On January 18, 2018 Wellantcollege welcomed about 140 people from 12 different EU countries at Jardin d’Hiverre, Bomencentrum Baarn, Netherlands for an international conference on mobility, bringing together stakeholders from businesses and vocational education and training (VET) partners, as well as policy-makers and officials of (inter)national and regional authorities. Stakeholders from different professional areas described their experiences and offered their opinions, helping create a forum for professional knowledge and networking possibilities.
After a warm welcome and energetic introduction by Mr. André Huigens, Senior International Officer at Wellantcollege and European ECVET expert, the first key note speech was delivered by Mr. Kees Van Ast, Member of the Executive Board of Wellantcollege.
In his speech, Mr. Van Ast highlighted the importance of internationalisation for Wellantcollege from the perspective of a society that changes at an ever-increasing pace. In his conclusion, Mr. Van Ast stated:
Mobility is not a goal. So, what are our goals as a vocational education institute? To offer the right educational programmes with an international perspective. To improve the quality of our education. To provide a stimulating student experience. And last but not least, as Wellantcollege, to be firmly rooted in society and to help shape it.
Mr. Joao Santos, Deputy Head of Unit Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, was not able to make it in person, but contributed with a video message. In his presentation, Mr. Santos reflected on the need for responses to the challenges of globalisation, unemployment and migration from the European perspective. He also underlined the importance and added value of the Erasmus+ programme, promoting equality, inclusion and solidarity.
Mr. Henrik Bos, one of the managers of the VRJ Group, one of the bigger infra structure companies in Finland and awarded as Employer of the Year, shared the labour perspective in his key note speech. He used inspiring examples from his daily practice, connecting the conference topics to actual people of flesh and blood.
The second part of the conference programme featured workshops using the Open Space methodology. Eight thematic topics were discussed:
- Mobility and Future Education
Moderated by Mrs. Pauline van den Bosch – ECVET Expert Team, the Netherlands
- Mobility and Personalized Learning
Moderated by Mrs. Nanny Löning – Wellantcollege, the Netherlands
- Mobility and Leadership
Moderated by Mrs. Madelon de Beus – Aeres University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands
- Validation, Recognition and Accumulation of Mobility
Moderated by Mr. Paul Guest – ECVET expert team UK, Scotland
- Mobility and Lifelong Learning
Moderated by Mrs. Mariella van der Meer – Green Education Centre Wellantcollege, the Netherlands
- Mobility and The Development of Social Entrepreneurship
Moderated by Mrs. Kathrin Fervers – Die Bothschafterin, Germany
- Mobility and Traveling
Moderated by Mr. Jan Jeronimus – International Office Wellantcollege, the Netherlands
- Mobility and Internet
Moderated by Mr. Peter Siemann – Albeda college, The Netherlands
The results of the workshops with questions, comments and recommendations were symbolically hung as leaves on a tree. A rich harvest!
After the formal conference part, there was a farewell reception for Mr. André Huigens, who retired from Wellantcollege after 44 working years.