Innovative Work-based VET Methods in European Mechatronics 4.0 (2020-23)

An Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project within vocational educaton and training (VET) for inspector staff from mechanical industry. ​

Quality Management Software

Contact person:
Erik Engh - ​​ 


EUROMEC will develop and pilot well-supported manufacturing work-based learning that dovetails with in-house training schemes (non-formal VET) to develop pathways to National Qualifications (NQs) attainment for unqualified Mechatronics 4.0 (M4.0) inspector operatives. The learners’ nonformal learning and competences will be recognized at the outset, and their development priorities defined. The target audience includes M4.0 inspector operatives, with background from welding, who need training at:

  • basic level, and
  • a qualification and qualified operatives, with background as welding engineers, preparing to upgrade to an inspector role at an advanced level.

The proposed new VET system will personalize delivery, driven by individual learning and assessment plans and supported by appropriate ICT and learning technologies. The new M4.0 VET pedagogical aspects will be unique and progressive leading to the following systematic improvements in manufacturing work-based learning:

1. Mechatronics 4.0 is a "nick name" for automation of SME manufacturing process in the frame of Industry 4.0. It is using mechanical, electrical and electronic components to build complex mechatronic systems, e.g. robots for industrial production. SMEs manufacture the individual components (usually done by SMEs), while bigger manufacturing companies assemble them into larger products, systems or installations. For the developed systems to be joined and put into operation, programming and instalment of additional software is often required. Both the SMEs and the larger manufacturing companies comply with diagrams and design drawings, and their operative staff must carefully inspect the joint systems before handing them over to their customers. In addition, these inspector operatives must maintain and repair mechatronic systems (Cf. Bundesagentur für Arbeit 2017, 1). 

The main components of mechatronics 4.0 for automated manufacturing processes in SMEs within VET include the following key areas:

  • Control systems (Control electronics and Digital control systems)
  • Electronic systems (Control electronics and Electro-mechanics)
  • Mechanical systems (Electro-mechanics and Mechanical CAD)
  • Computers (Mechanical CAD and Digital control systems

2. The formalization of a pan European manufacturing VET provider network composed of nationally respected VET providers. Collectively, they will develop the new digitalized learning resources and pedagogy needed to support flexible work-based learning and skills development, in close partnership with their SMEs and larger manufacturing industry partners.

3. The development of the capacity within SMEs and larger manufacturing companies for tutoring support, manufacturing based skills instruction and contribution to a quality assured assessment and formal VET delivery, supported by their VET provider.

4. The development of up to date digital manufacturing VET learning resources, shared by the VET provider network, and their industry SMEs partners.

5. The development of a new work-based learning pedagogy that encourages ‘investigative workbased learning’ and the development of important transversal skills, including problem solving and groups of students collaborative working in teams.


The innovative character of the Mechatronics 4.0 workflow methodology facilitating work-based pedagogy.

The innovative, investigative mechatronics manufacturing VET based production pedagogy for flexible and customized automated manufacturing delivery from a SME to serve individual learning and assessment plans, supported by work-based training to the new smart SME based manufacturing industry in European countries. It transfers the information in construction drawings into manufactured products, by applying an investigative work-based learning methodology following the manufacturing process, supported by appropriate learning technologies, digital subject content and ‘scenario based’ learning. It involves the following phases:

  1. Preparation: How shall we prepare the data input for the products?

  2. Risk management: What will be the consequences missing data integrity ?

  3. Identification of the risks: What are the risks associated with these SME based manufacturing processes?

  4. How to check? Identify how the components must be inspected during the various SME manufacturing processes.

  5. Where to check? How to inspect, report and create non-conformities during the process.

  6. Reporting: Produce inspection report during the SME manufacturing processes.

  7. Inspection of components after the manufacturing processes.

  8. Final inspection of the product. Document the results. Closure of gaps and non-conformities

  9. Delivery: Product is delivered by a SME to the next production stage

M4.0 within SMEs

Mechatronics 4.0 within SMEs automated manufacturing processes targets several important components of collaborative learning processes that includes:

a) Specification of a production problem to challenge learners, delivered in the form of an “inspection order” or data set from the previous production stage, to be completed to a deadline by the SME company.

b) Division of the M4.0 SME manufacturing process into subcomponents, where the risks associated with the M4.0 production steps are defined, applying episodes of theoretical learning immediately followed by application into practice.

c) Identification of the risks are used to define the inspection elements and sequences. This will stimulate and support discussion between learners and their inpsector operative tutors in order to obtain an optimalized manufacturing process.

d) Quality assurance of the subcomponents with feedback into the SMEs companys ICT systems for process documentation, to ensure the specification in the order has been followed and documented according to requirements.

e) Verification by experienced (SME) manufacturing personel of whether the quality of the process, product, service or outcome is according to specifications in the order, before releasing the product to the next production process stage.

f) Delivery of the product to the next production stage for further processing. The data set belonging to the product has been uploaded into the manufacturing system together with relevant documentation.