Curriculum alignment and cross-border cooperation with SMEs

P4 Skilled and socially inclusive region

4.2. More aligned vocational education and training (VET) programmes in the Central Baltic region

Central Baltic

01.09.2015 - 28.02.2017

€256 692

€209 058

Project Summary:

The project EDU-SMEs aims at developing a better matching between the graduates’ competencies and companies’ needs in the Central Baltic region. The project idea lies in aligning partner institutions’ curricula in business management and entrepreneurship.

In practice new knowledge and pedagogical approaches are integrated in the existing curricula and students will gain new competencies especially in the field of internationalization of small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). The project main activities help to integrate classroom learning and practice in the workplace by strengthening cooperation between vocational education training institutions and SMEs through real-life assignments. The project also supports individual SMEs in their internationalization through cross-border activities that link SMEs with faculty and students in their target markets. The activities include a jointly developed and delivered e-learning course on internationalization of SMEs.

As a result of the project the curricula in business management and entrepreneurships are aligned and cross-border cooperation with SMEs is expected to increase. The project will also produce useful materials and support for other vocational education and training programmes and SMEs in the region.

Lead Partner

Yrkeshögskolan Arcada Ab

Country: FI

Partner budget: 91.304 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 68.478 EUR ERDF

Project Partners

Vidzemes Augstskola

Country: LV

Partner budget: 41.764 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 35.499 EUR ERDF

Eesti Ettevõtluskõrgkooli Mainor (AS Erahariduskeskus)

Country: EE

Partner budget: 48.945 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 41.603 EUR ERDF

Tallinna Tehnikakõrgkool

Country: EE

Partner budget: 42.299 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 35.954 EUR ERDF

Valmieras Biznesa un inovāciju inkubators

Country: LV

Partner budget: 32.382 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 27.524 EUR ERDF

Expected results

The project has 4 main results:
1. Partner schools align their curricula in business management and entrepreneurship. The curricula will include new knowledge on internationalization of SMEs
2. New learning materials will be developed and implemented
3. An e-learning environment (IT- platform) will be developed, that will benefit both educational institutions and SMEs. The platform includes the following:
a. an e-learning course on Internationalization of SMEs, jointly developed and delivered by the partners
b. an area where students and SMEs can test their readiness for internationalization (“internationalization scoreboard”)
c. description of existing support functions and resources for SMEs internationalization in all partner countries, with webb-links for easy access
d. a match-making area where assignments provided by the SMEs can be chosen by faculty and students in other countries
e. videoclips and interviews with SMEs that have successfully internationalized their business in the central-baltic region (Best Practice examples).
4. A pedagogical model for cross-border cooperation between VET institutions and SMEs. That model will be widely disseminated in the region.

All these results contribute to increased share of aligned vocational education and training in the Central Baltic region. During the project, partner institutions align their own education. They also produce useful materials and support for other VET and SMEs in the region, for long-term exploitation of project results.

Achieved results

Project result in category -
Aligned vocational education and training programme

EDU-SMEs project - an aligned VET programme in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship

A team of teachers from four partner universities of applied sciences in Estonia, Finland and Latvia designed and implemented an e-learning course in five modules, by creating new co-operation platforms for SMEs and higher education institutions across national borders.

A real-life cross-border assignment (CBA) provides a genuine learning environment, where students and SMEs work closely together across national borders. The CBAs directly link SMEs with faculty and students abroad; i.e. with their target markets.

Around 180 students participated in the project during its implementation, and cross-border assignments provided a strong integration of classroom learning and real-life practice. The concrete cooperation with an SME in another country trained the students and gave new competencies in the field of internationalisation of small and medium-sized companies.

A large number of companies – more than 300 representing a variety of sectors - were reached during project implementation. They benefitted from direct support in their internationalisation processes.
The course "International Business Strategies of SMEs" sums up to 10 ECTS. It is web based, free of use. 

The EDU-SMEs Handbook provides guidance to teachers in designing materials for the e-course and assisting in implementing the real-life cross-border assignments (CBAs).

Good cooperation between the partners and the fact that the project was based on a real need have helped the project to reach all expected results and to ensure sustainability of the results. Other forms of cooperation have emerged as an additional result of the project. Among these are e.g. guest lecturing about growing market areas, such as Asia and Africa.


Other media visibility

Project homepage