Earlier this week Advenio eAcademy entered into a grant Agreement with EUPA on behalf of Erasmus+ for the EU funding of the project “Integrated RPL & APEL Level 6 Accredited Online Programme for Entrepreneurs”. The project partners are: Advenio eAcademy, Malta; University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy; University of Ioannina, Greece; UoZ – University of Zilina, Slovakia; Vilnius University, Lithuania; EUCEN – European University Continuing Education Network, Spain; and AllSecure Ltd – eBusiness Systems, Malta.
A report by the European Commission (Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan) highlights that generally, would-be entrepreneurs in Europe find themselves in a tough environment as current education might not offer the right foundation for an entrepreneurial career. Recognition of Prior Learning and Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (ARPEL) is the process where credit is sought for learning which has not previously been assessed and awarded credit by an academic institution or professional organisation. It is learning which has taken place through a range of personal experiences often including unstructured informal and formal learning experiences. In many fields, the skills, knowledge and abilities that are acquired through this type of learning can be just as relevant as those gained by students following formal accredited educational programmes. VPL is a way to provide evidence and gain credit for relevant experiential learning. This is particularly relevant in the field of entrepreneurship.
The scope of the project is to leverage the infrastructure and competencies of the partners in e-learning and the collective expertise and resources of the partners in creating a programme which would encourage entrepreneurs to earn a 180 ECTS credit Level 6 Bachelors’ Degree in Entrepreneurial Affairs. This would validate the experience and confirm the standard of their academic knowledge enabling them to pursue further studies at Level 7 should they so wish. The ARPEL Bachelors’ programme would provide a structured manner in which Validation of Prior Learning and Recognition and Accreditation of Prior Learning frameworks can be integrated. These will be supplemented with suitable online course subject modules including innovative game-based learning, and will include a final research project. This three stage programme will enable participants to earn the required 180 ECTS credits at Level 6.
This project will include the recruitment of suitable candidates by the various participating partners to the proposed ARPEL Pilot Programme commencing in October 2021. This will be run over a twenty-month period. Their progress on this programme will be carefully analysed to check for any system modifications which may be required to ensure the effectiveness of the Programme. A three month period for post programme evaluations and reporting is included as an integral part of the implementation process.
In view of the current Covid-19 crisis, the project is timely since it focuses on the online provision of the complete review, evaluation and delivery of related course content. The legacy of Covid-19 will certainly be a greater appreciation of the value of online services and this project will provide an online solution to experienced entrepreneurs to get recognition for their academic and experiential entrepreneurial accomplishments. The Covid-19 crisis has put unprecedented stresses and strains on the European Union and global trade in general. Already, unemployment estimates by EU entities show higher numbers than experienced in the 2008 financial crisis. There is going to be a need for entrepreneurs to re-build a decimated SME sector and this project will help prepare these entrepreneurs for this challenge by aligning their competences and qualifications.
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