DEVELOPMENT OF TRAINING PROGRAMMES FOR SMES IN INTERNATIONAL PROJECT COOPERATION: EXPERIENCES FROM ADAPTYKES PROJECT
This paper is a description of experiences from development of training programmes for SME managers in international cooperation carried out as a part of the ADAPTYKES project. The basic idea of the project was to analyze the adaptability of the Finnish workplace development model and methods in Hungary and Romania, and develop long and short term training for the local SME managers in these two countries. From training programmes point of view, the project was focused on developing of short and long term training programmes for SME managers in order to support technological and workplace development as well as social innovations in Hungarian and Romanian SMEs. The development of training programmes was based on Finnish experiences and previous studies of the Finnish Workplace Development Programme as well as Lahti UAS researchers’ experiences from professional master degree programmes, further adult education and research, development and innovation cooperation with companies.
Training planning was preceded by a investigation of the similarities and differences between work organization models, knowledge use patterns and innovative activities of SMEs in the participating countries. This first step deepened our understanding of differences in operational environments and provided empirical basis for the re-design and reflexive adaptation of the Finnish practices in the two other participating countries. Due to the differences in the university - business/industry collaboration practices in the participating countries, trainers’ trainings were organised in order to introduce Finnish UASs way of thinking and collaborating with companies. Trainers’ trainings included introduction to the Finnish workplace development programme and to the advanced work-oriented teaching methods used in the Master’s degree programmes and workplace development projects at Lahti UAS.
In this paper we are focusing on the third and fourth steps of the project – training course development and pilot trainings in Hungary and Romania. The aim of the training course development was to adapt Finnish experiences into Hungarian and Romanian circumstances and develop workplace oriented training programmes and learning materials for SME managers in these two countries. Based on the training needs of Hungarian and Romanian SMEs, two courses of Lahti UAS were transferred directly for adaptation. In addition learning materials, methods and tools were provided for the development of Workplace human innovation and development course.
Both face-to-face and e-learning pilot trainings were completed in Hungary and Romania in the end of 2014 and in the beginning of 2015. Totally 20 companies participated to these short-term pilot trainings. Based on the feedback and the participants’ evaluation, there is a need for this kind of short courses, which introduce very practical development tools and methods. The participants were also satisfied with used coaching methods and felt comfortable using the tools learnt in their companies. After pilot trainings, the adaptation process was continued by the national level accreditation, registration and commercialisation processes. In both countries, there are also plans to organise similar training programmes as the pilot trainings in the future.
In a long-run, the ADAPTYKES project with trainers’ trainings, course development and pilot trainings strengthens cooperation between universities and companies in Hungary and Romania.