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Taking teachers to the workplace

"GNVQs INTOWORK'' is the name of a programme of activities launched in 1997 by the Further Education Development Agency to make the vocational qualifications more work-related, writes Jackie Hall. The project is funded by the Department for Education and Employment and aims to bring teachers into contact with employers to update their knowledge of the world of work. The aim is to equip teachers to deliver a more focused and relevant GNVQ.

This autumn, a series of one-day events has been organised, covering engineering, art design, health social care, media and business. More are planned for the spring term. The agencyhas organised the workshops in conjunction with employers and with a number of the new National Training Organisations, set up to support vocational training within their sectors.

Where possible, the workshops are being held on the premises of an employer in the relevant industry. For example, the business event in December, while covering the world of business in general, will focus on the work of estate agencies. It will be held on premises owned by Woolwich Property Services in Kent. The manufacturing and business event will be held at Camborne Fabrics, a textile mill near Bradford, and the engineering event will be hosted by British Telecom in Milton Keynes.

A typical workshop will cover latest trends in the industry; progression routes and opportunities for GNVQ students; ideas for making assignments more vocationally relevant; tips on how to establish links with local employers; sessions on teaching materials; and a question-and-answer session with employers in each field of work.

Teachers attending the events will also receive an information pack containing details and sources of further information about the industry. FEDA hopes to be able to make these packs more widely available.

The "GNVQS into work" programme also includes a number of other initiatives designed to bridge the gap between the workplace and GNVQs. Projects are under way with 11 NTOs, covering different aspects of progression to employment. These range from full-scale industry-related delivery of a GNVQ to work placements, Web sites and information packs for students.

Work is under way through regional government offices to improve the links between schools, colleges and employers at a local level. For example, one school near Sheffield is teaching its manu-facturing GNVQ on employer premises using the employer's equipment and staff.

* For further information about "GNVQs into work", contact Jackie Hall, FEDA, London; tel: 0171 962 1280. To find out more about the events, contact FEDA's GNVQ Helpline on 0171 962 1066.

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