Presentation of Swiss Research Partnership Projects
Swiss Universities for Applied Sciences and Swisscontact
A development promotion program backed by SDC
A Challenge for Graduates of University of Applied Sciences
Pilot Activity in Vietnam February/March 2002
Swiss professionals get assignments to support a project in developing countries for a limited time period of about five to ten weeks. The goal is to qualify Swiss and foreign professionals and management staff for acting on an international and intercultural scale. The missions are to be carefully prepared and will be accompanied and monitored by the respective project.
For a pilot project, a selection of graduates of the University of Applied Sciences Winterthur (ZHW) will participate in the organisational development of the management of vocational training centres in Vietnam.
The goal of the project Support Vocational Training Centres (SVTC) is: to contribute to Vietnams socio-economic transformation process (doi moi) by providing employable skills to the jobless youth and by raising the work performance of employed unskilled and semi-skilled workers.
Experiences of the pilot activity shall then lead to an adjusted concept of a more general exchange program as it is outlined under the label of TRANSIT. The intention is to extend the program, to address more agencies of technical assistance (e.g. Helvetas, Intercooperation), and to connect it with a broader audience of stakeholders (chambers of commerce, institutes, etc.) The mandate of coordination would then be given furthermore to Swisscontact or to another independent agency or foundation respectively.
Nowadays, single foreign experts manage most of the Development Projects, not interdisciplinary teams. Therefore, not all qualifications needed are covered. There is an increasing demand for additional know-how and support. At the same time Universities of Applied Sciences (FHS) seek more opportunities for intercultural learning processes. Both also share the interest in reinforcing the links and cooperation with SMEs.
The Idea of Transit refers to the following Mission-Statement:
TRANSIT provides missions to support development projects in East and Southeast Asia. The focus is on authentic and assimilated experiences.
The 1-3-months programs improve intercultural competency and create opportunities of co-operation between enterprises, institutions and people.
Addressee: graduates and advanced students of Universities of Applied Sciences (FHS) who look for a special challenge; experienced FHS-lecturers and engineers who want to take a sabbatical break.
Countries: Starting with Vietnam and Indonesia the program shall be gradually expanded to other countries of the region. Contacts to institutions in Singapore and Taiwan shall complement the exchange program.
Organiser/Co-ordinator/Sponsor: The pilot project is organised by the Foundation Fondazione La Claustra (Airolo/Eglisau) and the University of Applied Sciences Winterthur (ZHW).
- Support activities within the frame of ongoing development projects according to their needs and the participants qualification and interests.
- Introductory workshops providing basic knowledge about the country and the specific project to be addressed.
- Introduction to existing networks of institutions, stakeholders, ex-change programs, cultural contacts, etc.
- Introduction to approaches of Human and Institutional Development in developing countries.
- Counselling during the stay abroad.
- Providing techniques of standardised and personal forms of recording experiences and results.
- Providing a platform for evaluation and creation of new ideas and follow-ups.
TRANSIT stands for an intensive learning and working experience during a transition period of individual careers. The concept refers to traditional ways of discovering and experiencing the world, especially to the European tradition of initiating professionalism by travelling and working after graduation. (Lehr- und Wanderjahre) The programs four consecutive steps allow a successful passage. It focuses on the participants readiness to reflect experiences and on a commitment to the concept. It requires a high degree of self-responsibility and curiosity. The concept consists of the following steps: DEPART, DISCOVER, DEVELOP, DEBATE