We have recently returned from Finland where we attended the second transnational meeting for Level Up: this is a game-based learning (GBL) VET project guided by the idea found within the European Commission’s New Skills Agenda that there is a need to tackle the stereotype of vocational training being a ‘second choice’. We are producing a GBL tool to be accessed by young people potentially entering the VET sector, as well as careers guidance professionals who can use the game to promote VET pathways in their practice.
Our hosts were Sataedu, a VET school based in Ulvila, south-west Finland, which offers a range of courses across many different sectors. Their focus is on high-quality education for young people and adults, and they aim to target the increasing skills gaps via work-based learning. We convened at Sataedu with partners from Germany, Ireland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland to discuss the current progress of the project.
During the meeting, we discussed best practices in using GBL in careers guidance across Europe and an eBook of our findings is soon to be published. We also discussed dissemination and devised ways of publicising our project – it was agreed that social media should continue to be utilised, with animation, video and game teasers designed to capture the attention of our main target group.
Our hosts then suggested lunch at nearby restaurant Kokkikaksikko where we were able to sample a buffet selection of local cuisine, chat more about our project’s focus and network with new project members.
In the second half of the day, we took part in an Impact+ Exercise workshop where meeting attendees analysed what we hope our project will achieve in a systematic, focused way. We identified the potential impact of Level Up on learners, careers guidance professionals, project staff, as well as the VET system as a whole, highlighting the various indicators of impact and where data will be collected to evidence this.
At the end of our first day, we were treated to a delicious meal at Raatihuoneen Kellari where we dined on Finnish cuisine and tried a sea buckthorn aperitif, an unusual local speciality. We also had chance to explore Pori, the main city in the Satakunta region where we stayed in order to attend the Level Up meeting. Project members were impressed by Pori’s street art, as well as the beautiful Kokemäenjoki River which flows through the city.
On our second day, technical partners from CIT in Ireland presented preliminary ideas for the content of the online game. It is still early days in terms of development, but the board game template suggested by CIT proved popular amongst meeting attendees.
Our meeting in Finland enabled us to exchange best practices, set project deadlines and reach an agreement on the next stage of Level Up.
A big thank you to our Finnish hosts for their hospitality, and to the rest of our partners for a productive second project meeting. Level Up partners will meet next in Cork, Ireland in December this year.
For information about all our current projects, visit our website.