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BSZ Amberg is a vocational education centre with a vocational college (Berufsschule), a sixth-form college/college of further education (FOSBOS) and a public technical college (Staatliche Technikerschule).
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In addition, the BSZ Amberg is a seminary school (for trainee teachers in their 1st or 2nd year) in physics, economics and social studies.
It has 120 full-time and 30 part-time teachers for approximately 2,400 students (who are, on average, between 16 and 20), with the goal of developing their character and skills. The subject-related practical areas of the education are carried out by specialist teachers and workshop trainers.
Key BSZ Amberg quality goals
The BSZ Amberg regards itself as a welcoming, innovative and proficient provider of the region’s vocational education. The school works in cooperation with parents, businesses and other institutions and the general atmosphere is one of team spirit and mutual respect. Optimal working and teaching conditions, pedagogical freedom and autonomous study form the basis of the educational methods, so that the students are optimally prepared for the challenges of the world of work and their place in society. Education and character building are at the heart of the school’s philosophy.
Special features of BSZ Amberg
The BSZ Amberg is part of the “No Racism – Civil Courage School “ movement. This is a Germany-wide school network of more than 2,400 schools whereby the members are pro-active against any form of discrimination.
Additionally, in recent years it has continually extended its involvement in international partnerships, resulting in regular language trips to London, Prague and Granada, plus study trips to twinned schools in Israel and Desenzano and as part of the Erasmus+ Project, where students and teachers visit countries like Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, France and Poland in order to work cooperatively with the partner schools on their chosen projects (like WOBIGREEN – the world is bigger than what you can see on screen) and also experience the different cultures and languages, forging international friendship.
On top of that, the BSZ Amberg is a MINT-friendly school and has gained an award for its commitment to scientific and technological education. The students receive special support in Maths, Computer Science, Science and Technology (MINT).
The school also specializes in media literacy and as a model school in this field aims to strengthen the students’ media competence by demonstrating a responsible, considered and efficient interaction with its forms. This is being achieved through the implementation of school-specific curricula of media and methods, plus regular in-house teacher training in this field.
The individual schools – i.e. the vocational college (BS), the sixth-form college/college of further education (FOSBOS) and the public technical college (Staatliche Technikerschule) – have many other special features as their trademark, which will be highlighted in their dedicated descriptions.
Collaborating partners of the BSZ Amberg
The BSZ Amberg has numerous collaborating partners. These include a great many training and internship companies, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK), the Chamber of Crafts (HWK), partner schools, and the Friends of the School Association (Förderverein), and the Amberg-Weiden Technical University (OTH) is one of the school’s most important partners.
The building and its facilities
The complete refurbishment of the BSZ Amberg was finished in November 2014. The school has its own canteen with an outside seating area.
The centre’s top-quality technical equipment is a further excellent feature. Everything used for teaching is state-of-the-art and the school’s own workshops (in all three branches) are particularly well equipped.
Counselling and support systems at the BSZ Amberg
A counselling and support system has been introduced to the school centre, geared to helping the students, whatever their situation. There are guidance counsellors and school coaches ready to advise on questions of educational and career choices, on learning difficulties or weaknesses in performance, or even in school crisis situations. Furthermore there is a pastoral worker, a school psychologist and a social education worker, who are always there ready to give advice and assistance.
The sixth-form college/college of further education (FOSBOS) even has extra support systems, particularly concerning studying. Student tutors (Pupils help Pupils/Schüler helfen Schülern), learning platforms on the internet (Virtual Vocational School/Virtuelle Berufliche Oberschule), and extra tuition for students struggling in certain subjects.
Extra-curricular activities at the BSZ Amberg
Life is very varied at the BSZ Amberg. Students and teachers at all three schools go on study trips and excursions, visit the theatre or get actively involved themselves, by, for example, doing social projects. Individual examples will be highlighted in each school’s description.
What is a FOSBOS?
This is a sixth-form college/college of further education for pupils over 16.
They have a choice of the following four branches:
The FOSBOS is attended by approximately 700 students, who are taught by around 70 teachers.
FOSBOS Amberg is basically composed of two schools: depending on the pre-existing entry conditions, students attend either the FOS (Fachoberschule/secondary vocational school) or the BOS (Berufsoberschule/upper vocational school).
One can enter the 11th class of the FOS directly after gaining the ‘Mittlere Reife’ (intermediate school-leaving certificate) from either a Real-, Wirtschafts- or Mittelschule or Gymnasium (all types of secondary schools). This is for those students who have not done any vocational training. In the 11th class, students spend one week in school and the alternate week gathering practical work experience in an internship company, regardless of which school branch they have chosen. Students of ‘Economics, Administration and Law’ do their apprenticeship in a business enterprise or government office, those studying ‘Social Welfare’ work in a care or education facility, the students in the technical branch go to the in-house workshops for metal-, electrical- or construction-technology and those studying ‘Health’ get their work experience in healthcare and nursing institutions.
Full-time school education returns in the 12th class, where students prepare for the technical university entrance qualification (allgemeine Fachhochschulreife) in order to be able to study at a college of applied science (Fachhochschule/Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften) where they can take any degree course on offer.
If, however, the student attains grade 3 or higher in the 12th class final certificate (Fachhochschulreifezeugnis), he or she is then qualified to attend the 13th class, which is also full-time school education. With one foreign language (English) and a pass in the final exam at the end of the 13th class, the student achieves the university entrance diploma (fachgebundenes Abitur) and is qualified to take any degree course from their school branch at any university (Universität).
If the student has a second foreign language such as Spanish or French, which can also be taken in the 12th and 13th classes of the FOS, then he or she, as long as they pass the final exams in the 13th class, achieves the general higher education entrance qualification (Abitur) and can take any degree course at any university (Universität).
A student who has vocational training and has achieved the ‘Mittlere Reife’ (intermediate school-leaving certificate) normally goes straight into the 12th class of the BOS (Berufsoberschule / upper vocational school) with full-time school education, since he or she already has work experience. Some choose to attend the preparatory class (Vorklasse) which is an 11th class of the BOS offering refresher and consolidation courses in the subjects where prior knowledge is necessary, particularly in German, maths and English.
At the end of the 12th class, BOS students can sit the same exam as the FOS students, although they don’t have to. If they pass, they achieve the technical university entrance qualification (allgemeine Fachhochschulreife) which enables them to study at a college of applied science (Fachhochschule/Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften) where they can take any degree course on offer.
If a student goes into the 13th class, which is also full-time school education, after the 12th class and has a second foreign language (which can also be learnt in the 12th and 13th BOS classes), and successfully passes the final exam, he or she achieves the general higher education entrance qualification (Abitur) and can take any degree course at any university (Universität). Should the student not have the second foreign language, he or she achieves the university entrance diploma (fachgebundenes Abitur) and is qualified to take any degree course from their BOS school branch at any university (Universität).
School life at FOSBOS Amberg
FOSBOS Amberg has a very active and varied programme of extra-curricular activities. Every year there is a theatre play and a ‘Movie Night’. With the play, students voluntarily rehearse after school and present it to an audience, whereas the ‘Movie Night’ is a sort of mini Berlin Film Festival. The 13th class students write a script on a set theme, direct and film it themselves, and finally edit it into a short. The ten best shorts are presented to an audience.
Students also take part - successfully - in competitions such as the Maths or Europe Competitions, visit companies, attend a school hostel event on ‘Europe and Participation’, visit the Bavarian Parliament, consolidate their language skills on trips to Granada and London, attend business lectures, visit collaborating partners like the OTH Amberg-Weiden (technical university) and take part in student exchanges with Desenzano and Israel. Furthermore, the school has been participating for years in the international EU-Programme ‘Erasmus+’, enabling more student exchanges with the various other European schools. Life at the school is further enhanced by activities such as football tournaments and charity work. The student representative body (SMV) also plays an enormous role in this field. One example is their joint responsibility for the graduation ceremony.
What is a Berufsschule?
This is a vocational school which covers the 10th to 13th classes and which imparts a general education as well as theoretical vocational knowledge in a dual system.
In this ‘dual system’ of vocational training the school (BS) is the collaborating partner with the apprenticeship enterprise and the student is trained in a specific vocation by both partners. Whoever is in an apprenticeship or is still of vocational training age may attend the vocational school. Normally, school attendance is on one or two days a week; alternatively, a so-called ‘block-schooling’ is on offer.
Students can gain the vocational school leaving certificate or the ‘Mittlere Reife’ (general intermediate school-leaving certificate) from the BS.
Depending on the trainee vocation and previous education, the apprenticeship – and therefore the school education – lasts between two and three and a half years.
BS Amberg offers the subjects of Economics, Nutrition and Health, Electrical Engineering and Metal Technology. In addition there are classes for immigrants and integration, and also for young people who have no apprenticeship placement.
The school has 1,400 students in all, and 80 teachers.
Department of Economics: here training is offered in banking, sales, retail sales, wholesale and export trade, and accountancy. In addition, the immigrants and also young people who have no apprenticeship placement are catered for.
Department of Electrical Engineering: this department offers the vocations of both Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and offers the possibility of a further qualification at the public technical college (Staatliche Technikerschule). The department also supports students’ acquisition of various IT-Industry certificates through the CISCO Networking Academy and the National Instruments Company.
Department of Metal Technology: this department trains students for various professions in the metal sector with an emphasis on industry and craftsmanship.
Department of Nutrition and Health: here there are the following trainee professions on offer: baking, food trade retail with a focus on baking and confectionery, hairdressing, medical assistants and dental assistants.
Recently the BS Amberg has become a “Model Economics School 4.0” and is receiving financial backing from the Bavarian Ministry of Culture under the “Industry 4.0” support scheme. The organisation team ( Electrical and Metal Engineering) aims to build its own “Smart Factory”. The school is intensively promoting this goal in collaboration with, for example, the public commercial college (Wirtschaftsschule), the upper vocational school (Berufsoberschule), the public technical college (Staatliche Technikerschule) and the OTH Amberg-Weiden (technical university).
School life at the Berufsschule Amberg
Even though the students only attend the school part-time, there is still active participation in extra-curricular activities.
They are successful in competitions (for example the Bestec Prize: construction of a scooter by means of a 3-D printer), visit companies, improve their language skills on trips to London, go to vocational lectures, manage their own projects, visit collaborating partners and take part in schemes like Erasmus+. School life is further enhanced by such activities as business games, visits to exhibitions, football tournaments and charitable work (such as selling doughnuts or composing Christmas packages from humedica).
What is a Staatliche Technikerschule?
The Amberg Technical College aka The College of Mechatronics and Electrical Engineering aims to enable its students to become technicians with job experience and to be able to undertake tasks at an intermediate level. This takes two years of full-time education.
We focus on the consolidation of professional development, taking into account the special needs of adult learning. Passing the final school exam qualifies the student to go into higher education.
Our CISCO Networking-Academy and LabVIEW-Academy also enable the students to gain, among other things, industrial certificates in the IT branch.
In order to qualify as a Network-Academy site, one has to have modern laboratory equipment and at least three qualified and certified teachers, and the Staatliche Technikerschule Amberg fulfils these criteria. Extensive computer networks are discussed theoretically, simulated on the computer and then built in the laboratory with state-of-the-art hardware. In this way whole server networks can be simulated and analysed on the Amberg site.
The LabVIEW-Academy constitutes a further quality feature of the Staatliche Technikerschule. The IT training is, similar to CISCO, supported by the global player National Instruments Schools. LabVIEW features the most widely-used development environment in the field of measurement, steering and control technology.
Only schools with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and at least two certified teachers can call themselves LabVIEW-Academies, and since the Staatliche Technikerschule fulfils these criteria, the entire array of the LabVIEW training is on offer, ranging from simple computer programming tasks to more complex image processing linked to industrial robots. The final qualification is again a recognized certificate (NI-CLAD-Certificate).
There are various admission requirements, according to whether one has previous professional experience or not.
- The conditions are fulfilled if one has passed the final exam of the vocational school (Berufsschule) and has a suitable professional background, which would be a completed training course in a vocational discipline recognized by the state in the field of Mechatronics or Electrical Engineering as well as at least a year’s subsequent relevant professional experience.
- Alternatively, the requirements are fulfilled if the prospective student has completed a relevant training course as a technical assistant and at least a year’s subsequent relevant professional experience or, under certain circumstances (Certificate of Electrical Training – Nachweis der Elektrofachkraft), at least five years’ relevant professional experience.
After a wide-ranging general education in the first year, the student can choose courses in the second year that reflect personal preferences and which are geared towards his or her professional development, thus allowing their individual profiles to emerge.
In addition, the students can conduct so-called work-projects (betriebliche Projektarbeiten). In this project phase, the Technikerschule is really keen for companies to present the students with practical tasks, so that the prospective technicians can fully realise their professional expertise. The focus here is on the development and application of problem-solving strategies, coupled with ability, creativity and flexibility.
School life at the Staatliche Technikerschule Amberg
The students visit trade fairs, have company tours, consolidate their language skills on trips to London, attend business lectures, perform independent projects and visit collaborating partners.
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