LIFE FOSTER PROJECT
Co-financed by the EU Commission LIFE Programme and led by the Italian network for VET, ENAIP NET, the LIFE FOSTER project aims at reducing waste in the restaurant industry.
The project focuses on these main fields: TRAINING AND EDUCATION, PREVENTION AND COMMUNICATION.
More information may be found on the project’s website - https://www.lifefoster.eu/newsletter-foster/
The LIFE FOSTER project will implement a bottom-up approach involving the education of trainee chefs, kitchen staff and front-of-house restaurant personnel.
This will be coupled with promotion of the project’s findings through seminars and workshops targeting restaurant staff and owners, networking with other LIFE projects dealing with food waste, and through the engagement of policy stakeholders.
The project will culminate in a Food waste ‘hackathon’ in the final year, where three ITS students will compete against students of the other partner countries in designing and cooking the most food-efficient menu.
QA LEAD PROJECT
The past 20 years have seen significant investments in Quality Assurance infrastructure across Europe, thanks largely to the focus on quality assurance provided by the Bologna Process. However, quality approaches in institutions vary widely, and despite efforts to the contrary, often quality assurance is reduced to a “commitment to quality culture” supported by a bureaucratic and time-consuming set of checks, often in the form of evaluation questionnaires of various kinds.
Over the past three years, EURASHE together with many of the partners of QA Lead have been working on implementing quality criteria with Higher VET and Professional Higher Education as part of several projects including BuildPHE, PHExcel, HAPHE projects.
These projects have produced a detailed set of standards and usage guidelines, which have been piloted by 15 institutions across Europe. However, despite a successful pilot involving improvement plans submitted by 15 institutions, and positive feedback from all institutions involved, the projects have yet to promote whole-scale organizational transformation oriented around commonly agreed quality goals.
In analysing this phenomenon in participating institutions, ITS together with its partners have identified a lack of formalized expertise in quality management amongst institutional top management as a key barrier limiting uptake. Often institutional leaders will have never received any formal training in QA-management, and thus, while having significant expertise as to what constitutes quality education, will have limited expertise in how to translate that mission and vision into a management system based on a clear quality objectives, backed up by steady processes that will assure the adequate planning and realization of activities leading to the achievement of those objectives, as well as monitoring and analysing processes that will enable continual improvement.
Often these leaders complain about the excessive bureaucracy created by quality assurance processes and the lack of organizational improvement they feel after implementing them. Although these complaints are factual, the reason behind these unwanted effects are not the quality processes themselves, but rather the way they are planned and implemented. There are initial key steps that, when missed- and more often than not, they are – jeopardize any quality management processes implementation and generate unnecessary bureaucracy.
A good example is jumping into implementing any new quality standard without first performing a comparative analysis of its requirements with any other pre-existing requirements – legal, regulatory or from other voluntary standards – already implemented in the institution. It is not uncommon that different standards use different terminology to address the same issues and, when a thorough comparison is not done, and a requirements relation matrix is not created, the odds are that the institution will end up duplicating processes and documents to address exactly the same issues. On top of this, without expertise in at least a few well proven quality management tools, the odds are also that the institution ends up choosing more complicated and time-consuming paths and methods to implement certain requirements, simply because they are not acquainted with better options.
This, the main objectives of QA-Lead are to:
- Create a manual for Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) – management in Professional Higher Education Institutions (PHEIs), focusing on implementation of quality-management methodologies in institutions;
- Create a curriculum for shore, intensive course aimed at instructing institutional leaders on whole-institution quality approaches;
- Create an online set of instructional material on whole-institution quality approaches
- Run a first edition of a course for PHEIs