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Production School according to Danish model

In Gothenburg, shortcomings in upper-secondary school qualifications are being repaired with the use of a Danish model. The Danish model is providing new opportunities for young people in Gothenburg who lack upper-secondary school qualifications.

Practical work and cooperation form the basis of the work and it must be possible to sell whatever is produced in the school. The method is being tested at Frölunda Upper-Secondary School’s YFC (vocational preparatory centre), in Gothenburg.

The students in the project The Production School get to work together in a way that is close to the requirements of professional life. The practical work is interspersed with lessons in Swedish, Swedish as a second language, English, mathematics, programme-specific subjects and knowledge of working life.

Studensi Produktionsskolan

Caption: The Production School creates a model in which students get to work together under professional conditions.

“The idea is to create a working environment for the students where they work together to accomplish something,” Åsa Weibull, Project leader of the Production School, explains.

Attendance is an important requirement and at Frölunda Upper-Secondary School it has made the students feel that they are part of a work team. Everybody is needed in order for the process to work and absenteeism is carefully followed up.

The teaching method is based on ”Productive Learning”, an entrepreneurial approach which also forms the basis for the Danish production schools where a governing insider perspective is based on team building and a distribution of responsibility.

Manufactured ”for real”

The teaching is conducted in a business-like form and the goods produced must be of high enough quality to be able to compete on the open market. That is a factor that creates confidence since the manufactured products are ”for real”. Vocational practice is an important aspect and the project has a lot of contact with employers.

The Production School’s students in Gothenburg are well suited to the new IV programme which has been adopted by the Swedish Government and will be introduced to the school system from the autumn term 2011. Special programmes will be tailored to students without qualifications to a national programme. An occupational introduction will be interspersed with vocational training, and learning is partly workplace-based. When fully developed, the number of students will be 100, according to plan.

When fully developed, the Production School at Frölunda Upper-Secondary School in Gothenburg will become a three-year course leading to vocational training or work. During the first year, practical work in the workshops will be interspersed with various elements of programme-specific subjects and theoretical core subjects. The Production school receives 40 per cent of its financing from the Social Fund.

Disseminate the model

During the second year, workplace training is incorporated. During the third and final year, students will be offered an apprenticeship where the school will be responsible for the completion of courses and education in order for the student to acquire full vocational qualifications. The activities are expected to become a central part of the YFC in Gothenburg.

An important component of the project’s approach is a tool for monitoring the students - that is the result of the transnational co-operation with Danish schools. Teacher and student go through the student’s achievements and the process together.

“I believe in the method. This is the way to work with students, basing what the student learns on what the student is trying to achieve in his/her work. I think this can be adapted elsewhere,” says Åsa Weibull.

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