The development of students' professional and soft skills required when working in a multicultural environment.

  • The students further developed those professional skills that are required not only at their workplace but also during their final vocational exams creating, planning, cooking and presenting dishes from a “basket” of given ingredients. Students boosted their professionalism with regard to practical skills (preparation, mise en place, cooking, arranging and presenting the dishes appropriately) and their organisational skills (innovative dishes, planning the cooking process, organising work in the kitchen, teamwork, clean up) in a multicultural environment. The trainees have improved their self-esteem, open-mindedness and flexibility.

The opportunity for teachers to observe and to apply new pedagogical systems, to compare levels of training and qualifications in partner countries to forge a permanent cooperation.

  • The pan-European collaboration provided teachers with new ideas for teaching and demonstrated how vocational training for cooks and serving staff is organised in other EU countries. The workshops provided teachers with the chance to learn about the various curricula, the set-up of the kitchens, timetables and teaching/learning environments and facilities. Touring the other schools provided many topics of discussions (e. g. school funding, advantages of sponsorship through companies, class sizes, student-centred vs. teacher-centred styles of learning) during and after the project visits. This collaboration has opened new doors for future projects.

Raising awareness of similarities and differences in the field of Hospitality and Catering in the participating European countries and helping trainees gain those skills that are necessary to fulfill market demands.

  • The cooperation in multinational teams and working environments enabled the students and teachers to get to know different systems of professional education of chefs/service staff in Europe. The project participants raised their awareness of intercultural similarities and differences when working and socialising with their peers in other countries. “Learning to learn” was a central theme in this project. Students had to tap the vocational knowledge and skills that they had already attained in their home country and then use and apply these in a foreign language – English – in a variety of new contexts in a foreign country. To successfully complete the workshop tasks, the students had to gain, process and assimilate new knowledge and skills seeking cooperation from their team members or guidance from a teacher. For this, they often had to overcome linguistic obstacles mainly because the students had language competence skills ranging from CEFR A2 to C2. To solve problems, resolve misunderstandings and reach mutual decisions, the students demonstrated patience, empathy, flexibility and creativity even when under considerable stress caused by time constraints.

Establishment of a common network of colleges.

  • ELOCASS has made it easier to organise future partnerships and find training companies for EU-funded internships for students or job-shadowing opportunities for teaching staff. For example, a number of the colleges have successfully applied for funding under Erasmus+ to enable work placements for students in vocational areas such as hospitality and catering and childcare. Erasmus+ funding applications have also been submitted this year so that job-shadowing by teaching staff can take place in partner countries.

Greater interest and motivation among training companies and trainees to participate in an internship abroad.

  • The opportunity for trainees to gain more vocational experience abroad has led to a greater motivation of other students to participate in an internship abroad or even find employment in another EU country. Also the schools have registered a greater willingness among training companies to allow their trainees to participate in internships abroad as they have seen the benefits that this experience brings to their trainees and, ultimately, to their own companies.

A boost in confidence and motivation among learners.

  • Being confronted by new cooking techniques and ingredients was sometimes daunting for students. The guidance by teachers and support from other team members helped students to overcome any difficulties and increase their motivation to try out new techniques and ingredients. This was especially apparent in the demonstrations offered during the workshops such as chocolate making, sausage making, filleting fish and preparing seafood. Both new and more experienced trainees experienced a boost in confidence and a motivation to try out new ingredients and techniques.
  • Some of the trainees had not traveled overseas before and came from differing disadvantaged backgrounds, so participation in this project raised awareness of how their peers live in other countries and how their skills could be used to support other trainees.
  • By sharing accommodation in more than one country, this gave the trainees a more rounded experience, as they not only worked together during the day, but spent evenings with other students and prepared for the next day together.

Promotion of vocational education and increased interest for professions in the catering and hospitality industry.

  • Institutions participating in the project have been promoted at the local, regional and European level, making vocational training in the field of hospitality and catering more attractive to future students. This has proved to be particularly important in partner countries where professions in the field of hospitality and catering are viewed as being low-status and therefore less desirable.

Improvement in the use of technological resources.

  • Prior to and during the workshops, students needed to search, collect and process information from the internet and use it in a systematic way. For example, students needed to find out more about typical ingredients and dishes and used online dictionaries to translate from the host country's language into their own mother tongue or English. Another objective was to improve the use of technological resources (e-mail, word documents, power-point, digital photos, video-recording) that were employed when maintaining contact with partner countries.

Participants improved their language competences, particularly when communicating in English.

  • The ELOCASS workshops were planned and organised in such a way that all areas of language competence (listening, speaking, writing and reading) were addressed and improved. During the workshops, emphasis was placed on function rather than form, so that students with a lower skill level would be motivated to use English without fear of constant correction. Communication took place in a variety of societal, cultural and vocational contexts. For example, English was used as a lingua franca when socialising in the evenings, on cultural trips and during the workshops. The most significant improvements were observed in English skills relating to interpersonal verbal and non-verbal communication, the latter of which played an important role in facilitating communication (gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice) when language problems occurred. Language mediation skills were also practised when students worked in multi-national teams. Work-related terminology (i. e. measurements, temperatures, instructions, information on labels, recipes, cooking methods, food preparation and safety) and narrative/descriptive language skills (i. e. describing flavours, textures, presenting typical national and regional specialities) were expanded upon and improved. Trainee service staff could train their oral communication skills when planning the table decorations and dealing with guests. In addition, the students used online dictionaries and language forums in the workshop preparation phase.