WFCP 2020, TVET Excellence for ALL Donostia San Sebastián

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A project to create a storage system in the cloud that functions with wind-generated power with the purpose of enabling service in a remote village.

A nail-hammering tool that prevents the risk of hitting our fingers while using it. A menu created using the food that is normally seen as waste and rejected in the garbage. A smart pillbox that can be programmed through an app in order to help elderly people take their medication when they have to.

These are just some of the results of promoting an entrepreneurial attitude inside the Basque Country TVET classrooms. A business-creating force which is activated in the classrooms and then maintained after finishing the training; through student-created companies and as an innovative spirit in the businesses which contract them.

Making the future depend on us is one of the objectives of the ikasenpresa (Basque: learning company) programme. The plan encourages entrepreneurial initiative among the TVET students while motivating them to create a company with real-life products and services that they can charge money for. Started in 2000, it is one of the first entrepreneurship programmes in the field of TVET, and is today recognised for being “closely aligned to a range of wider policies, from smart specialization to gender equality”1, with strategic plans from the Basque Country. It is one of the good practices that can be seen during the WFCP World Congress, which will congregate some of the most influential professionals and projects from the field of TVET, in San Sebastián from the 11th to the 16th of October. The encouragement of entrepreneurial culture can be found among the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations in SDG 4, which advocates high-quality education; and in SDG 8, which defends decent jobs and economic growth.

In the Basque Country, we create a business that provides real-life products and services with the opportunity of producing turnover. The students learn how to work with issues such as brand definition, administrative matters, and problem-solving strategies. “Transformative entrepreneurial competencies such as self-efficacy, creativity and problem-solving (World Economic Forum, 2015) have emerged as qualities that are important for the world of work. In the face of these new developments, education and training systems are struggling to keep pace with rapidly changing skills needs”2, defends the UNEVOC, which considers that “entrepreneurial learning offers a realistic and achievable means of developing the transferable skills that society and the economy are demanding of citizens”3.

It consists in learning through active methodology with the installations and equipment of the Basque TVET at their disposal and with the teachers as supportive learning facilitators. In other locations, the figure of the teacher has also evolved as it did in the "Worker Peasant University Department" (Duoc UC) in Chile, where “the teacher’s role is emphasized as that of a guide and facilitator of learning, rather than in terms of a teacher-led approach”4.

The first steps of these companies in the Basque Country TVET system are taken inside the classrooms but after finishing the training cycles lots of these companies carry on working. During the following three years Tknika continues to support the entrepreneurs, who also have access to the equipment from the training centres throughout this time. In the 2017-2018 academic year, from the more than 700 companies that were created, 70% had surpassed the three-year threshold.

In some cases, those corporations respond to social challenges as a result of collaborating with different NGOs. For example, the Basque Country is working to spread first aid practices among children and adults in the Philippines. In addition, some locations, such as Fatec Sebrae in São Paulo, are advocates of socially responsible entrepreneurship. The three-year vocational management course has entrepreneurial competences and a key activity for the students is the non-governmental organization (NGO) development intervention action, which involves student teams working with NGOs, a learning activity that combines entrepreneurial learning with social responsibility5.

The Basque initiative, in which different public and charter centres participate, extends the idea that self-employment is another real possibility and that entrepreneurship is an attitude that can be put into practice in the company we work for. In order to promote entrepreneurship as a solid action in the field of TVET, there are countries, like Nigeria, where it is essential for TVET institutions to make a commitment to entrepreneurship in order to receive accreditation6.

In Canada, connections between students and entrepreneurs are encouraged so that they can bond with role-models. “Bow Valley College is a UNEVOC Centre and open-access institution in Alberta, they launched in 2014 the college entrepreneurship support program, with an advice and support system to encourage entrepreneurs from across the college who have ideas”7.

Countries and regions that are making progress in the contribution of those abilities to the TVET system and to their students can be identified across the world.



‘Entrepreneurial learning in TVET’. UNESCO-UNEVOC Full report here.

‘Promising practices TVE’. UNESCO-UNEVOC All the information here.