3.4.3 Developing an improvement plan

An improvement plan builds on results of analysis of achievements and deficits and incorporates the challenges, opportunities and resources available for change (see annex, Sections 1.24, 1.25, 1.28). Once you have discussed the issues with the main stakeholders and agreed the most important areas for change, the improvement plan compiles all this information and elaborates two different proposals for change:

  1. corrective actions, to overcome detected failures and deficits, as an immediate response to major complaints of students and other stakeholders;

  2. adaptive actions to make structural improvements and adaptations of the VET institution and VET programmes, considering under performance or new demands.

After approval by senior management of the VET organisation, the improvement plan should be disseminated widely and communicated to the broadest possible range of stakeholders, to demonstrate the organisation’s passion for quality.

An improvement plan should be reviewed twice a year and updated at least once a year as part of the annual quality cycle.

Internally, organisation of change needs an additional step: the improvement plan must be put into practice. Figure 10 gives an overview of how commonly identified and agreed needs for change are transformed into a detailed action plan.


Figure 10. Transforming improvement needs into an action plan

Source: CEDEFOP.


An action plan is meant to ensure that change really happens and that the envisaged improvement process is monitored and evaluated to check if the intended effects have been achieved. In detail an action plan should record:

  1. kind of actions to be undertaken;

  2. individuals responsible for implementation;

  3. resources and tools needed to undertake the planned actions;

  4. deadline by which the actions are completed;

  5. indicators to measure if the intended effects are really achieved;

  6. assessment and evaluation of envisaged progress.

Monitoring activities to put the action plan into practice, as well as measuring its effects, is the responsibility of the quality manager.

To sum up, Figure 11 provides an overview of the different steps to be undertaken to establish an improvement plan. Based on a sound analysis of various factors contributing to quality in VET, followed by a thorough discussion of different options for change with internal and external stakeholders, the improvement plan is adopted by senior management of the institution. It sets out corrective actions and structural adaptations and defines activities, resources, responsibilities, indicators for measuring achievements and deadlines. The quality manager will monitor implementation of the improvement plan.


Figure 11. Organising change and improvement of quality

Source: CEDEFOP.