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Welcome to ROC (Regional Education College) Horizon College, a secondary vocational college with 4 modern campuses in Alkmaar, Heerhugowaard, Hoorn and Purmerend in the province of North Holland. The college offers a variety of fulltime and part-time courses and training to approx. 14.000 students between 16-19 years old in Business Studies and ICT, Engineering, Health Care, Social Care & Adult Education and International Trade, Entrepreneurship & Services. The college offers employment to approx. 1250 (support) staff and its catchment area is roughly the whole of the province of North Holland.
The Erasmusplus program
Horizon College enables students and staff to participate in international activities. Sometimes the activity requires participants to cross borders, but there are also activities which do not require you to travel to other countries.
The European Erasmusplus (E+) subsidy program funds activities which enable students to study and work abroad. Staff can make use of the subsidy to improve their professional skills through training and schooling programs at an EU college, company or institute.
E+ also funds international projects where EU school partners work together to develop new international initiatives, such as the EMEU project.
Horizon College finished second in the race for the Orange Carpet Award. With this award Nuffic rewards special initiatives in the area of internationalization in education. In the EMEU-project, developed by Horizon College and partners from 6 European countries, Engineering students can attend short courses abroad, do an international internship or collaborate over the internet with students from EU-countries. The EMEU-project was shortlisted from a total of 22 Vocational Education projects.
The 1997 Adult Education and Vocational Education and Training Act (Wet Educatie Beroepsonderwijs or WEB) introduced a consistent and transparent framework of qualifications in secondary vocational education. The four-level qualification framework consists of all standards, organized in qualifications education should achieve. It is the ROC's responsibility to develop the programmes for meeting the standards.
The objective of the new framework was to have a simple and coherent framework with qualifications divided into units. Each unit is being accredited, making it possible for learners to switch from one education course to another at the same or at another level.
The levels in the Dutch qualification framework in more detail:
In the Netherlands level 2 is regarded to be the minimum level for entering the labour market and staying lifetime employable. The assistant level, level 1, is designed for those who are not able to obtain a qualification at level 2. Compared with workers with level 2 qualifications, assistants are supposed to carry out less complex procedures, usually requiring a less rapid response.
Level 2 is regarded to be the basic level: the minimum qualification level anyone should have when entering the labour market. People with a basic qualification are capable of carrying out relatively complex routines and standard procedures, with responsibility for their own work only.
People with a level 3 qualification will normally have responsibilities over and above their own duties. They must be able to account for their actions to colleagues and monitor and supervise the implementation of standard procedures by others. They will also be capable of devising preparatory and supervisory procedures.
Level 4 (middle management or specialist) requires non-job-specific skills such as tactical and strategic thinking and involves responsibilities in keeping up such skills.
Fig. Structure of the Dutch Education System
The first level (assistant) is new in the qualification framework. It was created to allow learners, unable to acquire a level 2 qualification to enter the labour market with an MBO-diploma. Despite politic rhetoric claiming level 2 to be the absolute minimum, trade and industry need qualified employees at this level apparently. Compared to the skilled worker, the assistant will perform less complicated work.
All types and levels of secondary vocational education and adult education are supposed to be organized by these ROC's. From that time all types and levels of secondary vocational education, the apprenticeship system included, were called MBO . Full time vocational education and apprenticeships were rearranged into two tracks.
Each qualification at each level can be obtained by two tracks from that moment on:
Equivalent to the old system of apprenticeship training. In this track practical training will take up at least 60% of a course. This track is called the vocational guidance track (in Dutch: Beroeps Begeleidende Leerweg or BBL)
Equivalent to the former 3 years or 4 years secondary vocational education courses. In this track practical training will take up between 20% and 60% of a course. This track is called the vocational education track (in Dutch Beroeps Opleidende Leerweg or BOL ).
The WEB created a self-regulating system keeping the various actors in balance. One important element of that system is the performance-based funding scheme, which had become into effect in the year 2000. Funding for vocational education is based on the number of participants and number of diplomas provided. ROC's having a low intake level will receive a special increase in funding. The purpose of this system is to increase the success rate in terms of diplomas and to prevent dropping out. Educational institutions will be encouraged to guide participants towards a final diploma as efficiently and effectively as possible.
ROC's are able to offer a broad range of initial and post-initial degree programmes in their region. They occupy a central position in their region regarding the labour market oriented instruction of young people. In addition, they guide and train adults and youth with a vulnerable position on the labour market and provide local labour market oriented training for employees and the unemployed. ROC's possess a great deal of autonomy, allowing them to develop a policy, gearing to the needs of the region. An example of this is the possibility to develop educational tracks tailored to individual needs and abilities, or a further elaboration of of the national exit qualifications in consultation with the regional business community.
Students graduating at level 4 can go on to higher vocational education, higher general secondary education or pre-university education.
Adult education is accessible for adults from the age of 18 onwards and offers programmes for their development. Adult courses usually comprise, e.g. introductory courses for immigrants to the Netherlands, language and literacy courses at various levels.
It's Europe's ambition to become the most competitive economy in the world (Lisbon Summit, 2000). Globalization of the labour market is developing rapidly. Every year more and more vocational students choose to go abroad, both to broaden their education and to really feel involved in this exciting development.
For these reasons international activities at Horizon College are gradually becoming an integrated part of its curricula.
Within our international program we offer 3 strands:
Together with partners all over Europe, Horizon College continuously expands and upgrades the quality of its work placement network and organization. In 2009 Horizon College and its two partners ROC ID College and AOC Clusius College received the Certificate for Excellence in Mobility awarded by the Dutch National Agency for Leonardo funding. Together these colleges form the CHIC consortium ( Consortium of Horizon, ID and Clusius College). In Europe we have formed an international partner network, EUCINMOVE (/youcanmove/), i.e. European Consortium for Innovation in Mobility and VET Education) with colleges and companies in our partner countries amongst which are Finland, Denmark, England and Spain.
More and more staff are getting interested in offering their students the opportunity to work together with foreign students as part of their curriculum. To initiate and develop this staff use the Leonardo VETPRO subsidy to organize exchanges and virtual communication activities.
Our motto within the partner network is that 'what you do for us, we'll do for you!'. This means that we also host students and staff who wish to gain a working experience in The Netherlands.
Accreditation of activities (competencies) is arranged in the exact same way as gaining competencies in The Netherlands. Thus, the activities under 'Internationalization' are better served by defining them as 'education in an international context'