Volkshochschule im Landkreis Cham e.V. is one of the largest adult education centres in Bavaria, Germany. With nearly 50 employees, 250 teachers, 30 sites and a special focus on adult education, it is the largest educational institution in the Cham region, Upper Palatinate. The Gesundheitsakademie Ostbayern (GAO) as a department of the Volkshochschule im Landkreis Cham e.V. has been offering professional specific further education training in the caregiving sector transregionally in eastern Bavaria and Nürnberg for over 10 years and since four years ago is recognised a public education provider (Regierung der Oberpfalz). The GAO is part of the VHS Cham which consists also of a state approved vocational school for geriatric nursing and nursing aids and school of Physiotherapy. It is worth mentioning that both schools offer education for students from Spain and Czech Republic. We have a large network of employers, labour administration, politics, associations and other public institutions in the area of care and health. In the area of low qualifications, the GAO has successfully trainer over 250 workers in cooperation with the employment agency and other institutions in this sector to become “caregiving assistants“.The VHS Cham is a member of the Bavarian Adult Education Association and the European Foundation for Quality Management. Certification by DQS (German society for the Certification of Management Systems) according to the Regulations on the Recognition and Approval for Further Education and Training (AZWV), allows us to carry out vocational training for the Employment Agency – a distinction that only a few adult education centres possess.
The VHS Cham provides the vocational courses which focus not only on specific knowledge and skills related to the profession, but also development of the social skills, entrepreneurship skills and bringing European values close to the citizens. The VHS Cham focuses also on the development of new curricula in the context of ECVET, e.g. in the field of geriatric nursing, technical professions and counsellors.The great part of activities is directed to young people, unemployed persons, 50+ generation also those with migration background and those who want to change qualifications. VHS provides guidance, counselling and vocational information as well as trainings in order to get new qualification adjusted to the labour market. The VHS Cham offers a total of about 115 language courses each year some of which include language courses for migrants. The VHS Cham offered 15 integration courses to about 180 language learners in 2014. VHS Cham has been awarded twice the European Language Label (2011- YELL and 2012- L-Pack) and in 2011 the prestigious PLL Award for FLAM. For more information about these projects and others please see below.VHS Cham has a wealth of experience coordinating and acting as a key partner in many projects over the years. The outcomes of the projects were geared towards second language learners in adult, vocational or higher education and/or migrant language learners. VHS Cham works intensively with migrants in regards to integration courses focusing on both language and socio-cultural information, in addition offers migrants courses for vocational qualifications for employment. Based on years of activity in EU programs, especially in the programs Grundtvig, Leonardo da Vinci and KA2 Languages, Volkshochschule Cham can count on a Europe-wide network of partner institutions, as well as great experience in project work.
Skills / expertise of key persons
Winfried Ellwanger – Managing director responsible for overall realisation of the projects in management, content and financial level. His responsibility is to implement and cascade the activities and their outputs in projects to regional and national level. He is responsible for contact with institutions, organisations, municipalities on the local, regional and national level. He possesses professional experience in implementation of the EU programmes related to VET sectors and adult education, He is co-author of the handbook “Education for sustainable development” developed together with other adult education centres in Bavaria region. W. Ellwanger is member of second phase of NQF (DQR) development in Germany in vocational education (2009 – 2010) and member of the working group of DVV (German Adult Education Association (Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband e.V.) in implementation of NQF (DQR) and EQF in the field of adult education. He is a member of the board of Bavarian Association for adult education (BVV) for 15 years. Also member of working group ECVET at German National Agency (NA BIBB).
Aleksandra Sikorska – Sociologist, head of the international projects department, she has experience in information and vocational guidance for various target groups: young learners, migrant learners and adult learners. She has also experience in preparation of teaching materials and provision of training, workshops in the field of communication, management, quality assurance and capacity building. Currently she manages and leads a number of projects at local regional, national and international level. She is also heavily involved in research and dissemination and has spoken and facilitated workshops at a number of regional, national and international conferences and events. Her expertise is built on working experience in vocational and adult education in Poland, Germany. She took part in the national members’ meetings for implementation of German NQF in the context of non-formal education.
Erin Straka – Bachelor of Arts in German and Applied Linguistic with a TESOL certification from the University of Wisconsin. Since 2008 she has had experience in English as a foreign language for adult and young learners while working for the VHS Cham. She has experience working as an independent translator and interpreter. Since 2011 she has been managing European projects in the field of languages, vocational and adult education.
Eva Salomonova – Master Degree in German and Polish Philology (Palacy- University, 2000). From 1999-2005 teacher of second language of German and Czech language in Olomouc (CZ) and in Cham (DE) for adult learners and young learners with migration background. Since 2006 she has been language teacher for German language for foreign learners at the education centre Cham VHS Cham. She has also experience in preparation language teaching materials for German language.
Martina Bachmeier – Didactic expert/trainer has been working in VHS Cham for 10 years. She has professional experience in working and training activities, assessment of skills and competencies. She conducts and prepares teaching materials for basic skills for learners in the fields of mathematics and ICT competences. She is a coach for improvement of vocational training and integration of young people who have not finished school in a regular course. She is also involved in several local, regional, national and European projects in the field of education. Currently she manages European projects in the field of vocational and adult education.