Article by Jovanka Popova, Klelija Zhivkovikj, and Yane Calovski
As we are nearing the completion of the P4CA – “Partnership for Creative Apprenticeships” project, we are concluding the work on a crucial intellectual output – the “Toolkit for Apprenticeship Coaches and In-company Trainers.” This article aims to inform the readership on the process and methodology before the Toolkit becomes available for testing.
In order to draft up a coherent and feasible methodology for editing the material leading to the “Toolkit,” we needed to imagine an editorial process that required all partners’ active involvement and contribution. We were looking for flexible learning content and resources specifically designed for and by Apprenticeship Coaches (AC), tutors, and trainers, tailored to the Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) needs. By allowing the prospective candidate to design a flexible and bespoke learning program, we strive for a Toolkit to help learners achieve and exceed their occupational goals. Developed over four editorial sessions where all partners communicated ideas supporting a self-directed learning process, the Toolkit contains relevant exercises, learning points, and content.
The Toolkit will enable prospective AC’s to reflect, assess, and improve their work, a process we hope will allow them to better articulate and assemble a portfolio that will capture the relevance of their achievement. We are observant of the ongoing need to identify and redefine their vocational aspirations and development areas.
Our working sessions complemented and consolidated the Peer-to-Peer exchanges and shared learning experiences with that in mind. This process helped enable AC’s to progress towards accreditation of their skills through CLOCK (level 4 or higher). In the upcoming stages of the project, the Toolkit will become an online forum and support platform.
P4CA has been seriously affected by COVID-19. It had to adjust the schedule to complete all intellectual outputs, including the Toolkit. Also, it was necessary to cancel the 3-day staff learning and teaching event hosted by Press to Exit as lead partner on IO3, on-site in Skopje, in 2021. We scheduled the editorial sessions online to define the three main production stages of the methodology required for their completion.
In Stage 1, we had the set-up of the Editorial Group led by Press to Exit and defining and confirming the methodology. The Lead Coaches from each country participated in meetings to test the competence standards and the learning outcomes identified in IO2. We tried to minimize the time requirements for contributors in the IO3 and maximize the content delivery and engagement plan. Therefore, the quality and simplicity of the process became an overall strategy.
During the sessions, we were able first to assess needs and wants per country and context to identify the individual needs of the participating trainers. We managed to engage with the relevant outcomes from the work of the apprentice coaches in the PDR groups in each country to contribute to the process and ensure that it reflects practice in the field.
As part of Stage 2 (June through September), we worked on the Content Curation Process. We are completing the Assessment Guide (incorporating peer assessment tools) based on competence standards identified in IO2, forming a bridge to the accreditation pathway through CLOCK and other routes to certification in IO6.
As part of Stage 3, we completed the final design, Pilot the Toolkit, gathered feedback from practitioners, reviewed and finalized the Piloting of the online Toolkit, and wrote a report. Translation into partner languages was required.
Press to Exit presented the latest draft of the Toolkit to the partners at the last editorial meeting in October 2021, building upon resources and methodologies from the previous working sessions by the partners. The plan was to edit the number of tools further and present the latest version at the partner meeting in Pesc, Hungary, in January 2022. At that stage, we would be able to complete the work and pursue the next phase of the implementation of the project – designing the digital environment for the Toolkit.
The participants in the testing process will be expected to provide several “Best fit for purpose” pieces of content for the portfolio, which then they will contextualize with the help of the templates. The content of the portfolio can include all (probably) or any of this: a) Video, Podcast, Reading material, b) Digital / Online Tools, and c) Offline hardcopy tools.
We are looking forward to making the Toolkit public and testing the “best knowledge resources” and “the best interactive online tools” with the participating Apprentice Coaches. This project has proven essential to many mentors and coaches working in the creative industry sector across the six countries participating in the P4CA project. We are very curious about the feedback we will receive.