problem with the enterprise:

  • contact the partner and inform them of the issue
  • discuss with the manager
  • meet with the student at the earliest available appointment time – two staff members should be present (one leading the meeting and one taking notes)
  • action form to be completed
  • update the partner and wait for feedback
  • take relevant action – according to the feedback
  • update partner of feedback from company
  • further review
  • close the issue – update all involved

If a student informs the work placement officer that they are unhappy with their work placement, then a member of the work placement department arranges an appointment with the student to come in to meet in person in order to gather information. The first suggestion to the student is to try to resolve the problems with the current company to see if anything can be done to change the situation. When contacting the employer, tell the company it is a monitoring call, ask about student tasks etc., explain that the student had been in to do some monitoring and discuss the points raised by the student and see if there is a chance of a solution.

If the student is adamant that they want to change the work placement, there is no point in sending them back as it may cause more issues. The work placement officer has to then explain to the student that nothing can be done until the sending organisation is contacted and responded. The student should remain at the current work placement until an alternative is sourced (this is not always applicable).  Once an alternative has been sourced, the current work placement will have to be contacted and informed of the situation.  The receiving organisation and the company should come to an agreement when the student can leave because they might have tasks set out.

Procedure for enterprises reporting an issue with the student: 

“First of all we inform the tutor at home to know if any special treatment is needed because of psycho-social reasons. If the enterprise is having problems with a student´s behaviour, such as non-commitment, late-coming, etc, we contact/visit the enterprise and have a chat without the student first, in order to try to find the possible reasons behind it: Dull tasks? Feeling as an outsider? Shyness?”

“Our role must be as a mediator, not favouring any parties, always keeping in mind, that the foreign student has a fragile position, being away from home and dealing with practical work (and foreign teams) in a different language.”

If there is a serious problem in the cooperation, depending on the reasons, or if it seems that the problems are irreparable in a very short time, it is wise to cancel the placement and search for a new one or let them do the rest of the placement time at our own premises.


2.6.2. Home-sickness

Possible ways of how to deal with homesickness of outgoing students:

“We have an open telephone contact for any problems in this area. Contact with friends and family using Skype is a good way to keep up the spirit. Homesickness is not always reported openly by the student, so it must always be taken into account  that other reported problems actually might be homesickness. All of our students have a long term daily support through their personal tutor in Berlin. The contact people dealing only with the mobility have much less contact and thus knowledge about each student. We “bypass” to the tutors in this case and give only advice on costs and effects of ending the placement because of this.”

“How to deal with home-sickness is part of our language and cultural preparation course. A responsible teacher will always be in contact with the trainee and the hosting partner during the mobility and gives support and tools to overcome home sickness if it occurs.”

“The students have all the information they need in case of home-sickness. They have telephone numbers and e-mails of coordinators and mentors (in Slovenia and abroad), accompanying teachers, accompanying students. It is important that they never travel alone and that there are at least two students in the same city and the same hosting school/company so they can help to take care of each other.”

Possible ways of how to deal with home-sickness of incoming students:

“We have a very dedicated and experienced team when it comes to dealing with students who are homesick.  We provide a very high level of support and we have a 24 hour telephone number that the student can contact a member of staff on if they need any help or assistance.  We will bring the student in to speak to them and find out if there is anything we can do to make the student feel more at home and make any necessary adjustments.  We will give them information on and try to get them to participate in group activities with other students and possibly arrange a Skype call with a friend or family back in their home country.  If they are staying with a Host Family, then we will also inform them so that they are aware of the situation.  If the student is extremely home-sick and very unhappy, then we may contact the partner to discuss the possibility of the student ending the project early.”

“We offer assistance or extra activities. We ensure means of communication and let the sending organisation do the main counselling.”

2.6.3. Crisis intervention


Crisis intervention is a separate form of intervention to help people with problems that occur in acute stages of stress or psychosocial crises if these are in causal connection. Crisis intervention must aim to avert threats, and support people to use their sometimes unknown opportunities and resources. Crisis intervention is primarily a method of self-help and should not contain forced support. When a crisis occurs, the first step is to recognize and “dignify” the crises as such. Then a suitable ambience for communication should be found. Therefore, conversation as a method and the development of trust should be at the centre of crisis intervention. Important: Not everyone is suited to perform a crisis intervention. Therefore, professional doctors and/or psychologists should be informed. Medical and/or professional help might be necessary components of crisis intervention, or the inclusion of relatives and friends in the offer of help. It depends, to a high extent, on the magnitude of the crises.

It is almost always a good idea to give people in crisis the opportunity to express themselves. The contact is at the centre of an initial call. Those affected are treated with respect, understanding and warmth, so they feel accepted and accept help.

Objectives of crisis intervention are:

  • A rapid elimination of symptoms of the crisis
    such as anxiety and depression.
  • The prevention of negative developments
    such as suicide attempts or violence.
  • The restoration of a state in which the individual
    can cope with everyday life again.
  • Finding ways of coping with the current crisis-ridden situation until stress relieves.


2.6.4. Cancellation of an internship


If an internship must be cancelled in advance, all parties (trainee, sending and hosting organisation, family, enterprise, insurance company, National Agency) must be informed about the implications and about who will pay the cancelling cost. Refer to your written agreements. There will always be a lot of expenses that will not be reimbursed by the NA, mainly flight tickets and “not-used” accommodation, or a hostel demanding payment for the whole period. If illness is the reason for cancellation, always contact your health insurance.

Get consultation from your National Agency for further information. It might be good to sign an insurance policy, covering a possible cancellation. Speak with the insurance company about their policy in advance!






3. Organisation of Free Time
3.1. Cultural programme, activities and sightseeing Back to top

All students, having a chance to visit another country during their vocational training, will have a memory for life. Apart from the working environment and the people they meet, the sights and surroundings in a city or region emphasise this to a great extent. It is important that the receiving organisation provides the student with a possibility to learn about the land, the culture and the people. Giving the students a chance to do this in a practical manner through leisure activities such as sport activities, events, markets, museums, etc… should prevent too much theoretical input

It is always very easy if you connect the incoming students with your own young students, letting them show the most interesting things around. Or even better, your students have to prepare the cultural programme and guide it. Additionally, the lodging in a host family might “automate” a lot. These possibilities normally ease your amount of work a lot!  We can of course only show some examples of how a cultural programme can be planned. The size of the group, the age, the “cultural distance”, and cost might set the limit. Please visit the links for further ideas concerning things to do in our “SIMPLE”-partner countries.

3.1.1. Denmark


3.1.2. Finland


3.1.3. Slovenia


3.1.4. Great Britain


3.1.5. Germany