ES (Basque Country) / Hetel & Maristak Durango

Name of the good practiceSpecialization program on computer security (Cybersecurity)
DescriptionThis specialization program was founded in the 2018 as a direct consequence of the hihgly technological evironment that we are now inmersed on. The training program aims to close the gap between the demands of IT companies and the demands from the job market of professional profiles specialized in the field of cybersecurity and the lack of these professionals and the existing training offer.
Due to the progress of an increasingly digital society and company, digital security has become an area of great importance. Based on this, and focused on increasing the hiring rate of young unemployeed people (workplace insertion, large-scale jobs, etc.), Maristak Durango has offered this training for almost three years already with great result by the application of innovative methodologies.
In the creation of this program two main partners have been involved, Cisco Networking Academy and Palo Alto Networks Academy, two references on the ICT world. Thanks to these two partners, the scope has been international as their reach and education system are a global based system. On the other hand, the specialization program was first tried in the local Basque Country companies interested in such specialization. The response provided was very good and the request for this program increased after the fisrt year.
Agents involvedVET schools (Maristak Durango), companies (for the co-design of the contents and the hosting of students at the end of the training programme for 3 months) and the VET department from the Basque Government, to give recognition to the final diploma obtained by the students.
Target group addressedVocational students involved in IT related programmes and companies from the IT and industrial sector.
Benefits / impact of the good practiceThe main strengths of such initiative are: the novelty of the specialization, as a direct response to companies’ demands, the high level partners that have helped out for the creation of such program, the high rate of employability from the students that have taken part in the program up till now.
Moreover, the demand for such specialists has increased on the last years as the digital world keeps on increasing on importance and implementation in the working world.
Challenges found and how they were overcomeThere were several challenges found to set up the specialization programme in cybersecurity:
– The lack of teachers specialised in cybersecurity skills. A group of teachers from Maristak was trained to fill this gap, and certified by CISCO (the international reference on this matter).
– The lack of culture and/awareness of the importance of cybersecurity. As in many other fields, apart from very concrete referents, most companies are implementing cybersecurity measures later than the appearance of security risks or data protection threatens. It´s been difficult to get companies to host students from the specialization who could offer them a real life experience dealing with cybersecurity.
– Administrative burden, to get the recognition and certification from the Basque Government of the specialization.
Other challenge faced is the rapid change in technology, which means a continues update of the contents and the knowledge and skills of the teachers involved.
Transferable Characteristics– Synergies among companies, VET schools and learners. Companies count with specialised workers, VET schools co-develop and co-deliver a curriculum demanded by companies. VET learners increase their employability.
– Tailor made VET programme, adapted to companies´ demands.
– Continuous relation between companies and VET centres, as the programme is co-delivered, using a dual approach
Step by step for the implementation of the good practice (for transferability)In order to put in place a specialization programme to fill the gap between the availability of certain sectoral skills and the demands of companies, we have followed this approach:
Step 1: Research of the specific skills required by a concrete sector (in this case, the IT sector), done by reading forecasting skills literature, accessing the information provided by sectoral organizations and, above all, meeting with companies from the sector.
Step 2: Definition of a curriculum, together with companies, combining the above information.
Step 3: Definition of a learning methodology which will be applied. In this case, it was decided to use ETHAZI, which is a challenge based learning methodology applied by VET schools in the Basque Country. This methodology uses real life scenarios to foster problem solving and collaborative work skills among students in order to give a solution to the challenge given.
Step 4: Presentation of the curriculum and the training plan to the Basque Government, in order to get its recognition and their accreditation.
Step 5: Access to funding. The first promotion was fully funded by the Employment Public Service (Lanbide) of the Basque Country. The next ones were financed by Lanbide + students´ fee.
Name of the good practiceTkgune. Technological innovation projects through collaboration between VET schools and companies
DescriptionThe Tkgune initiative officially started in the year 2017, put in place by the Basque Government through Tknika, the Basque Institute for Innovation in VET. This initiative is based on the idea of collaboration between companies and VET centres with the objective of developing innovative projects being its final aim to create a transferable knowledge from teachers to students. In other words, the projects will involve the teachers of the different centres to work together with enterprises to acquire knowledge on a specific sector that later on will be transmited to the students. The idea is for the techers to offer their services to the enterprises to do a specific activity that will be agreed by both parties. This initiatives do not have a fixed duration as every project is different from each other, therefore, the duration period should be established by the parties.
There are currently 6 areas in Tkgune: mobility, energy and environment, digitalization and connectivity, industry 4.0 and advanced manufacturing, biotechnology and health and e-commerce, hospitality and tourism.
The colleges involved in the Tkgune initiative have a Tkgune responsible, who is the link between the college, Tknika and the companies. Other teachers will be involved in the different projects put in place (sometimes, also students). The Basque Government finances the figure of the Tkgune responsible in most cases (not in all of them) and the services provided to companies are invoiced by the school to the company.
The process followed in Tkgune is the following:
1. Identification of the collaboration project. Companies approach VET schools thanks to the pre-existing relation or the school approach companies, offering their services. They meet, identify companies needs and the possible collaboration project.
2. Definition of the collaboration project (participants, resources, teams, deadlines, budget). A contract is signed between the school and the company.
3. Development of the collaboration project. The project kicks-off, monitored the entire process. When the project is closed, compliance with objectives and the degree of satisfaction by the company is analysed.
4. Knowledge transfer. The collaboration project is disseminated, making the internal and external transfer in the terms agreed with the company. The contents worked in the project are disseminated in the school, thus making it possible to update the knowledge of teachers and students, an in the company, transferring all knowledge acquired in the project.
Examples of projects carried out: Design of an augmented reality app, Selector of stem cells, Analysis of the performance of two different thermal collectors. More in:
Agents involvedCompanies, VET teachers, Tknika (the Basque Institute for Innovation in Vocational Education)
Target group addressedCompanies
Benefits / impact of the good practice– Support to companies, specially SMEs, in innovation applied to their products and processes.
– Continuous update of teachers with companies´reality.
– Closer links between companies and schools. Personal and professional connections between teachers and companies´ workers.
Challenges found and how they were overcome– Confidence of the teachers, who often don´t feel comfortable leaving their pedagogical role towards a more consultive / commercial one.
– Resistance of companies towards the implementation of innovation (due to several reasons, lack of time, resources, culture, organization…). Visits to companies to establish or reinforce connections were necessary.
– Administration and financial management of the services given to companies by the school (how to invoice them? Insurance?).
To solve this challenges, VET schools count with the support of Tknika, through the support office Tkgune.
Transferable Characteristics– The good practice responds to the needs of innovation in small companies as well as the necessity to keep updated in VET colleges with companies´ needs and ways of work.
– Teachers in VET schools develop their own competences on specific technologies, organisation in companies, processes and applied research. Companies increase their competitiveness.
Step by step for the implementation of the good practice (for transferability)Step 1: The first step is the organization in the college, by naming a responsible for this service, who will be in charge of contacting and visiting companies to spot possible projects and/or offer the services of the VET school to help them with technological innovation. Solving issues related with administration, invoicing, work organization of the staff involved is also necessary. Then the process would follow the steps mentioned in the description.
Step 2: Having an external support to the schools is very important according to our experience. In the case of the Basque Country, that support is given now by Tknika, but HETEL started doing that to their associated VET colleges before the Tkgune initiative started.
Name of the good practiceHiru+. Approaching companies and technological/research centres through VET students
DescriptionThe good practice is based on using dual VET, splitting the learning hours in company into hours in company + hours in a technological/research centre.
We cooperated with 3 technological centres to put this in place: AIC (the Automotive Intelligence Centre), Tecnalia (a research foundation) and IK4 alliance (a research network). Tecnalia and IK4 alliance are now merged under the Basque Network of Innovation (BRTA,
These triangles between education-innovation-business work like this:

The aim is to improve the ability for innovation in SMEs while contributing to the qualification of VET students, providing them with competences related to innovation management, innovative thinking or process analysis and improvement.
Agents involvedCompanies, VET schools and technological/research centres
Target group addressedCompanies, VET learners and technological/research centres
Benefits / impact of the good practice– Support to companies, specially SMEs, in innovation applied to their products and processes.
– Improvement of VET learners competences related to innovation management, process analysis and innovative thinking.
– Establish a link between SMEs and research/tehnological centres to promote applied innovation
Challenges found and how they were overcome– Resistance from companies to renounce to a full-time worker (as the VET learner´s time is shared with a technological centre.
– Ability of the VET learner to really transfer what happens in technological centres to companies.
– The benefits for research centres were not always clear. Lack of time of researchers to dedicate to train VET students.
After the unification of Basque Research centres under a unique network, the project stopped.
Transferable Characteristics– The good practice responds to the needs of innovation in small companies as well as the necessity to keep updated in VET colleges with companies´ needs and ways of work.
– Students from VET schools develop their own competences on specific technologies, organisation in companies, processes and innovation.
– Companies increase their competitiveness and their access to innovation.
– Technological centres get closer to small companies, who are normally far from them.
– VET schools reinforce their local networks and increase their prestige as an education alternative.
Step by step for the implementation of the good practice (for transferability)Step 1: Explain the benefits of such a project to companies and research/technological centres. A good idea could be to organise an information event, where they can ask their questions and fix the terms for the agreement.
Step 2: Make an agreement between the companies, the research centres and the VET schools who wish to be involved, detailing at least, number of students, VET programmes involved, duration of the student´s period in the company and the research centre, learning path / learning outcomes to be achieved, hours/days to be in the company and in the research/technological centre, how the transfer of knowledge will take place and which is the follow up by each of the parties.
Step 3: Implement the agreement / agreements (can be different for each company/student/research centre) and make an evaluation of the impact obtained in terms of transfer of knowledge between all the agents and development of competences of the student.
Name of the good practiceIkasenpresa
DescriptionIkasenpresa is an educational program that is developed around the creation of school companies in the classroom. The aim of this project is to offer an approach to the business world into the classroom, focusing on the development of entrepreneurial skills (creativity, innovation, team work, decision making, initiative, leadership, commitment and determination, negotiation, etc.), to stimulate the approach to other cultures and social realities and to promote the cooperation among schools.
Students create a small company in which they carry on all the related business activities, such as corporate image, administration, marketing, buying and selling, etc. All products are real, and students are one in charge of making and selling them. Throughout the school year they have two General Assemblies in which two representatives take part in the meetings. In the first one, each company is presented to the rest and, in the second meeting, students talk about how everything is going.
During the first part of these meetings, they take part into workshops related to communication and point of sales. During the month of February, a fair takes place in which the students work the point of sale and offer their products to the general public.
Agents involvedVET schools
Target group addressedVET learners
Benefits / impact of the good practiceStudents from any VET programme develop an entrepreneurial mindset and the competences related (initiative, creativity, teamwork, resilience, presentation/communication…). Besides, some ideas with potential progress to become real companies afterwards, with or without the support of the VET school where they are born.
Challenges found and how they were overcomeTraining of VET teachers in order to implement the programme Ikasenpresa in their school was necessary.
Sometimes, students are resistant to learn such skills, as they don´t consider them important for their professional futures (especially those with no intention of setting up a company and/or those involved in more technical VET programmes). However, many change their mind after participating in the programme, realising that those skills developed are important not only in the case of setting up their own company but also to be applicable in any job.
Transferable Characteristics– Entrepreneurial mindset increases and start-ups are promoted.
– VET students develop their competences for entrepreneurship and their attitudes and aptitudes for intrapreneurship.
Step by step for the implementation of the good practice (for transferability)Step 1: The VET school should be convinced of implementing the programme.
Step 2: Training on the Ikasenpresa programme by the VET teachers who will implement it it´s necessary.
Step 3: Define which learning outcomes of the curriculum will be included in Ikasenpresa in that academic year.
Step 4: A study visit + specific training and job shadowing + virtual mentoring would be very advisable for those VET teachers / school managers interested in the implementation of Ikasenpresa.
Name of the good practiceUrratsbat
DescriptionUrratsbat wants to convert schools into incubators centers.
It is addressed to the students of second course of Vocational Training Schools, to former students and to any person related to the school through non-formal training system or distance training.
It offers:
● A responsible person in the school at the disposal of the developer during the whole process.
● An office of the entrepreneur in the school in order to develop the necessary work during the creation of companies.
● Possibility of using the facilities of the school during the launching stage.
● Integral advisory service that can make easier for the entrepreneur to convert his or her business idea into an entrepreneurial reality.
Besides, a network of all the companies created through this initiative along the years has been launched to exchange experiences, promote cooperation among those companies, visualize entrepreneurship in VET and/or identify potential clients and new markets.
Agents involvedVET schools
Target group addressedVET learners, VET graduates or any former student related to the VET school in question, through formal or not formal education.
Benefits / impact of the good practiceSupport to VET students/learners and graduates to set up their own company.
Promotion of entrepreneurship at the local/regional level.
Creation of a network of small entrepreneurs born from vocational education for exchange, cooperation and mutual support.
Improve the survival index of new companies in the Basque Country.
Challenges found and how they were overcomeThe main challenge was a cultural change in VET schools regarding entrepreneurship. It was necessary to raise awareness of the importance to support VET students/graduates to set up and develop their own business ideas. Counting with a person in the school able to offer this support was another challenge to overcome. The schools subscribed to the programme could solve this challenges thanks to the support and training offered by Tknika.
Transferable Characteristics– Entrepreneurial mindset increases and start-ups are created and supported.
– VET graduates develop their competences for entrepreneurship and set up their own companies with the support of a mentor from school.
– VET teachers increase their own competences for entrepreneurship
– VET colleges become business incubators for their own graduates.
Step by step for the implementation of the good practice (for transferability)Step 1: Organization in the school to offer this service to VET learners/students.
Step 2: Counting with a person/team with the necessary knowledge and skills to support VET learners/students
Step 3: Define the terms of the agreement with the start-ups: space and facilities to be used for free or for a small amount, which support will be offered by the school, which is the duration of the agreement…
Step 4: A study visit + specific training/job shadowing + virtual mentoring would be very advisable for those VET teachers / school managers interested in the implementation of Urratsbat.
Name of the good practiceHybrid programmes VET – University
Description● 2 (VET) years + 3 (university years) – A certificate as higher Technician + Bachelor´s Degree
● Only possible in public-private VET schools (actually only HETEL´s schools offer this possibility at the moment). There are 3 hybrid degrees available: on digital industry, on robotics engineering and on mechatronics engineering.
● Part of the training at the university, part in the VET school.
● The programmes are co-designed by the VET school and the university
● Training in company from the second year
Agents involvedVET schools, universities and the Basque Government to give the authorisation
Target group addressedStudents in upper secondary education, VET students in level EQF 3/ starting EQF level 5.
Benefits / impact of the good practiceAfter completing a higher VET programme, VET graduates access university spending only 3 years to get their Bachelor´s Degree (instead of 4), getting this way 2 certificates, first a higher VET and secondly a Bachelor´s Degree.
The approach to training is more practical than traditional university studies.
Students go to companies from the second year of training, instead of going only at the end of their studies so the learning is more comprehensive and real based.
Challenges found and how they were overcomeThe main challenge was to overcome the rivalry existing between universities and vocational colleges, as they “fight” for attracting students to their training programmes. It took a lot of meetings and good will from both sides in order to spot the benefits of working together, both for the students but also for the 2 kinds of organisations and the companies who were demanding this kind of profile, especially in technical / industrial areas.
Transferable Characteristics– Cooperation between universities, companies and VET schools, taking the best from all worlds: big knowledge and critical thinking, real job experience and hands on approach to learning.
– The hybrid programmes are designed according to the industry needs in the region but with a global approach, answering the needs of digitalisation and industry 4.0
– Cooperation among the agents is continuous, as learning takes place in the VET school and it´s delivered by teachers from VET and university. The programme is dual from the second year on, being partially delivered by companies.
Step by step for the implementation of the good practice (for transferability)It will depend on the regulations of each country, but we would suggest the following:
Step 1: First thing to achieve is having fluid communication between universities and VET colleges and the willing to work together to offer a hybrid training which responds better the demands of companies nowadays: practical approach, in depth knowledge, high development of skills, hands on experience.
Step 2: Involve education authorities to find out which are the legal possibilities of putting in place such a programme.
Step 3: Joint design of a training programme, also involving companies and qualification boards.
Step 4: Get the approval from education authorities.