Niagara College represented Canada at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 2018 International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNEVOC) Leadership Programme held at the United Nations Campus in Bonn, Germany, from June 25 to July 6.
Kyla Pennie, manager of international projects, attended the program under a competitive scholarship provided by UNEVOC. In a global classroom of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) leaders from 18 countries, Pennie was able to further develop her skills and vision for effective TVET leadership. Out of the 150 global applications to this highly sought-after program, Pennie was one of 19 participants selected to attend. She was joined by representatives from training agencies, government agencies, and colleges from around the world. The program supports global educators and leadership staff to better capitalize on the potential of applied education and training and address common global development challenges as a response to the sustainability and development goals defined in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Participating in the 2018 UNEVOC Training TVET leadership Programme equipped me with knowledge, skills and vision to drive change in Niagara College’s global capacity development projects and partnerships,” said Pennie. “I increased my global awareness of the common challenges faced by TVET institutions, and gained a better understanding of how well NC is positioned to continue its active leadership role in contributing to TVET’s transformation with the vision of a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable world.”
At the 2018 UNEVOC TVET Leadership Programme, representatives connected on shared goals: to improve student experience and success; and to aid their countries and communities to develop economically, socially and politically. These goals were supported by various keynotes from high-level members of the European Commission as well as delegates from the European Union.
Pennie explained how a large part of the program was focused ont the different TVET systems worldwide and their position on a spectrum of maturity, which prompted reflection on Niagara College’s own model and best practices.
“Niagara College was well-received by our educational partners and well-positioned,” she said.
Representatives were required to facilitate institutional and regional presentations to pre-pitch potential projects to be funded by UNEVOC before the applications open in December 2018. Focusing on the professional development of teachers at the college level in the applied learning classroom, Pennie collaborated with NC’s director of the Centre for Academic Excellence, Mary Wilson, EdD, to pitch the creation of a global TVET teacher development framework.
Pennie highlighted some of the ways in which NC acts globally through its projects and partnerships worldwide to influence and support positive change. Her presentation illustrated NC’s best practices and the advancements of the Canadian college system for colleagues from around the globe and helped to further NC’s position with UNEVOC. NC is currently exploring a partnership opportunity with UNEVOC to develop a discussion paper highlighting effective uses of digital technology in TVET pedagogy to improve classroom use of eLearning technologies in TVET teaching and learning.
Pennie was able to connect with TVET staff from countries where NC does not presently have partnerships, opening up the possibility of future collaborations and establishing a better understanding of global TVET development activities and areas in which NC could make a significant contribution. The program also provided a platform to promote the upcoming Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan) 2019 Conference that Niagara College is hosting May 5-7, 2019, inviting global partners from around the world.
Pennie is looking forward to sharing and applying what she has learned and hopes that attending this prestigious program will assist her in further developing the knowledge, skills and vision of NC faculty and staff, empowering NC to continue to be an agent of change in global education, and further enhance its position as a proactive leader working towards the global good.