The most relevant organisational and technical aspects of the implementation of a quality management approach in a VET provider are:
The characteristics of the organisation: the type of training (initial/continuing, formal/non-formal, school-based/work-based), the level of VET qualifications offered and as an implication the qualification level of the trainees, the type of beneficiaries (young people, unemployed, disadvantaged groups, etc), the type of funding (private/public) and the type of organisation (size, governance, profit/non-profit).
The national, regional, local policies and practices. The local environment in which the VET provider operates: urban or rural area, population, migration, existence of groups at risk, culture and tradition, main sectors of economy, companies. Taking into account environmental management and social responsibility in the four steps of quality management seem to be presently some of the most “forgotten” or marginal elements for most VET providers. Competition is for sure a very potent motivation. Adopting a quality culture as a proactive driver rather than as a re-active one is a major challenge.
Institutional and regulatory requirements
Existence of obligatory or voluntary frameworks, rules, standards at national, regional, local or sectoral level. Existence of common practices, culture and traditions that may informally constitute requirements.
Governance of the VET provider, level of autonomy, involvement of social partners and/or other stakeholders in decision making. Commitment of managing board to quality and engagement of executive managers to design and implementation of quality management approaches.
Quality policy and objectives
Quality policy in conformance with internal characteristics and the operating environment. Quality criteria for processes and outputs with focus to pedagogical results. Clear and measurable objectives and indicators. Involvement of staff and stakeholders in drawing quality policy and objectives. Verification of quality objectives.
Facilities, technology, equipment, material and human resources. Special needs of and provisions for groups at risk. Source of funding.
Involvement of staff to quality management, allocation of responsibilities, communication channels, communication of quality policy, objectives and expected results.
Training of personnel, training of teachers / trainers, importance of qualified trainers in quality assurance.
Identification of stakeholders, consultation and active involvement, engagement of stakeholders at different steps of the quality management cycle.
Networks and partnerships
Cooperation with other VET providers and with other types of organisations, e.g VET authorities and organisations, social partners, enterprise networks, companies, representatives of the target groups, associations of social groups.
Planning, implementation, evaluation and review of business and pedagogical processes, definition of inputs, methods and outputs, quality objectives and criteria, ownership and responsibilities.
Results Pedagogical results, learning outcomes, outcomes on individuals, outcomes on society, outcomes on environment, organisational outcomes, learning process.
Documentation Documentation of processes and procedures. Records, processes for issuing, verifying and keeping records, processes for analysing data.
Corrective and preventing actions. Processes for gathering feedback, analysing data, revising objectives and processes. Active involvement of the staff in the continuous improvement process is a challenge that enhances learning, creativity, trust and open communication within the VET institution.