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Published 9th October 2006, 5:6pm

The British Council is advising of its Thursday 12th October deadline to submit applications for the CEDEFOP Study Visits programme, taking place in the first half of 2007. CEDEFOP (Centre Européen pour le Développement de la Formation Professionnelle) is the European centre for the development of vocational training. Each year it runs a European Union (EU) funded programme, which organises study visits for people working in vocational education and training. The CEDEFOP Study Visit programme allows vocational training specialists to spend five days in a European country, learning about the training systems there. The Study Visits Programme (SVP) was set up in 1985 to encourage exchanges and discussion among vocational training specialists. Each Study Visit is a meeting where participants visit places relevant to vocational training and talk with local experts. The aim of the programme is to promote discussion and mutual understanding of training systems. CEDEFOP Study Visits take place in a variety of European countries (EU and non-EU countries) and normally last three to five days. Participants receive a grant which contributes towards their expenses, including travel, accommodation and per diem costs. CEDEFOP Study Visits aim to encourage discussion on subjects of common interest among those responsible for vocation education and training. They are fertile ground for analysing issues of concern to national education and training systems, discussing new teaching methods and developing good practice. There are 31 visits to choose from focusing on various vocational education and training topics including "Developing entrepreneurship among young people", "Competence development of older workers" and "Needs of low-skilled and disadvantaged groups". The 2007 catalogue of visits includes for example, Cooperation between VET (Vocational Educational and Training) institutions, social partners and SMEs (Estonia); Ensuring equal chances for all through VET (Hungary); and Empowering young persons starting a business (Malta). Study Visits are open to anyone working in the field of vocational training, and primarily target vocational training specialists working in public administrations and in social partner organizations. These typically include Small Medium Size Enterprise (SME) Managers/Owners, Chambers of Commerce, representatives of employers' associations, national and regional public authorities, training providers, public education/training bodies, employment agencies, company training officers, researchers and related professions. The programmes favour applicants who, as a result of their professional roles, are in a position to disseminate the information received during the visit widely, and thus enrich their work and that of their colleagues and networks. The selection panel will look for detailed and explicit information on applicants' functions and experience; how the themes of the visits they selected match the interests of their organization; why they selected the visits; how they will they be able to implement gained insights into their professional activity; and how they will disseminate information after their return. Other factors such as geographical, sectoral and organisational representation, as well as gender ratio, are also taken into account in the selection process. The deadline for applications is this Thursday 12th October, so applicants are advised to act quickly if they wish to apply, by going online to http://www.britishcouncil.org/learning-cedefop, selecting up to three visits from the 2007 catalogue, downloading and completing the online application form, and submitting by email to andrea.duenschede@britishcouncil.org, or by fax to Andrea Duenschede in London, on +44 20 7389 4627. Applicants are also advised to seek a counter signature on their application form, from someone with authority in their organisation. Further information on CEDEFOP and full details on the application process, are available on the website.