It takes two days to travel the 12,000 kilometres from Vietnam to Newfoundland and Labrador, which is what nine employees from Binh Thuan Community College (BTCC) did in November to participate in a job shadowing exercise with two of College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) culinary arts instructors.
The job shadowing comes as part of the Vietnam Skills for Employment Project (VSEP); a five-year project funded by Global Affairs Canada which will help the Government of Vietnam further develop and strengthen its Technical and Vocational Education and Training system to better service Vietnam’s growing economy, with one of the primary objectives being the development of market driven programs.
Component two of the VSEP project included the selection of three Canadian colleges: College of the North Atlantic, Durham College and Niagara College, in 2014 to partner with three Vietnamese colleges, with CNA serving as the partner for BTCC for the development of a new Hospitality/Tourism program.
D’Arcy Butler is the culinary arts instructor at Bay St. George campus and one of two content experts for the VSEP project. He says that while CNA is using BTCC’s Hospitality/Tourism program as a launching point, one of the main goals of the project is to develop new training development and delivery methods for the institution. The BTCC delegates made the trip to this province to learn those methods first-hand.
“The long-term goal is to help them build capacity and modernize their college, including teaching methods,” Butler said, noting that one of the most important objectives is the development of programs that are driven by market need to support the country’s economy. “A big part of that is to introduce competency-based training methods, so this job shadowing was an opportunity for them to come over and witness competency-based training and evaluation in practice that they can take home and apply it to their own methodologies.”
Of the nine delegates who made the trip, four job shadowed Butler at Bay St. George campus, and five were at Bonavista campus with culinary arts instructor Chris Sheppard, who is the other content expert for the VSEP project.
“It went extremely well and they were very enthusiastic,” Butler said. “One of the big things we have been stressing with them is (at CNA) we have a student-centred environment here, which is something that is very new for them. This trip really allowed them to see student-centred practices in action.”
Le Thi Thuy Van, the Dean of Tourism and Culture Faculty at BCTT, says their experiences at Bay St. George campus were enlightening.
“The trip has been very fun and helpful,” Van said. “We learned a lot from the instructors. They shared with us a lot of experiences of teaching, and we now know about the style of the student - they go into the kitchen when they learn it in class. In Vietnam, in our college, we will combine the theory and the practical, but the kitchenware is not very modern so that is one difficulty we have and we hope the project will support.”
After three weeks split between the campuses, the nine delegates moved on to St. John’s and spent a week visiting Prince Philip Drive and Seal Cove campuses. This trip was the first of four planned study missions for BTCC delegates.
CNA’s Program Developer for the School of Academics, Applied Arts and Tourism, Jim Marsden, says the next group of delegates will follow the same format, so the faculty will be well prepared for their first program offering in September 2017.
“We want them as prepared as possible for going into the classroom and not reverting back to theory-based education,” Marsden said. “We want them to have an experiential methodology mindset, with demonstrations and that sort of thing, because it’s not so much about succeeding for CNA as it is succeeding for BCTT. What began as a project with many challenges, has transformed into a mission with endless opportunities. We know that if we succeed positively in this project, that the sky could be the limit in terms of opportunities in Vietnam.”
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College of the North Atlantic