Presentation of new method for LGBTI sensitivity in VET

30 March 2021 - On May 18, the European federation for Vocational Education and Training providers will organize an online presentation and expert meeting of the SENSE-project on LGBTI issues in vocational education. The presentation will present the four products of the project and will discuss the need for national and European specific qualifications vocational students need to support LGBTI clients and customers. At the end of the online meeting, a Dutch spoken session will be held to discuss the specific experiences in the Dutch partner organization ROC van Amsterdam.

Four products

The project created an international version of the successful Dutch “My-ID” program. This is a program that was set up to introduce sexual and gender sensitivity in vocational courses, but gradually developed into a wider concept which embraces “emotionally dealing with diversity” as a deeper core competence that underlies not only LGBTI client friendliness, but is also a key transversal competence for all jobs.
The four products that were produced are a manual on how to involve students in discussing sexual and gender diversity in a creative way, a manual for a teacher training, manual for integration of sexual and gender diversity in vocational curricula, and a set of proposed competences students and teachers would require to be able to deal with the subject.

Specific qualifications

The proposed competences are the most controversial part of the project. A key question is whether students and professionals need specific competences to be able to deal with LGBTI customers. The project team concluded that general transversal competences should be good enough, but are rarely implemented in a sensitive way. This makes it necessary to clarify how generic competences pertain to specific target groups, like LGBTI.
In the expert meeting, there will be space to discuss three scenarios on how to look at this:

  1. The current generic competence frameworks are adequate enough to cover LGBTI sensitivity
  2. The current generic competence frameworks should be updated to clarify how specific LGBTI sensitivity is part of generic qualifications
  3. The current generic competence frameworks should be updated to better include LGBTI sensitivity and attention to other areas where client-friendliness towards marginalized groups may not be self-evident

Specific experiences in the Netherlands

The ROC of Amsterdam was the Dutch vocational Institute partner. Its role in the project was special, because it was the only partner that succeeded in involving lesbian, bisexual and transgender students directly in the project. The project worked closely with students to develop “triggers” for discussion about sexual and gender diversity with other students. In that case, the students decided not only to make a short movie (like students in other countries did) but also to set up a question and answer website for vocational students. The website will be presented and students will talk about their experiences during the Dutch spoken part of the conference.

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