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CHEMLAB - European Apprenticeship Training for Chemical Laboratory Technicians

Authors:
  • Analytisches Forschungsinstitut für Non-Target Screening GmbH
In 2009, a project named Chemlab started
with the primary rational that there is a need
for highly skilled workforce in the European
chemical analytical industry sector. The idea
was to figure out a realization of training and
education for graduates to become a European
certified Chemical Laboratory Technician (CLT).
As a result from a successful application with-
in the framework of Leonardo Da Vinci Part-
nership program, several workshops at the
Competence Pool Weihenstephan, TUM, Ger-
many, and a road show have been initiated in
each partner country.
While topics of analytical chemistry (analyt-
ical instrumentation and water treatment) were
treated in two workshops (held at TUM for
young scientists and experienced teachers ar-
riving from these countries), the purpose of the
road show was to locally figure out the status
and possibility of establishing dual vocational
educational training (VET) for chemical labora-
tory technicians (with analytical focus). Dual
VET such as in Germany is well known for its
efficiency to train and educate young gradu-
ates on the job. Therefore, representatives from
TUM and IHK Munich visited partners from uni-
versities and met with company stakeholders
and other representatives who came from edu-
cational ministries, chambers of foreign trade
and chambers of commerce, acting within the
chemical industry sector. All core partners are
from academia as they possess essential
knowledge in education and their professional
force is for qualification. However, in the Chem-
lab consortium, the participating enterprises
take also main responsibility by hiring young
graduates and providing them the opportunity
to learn on-the-job.
At first, it was important to understand the
local situation of VET in all participating coun-
tries and, thereby, to refer generally to educa-
tion as well. It is imperative to harmonize edu-
cation by taking differences in culture and
educational systems into account. Schooling in
Germany without pursuing gymnasium (A-lev-
el path) finishes after nine or ten years, and
graduates afterwards can embark for up to
years in dual VET for becoming CLT (“Chemie-
laborant m/w”). In Greece the situation be-
haves comparably for the first nine years (dis-
regarding A-level path). Until 2008, it was
possible to pursue VET for CLT in a technical
vocational school. The training however was
to a large extent theoretically based and fin-
ished with a practical industrial course at the
end. Currently, measures for CLT training are in
progress. The basic structure, however, for dual
training could be ascertained.
In Poland, basic school education plus gym-
nasium takes nine years. It is possible to follow a
secondary line of education, which comprises
three years in high school, three years in a pro-
file high school, and another four years in a
technical secondary school. In parallel to the lat-
ter, there is the possibility to learn for up to three
years in a technician high school. Currently, a
Chemlab
European Apprenticeship Training for
Chemical Laboratory Technicians
Road shows, accompanied with workshops in Germany (TUM), have been ini-
tiated in the partner countries Greece (AUTh), Georgia (TSU), Poland (AMU),
and Turkey (GYTE) with the aim to establish a European apprenticeship train-
ing for chemical laboratory technicians. The idea of a dual education (both
on-the-job and in school) is in order to satisfy the European wide demands
for highly skilled workforce in the chemical industry sector.
2 G.I.T. Laboratory Journal 7-8/2011
MAGAZINE
Such a dual vocational training can last for
several years (typically 2½) and incorporate all
relevant stakeholders from the public and pri-
vate sector in all participating countries. Of
course, the greater aim in the future would be
the recognition for an EU certified CLT, once fur-
ther partner countries become involved.
Acknowledgment
Mobility and the road shows has been funded
by Leonardo Da Vinci Partnership Program (grant
agreement: 2009-1-DE2-LEO04-01702-1). We
acknowledge the following institutions for their
participation, kind support and warm welcome
during the road show:
AMU; Adam Mickiewicz University,
Faculty of Chemistry, Poznan, Poland
(www.amu.edu.pl)
AUTh; Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,
Faculty of Engineering, Greece
(www.eng.auth.gr)
GYTE, Institute of Technology, Environmental
Engineering Department, Gebze, Turkey
(www.gyte.edu.tr)
TSU; Tbilisi State University, Faculty of
Exact and Natural Sciences, Georgia
(www.tsu.edu.ge)
We further thank the
Chamber of Industry and Commerce for
Munich and Upper Bavaria (CIC), Munich,
Germany (www.muenchen.ihk.de)
Ökotek, Istanbul, Turkey
(www.ookotek.com.tr)
for excellent cooperation.
References
[1] The European Credit system for Vocational Educa-
tion and Training (ECVET); http://ec.europa.eu/
education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc50_en.htm;
accessed in March 2011
[2] The European Qualifications Framework for Life-
long Learning (EQF); http://ec.europa.eu/educa-
tion/policies/educ/eqf/eqf08_en.pdf; accessed in
March 2011
Authors
Thomas Letzel, Competence Pool Weihenstephan,
associated with Technische Universität München,
Freising – Weihenstephan, Germany
Albrecht Friess, Chair for Chemical-Technical Analysis
and Chemical Food Technology, Technische Universität
München, Freising – Weihenstephan, Germany
Contact
PD Dr. Thomas Letzel
Competence Pool Weihenstephan (CPW)
TU Muenchen
Freising, Germany
letzel@wzw.tum.de
non-academic vocational training for becoming
CLT is not existent. A typical educational path
for pursuing training in a chemistry subject is
normally via the university.
The basic education in Turkey lasts for eight
years without A-level path and for twelve
years with. After A-level, graduates have the
possibility to study a chemistry subject at the
university and to visit a vocational school at
the same time. There is also a possibility of
pursuing non-academic VET, but not for CLT at
the moment. In Turkey, the basis for dual VET is
provided.
Basic education in Georgia takes place for
ten years in total. So far there is only the pos-
sibility to study a chemistry subject at the uni-
versity. The academic education applies labo-
ratory and industry internships, but the
study-course has clearly a focus on theory. A
non-academic vocational training for CLT is
not existent and, hence, Georgia strives to fa-
cilitate VET in this respect. Both Turkey and
Georgia are not having a European member-
ship status but can be considered as pre-ac-
cession countries.
Conclusively, it can be said for the visited
countries that vocational training in becoming a
chemical worker currently runs via the academic
line and/or in minor terms via technical schools.
Practical courses and internships in companies
are foreseen, however, an actual training-on-
the-job such as in the sense of dual VET is not
the case. Therefore, the next step in the Chemlab
program is to establish a non-academic VET ac-
cording to the dual system with national and
regional specifities, since this level of education
would suffice the demands from industry for
skilled workers.
It is clear that training projects for youth on
European scale are bound to subjects of mobility
and quality of training. As such, mobility should
be increased to exchange ideas while receiving
training abroad. In addition, training should al-
low for transparency and orientation of a young
person’s capacity in performing work, as well as
in having knowledge on the subject. In these
terms, there are currently efforts going on to test
out systems such as the European Credit system
for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET)
[1], which aims at validation and recognition of
working skills as well as of knowledge acquired
abroad, or the European Qualifications Frame-
work (EQF) [2], which shall allow for facilitating
a comparability of vocational qualification and
competences among European countries.
The efforts in following up the road show
shall hence mount into planning of further steps
that take up these premises. While on one hand,
standardized and ECVET incorporating dual
training curricula can be developed in all partner
countries, a certification system can further be
established alongside, allowing for validation of
learning outcomes that is not only acknowl-
edged nationally but also transnationally, both
by public educational authorities and the private
chemical industry sector.
G.I.T. Laboratory Journal 7-8/2011 3
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