UKTI helps Austrian and British vocational colleges forge valuable links

Headmaster of the HTL Mödling Ing. Mag. Harald Hrdlicka, Deputy Head of Mission Helen Pickering, Principal of the Black Country UTC Chris Hilton

UKTI Vienna helps Black Country technical college identify partner in Austria and apply for EU Comenius funds.

In June 2013, Vienna’s DHM Helen Pickering visited the Austrian Higher Technical Institute (HTL – Höhere Technische Lehranstalt) in Mödling outside Vienna to hand out certificates to students from the Black Country University Technical College (UTC) who had just completed a 2-week study visit to the Austrian Institution.

HTLs are technology and crafts-orientated higher colleges, taking students aged 14-19. They specialise in engineering disciplines and are an important part of the Austrian vocational education system. They also co-operate very closely with businesses to ensure that the graduates have the skills which are really needed – and as a result their graduates find it easy to get jobs. Up until recently HTLs have been unique within Europe, but the UTCs being developed in the UK are conceived very much along the same lines.

Back in 2011, the Black Country UTC commissioned an OMIS report to identify potential schools for a partnership programme. UKTI Austria arranged a visiting programme for various schools in and around Vienna, out of which the contact between the two institutions was established which has now developed into a strong relationship.

The two institutions successfully applied together for EU Comenius funds last year, and now there is an organised programme of contacts including study visits in both directions.

The British students and the Principal of the Black Country UTC, Chris Hilton, told Helen how much they had benefitted from the relationship and from the visit. The Headmaster of the HTL, Harald Hrdlicka, was equally positive. The UTC team are getting new ideas about teaching methods; the Austrians are learning how to teach and learn in English.

UTC tutor, Mrs Hughes spoke about the importance of the Comenius Project and said: “The programme has allowed us to create a crucial link with a fellow technical school and it has proved very beneficial for our students to learn about other countries and their cultural differences. As HTL Mödling has a lot in common with the UTC it’s a great way to make those connections and also learn from each other.”

The British students each went home with a beautifully made metal nutcracker, which they had worked on together with an Austrian partner as a joint project. Both sides are looking forward to more contact. Helen Pickering was really pleased about the visit and called the project “another real success for UKTI”.


If you are interested in building up a partnership with Austrian colleges, please contact UKTI Austria

UK Trade & Investment Austria

Tel: +43 (0)1 716 13 6161


Black Country University Technical College


Sectors: Education & Training
Countries: Austria and West Midlands
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