Reaping the rewards of successful Erasmus exchange
Staff and students are set to reap the rewards of a growing partnership with a German college as a fully-funded exchange programme prepares to draw to a close.
Ella Gronemeyer, Oliver Monschan, Mara Drinhausen and Ulla Debeur of the Heinrich-Hertz Europakolleg in Bonn, Germany are set to depart on Saturday after spending three weeks experiencing life at the Grimsby Institute.
Meanwhile, 12 of our creative learners have been developing international work experience skills in Malta and Germany as part of the project, funded through Erasmus+.
Institute staff have also travelled abroad to conduct a research project, in a bid to find innovative new ways to raise the aspirations of local people.
Emma Forrest-Leigh, Associate Principal for Digital and Creative Industries, said: “It’s gone fantastically well and the partnership is going from strength to strength.
“Our students have enjoyed their time over there; we met up with them a couple of weeks ago and they’re all very happy.”
During their visit, the German visitors have tried their hand at a broad range of creative courses such as TV production, special effects makeup, art and design and photography.
The young students have also enjoyed trips to Lincoln and York as well as Hull, where they took part in filming alongside Estuary TV.
“The main differences we’ve seen in the two study programmes are that here, we’re a lot more hands-on and practical, while in Germany they have more exposure to employers,” Emma continued.
“Both of these aspects are needed; we need to be more robust and in Europe they could focus more on the practical side.
“Erasmus is all about bridging that gap, and this week we put in a new bid which would double the placement we had this year.
“We’ve also bid for staff to return after they had a successful trip. We’re hoping to go back to Bonne in the summer to touch base, so it looks like becoming a permanent partnership.”
“They have worked with some of their partners for 10 years but we are their only English partner, because we have this model of working that they really enjoy.
“The biggest thing for us is, regardless of how many learners do the exchange, the entire group can benefit from having the input from different people.
“All staff and students across the area can learn from this exploration of fundamental British and European values in employment, in much more depth than we could without Erasmus.
“It also benefits personal development, behaviour and welfare (PDBW) and employability, which are areas Ofsted have already recognised as outstanding.
“That’s what makes us different to other colleges; we don’t just teach people, we explore how to be the best we can be.”
German students Oliver and Ella said they had taken part in the exchange to experience a new culture, as well as different education systems.
“It’s been an amazing experience; living abroad for three weeks with no family. It’s really strengthened our language skills.
“We’ve found education here is definitely more practical, whereas in Germany it’s based more on the theoretical side.
“It is compulsory for us to find work experience ourselves before we can take a course. Here, the practical side is more part of the learning.”
Oliver added: “We have also found English people to be very open-minded and smiley. It has been a fantastic experience.”