Guide to support Professional Development in Commercial School

An account of how a Portuguese Commercial School makes use of an interdisciplinary Guide with its 3rd Year Commerce Technical vocational students. The Guide supports the students as they develop their Final Professional Aptitude Plan - Enterprise Plan at the end of their course (3 year, EU Level 4 vocational course).

Purpose and process

At the beginning of each year, the Guide is handed out to the students who follow its guidelines throughout the year, adapting it to the course and project they have chosen to pursue, i.e. the type of commerce they are studying, together with which sector/branch of activity. Every course has its own Guide relating to the Professional Aptitude Plan (PAP) - which includes a Written Project - associated with the respective course.

The key stages that students go through in preparing their PAP Project include: a) Preparation (discussion of the project); b) Planning (development of a planning grid); c) Division of chores; d) Organisation of the project file; e) Research and data collection; f) Data processing; g) Writing the report; h) Oral presentation before a jury. The Guide provides technical information on topics such as retailing and selling, organising and managing the company and communicating at the point of sale.

In January, students go on a 6-week work placement in a company in the same branch of activity as their PAP Project in order to to gather more information on their particular sector and to improve their skills related to this type of business. At the end of the year, each student has to deliver their Written Project as part of their Professional Aptitude Plan and to present it to a jury.

Overall, the PAP should be seen as structuring the professional future of the student and should:

  • Result in a technically relevant product, for its usefulness, creativity and quality
  • Demonstrate the student's preparation for the practical needs of professional practice in their chosen field
  • Demonstrate to potential employers the ability of the student to attain a high level of professional performance
  • Certify his/her level of technical knowledge.

Learning outcomes

By the end of their course, students should be able to:

  • Apply the knowledge gained throughout the course in concrete activities
  • Demonstrate independent learning and teamwork skills as well as self-discipline and a sense of responsibility
  • Show key entrepreneurial skills, behaviours and attitudes, including creativity, autonomy and innovation
  • Understand what it means to have good working habits and to demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Fully integrate into the professional world in a dynamic and harmonious way.

Curricular or thematic relevance

The Professional Aptitude Plan should assume an integrative and transdisciplinary nature, reflecting all knowledge and skills gathered during the course.

How to organise:

 Mostly in timetabled lessons, although students may need to undertake the final presentation of their written PAP Projects during extra-curricular or suspended timetable time.

Assessment and evaluation approaches

Students are assessed accordingly to the development of the following skills:

  • Interpersonal Relations/Communication - Helping others; Teamwork;  Respect for others; Active listening; Clarity of speech; Accepting criticism and showing respect for different opinions.
  • Research - Use of different sources: books, magazines, newspapers, internet, interviews ...
  • Handling Data / Information - Reading;  Analysis; Capacity to synthesize data; Production of original and creative texts.

Curricular or thematic relevance (NOT TO BE USED)

Yes. The Professional Aptitude Plan should assume an integrative and transdisciplinary nature reflecting all knowledge and skills gathered during the course. This is a specific Guide for Commerce Technician Students, despite being used across multiple subjects, the core ones are the technical ones like Retailing and Selling, Organizing and Managing the Company and Communicating in the Point of Sales.

Volunteer involvement

The jury consists of 4 judges: an entrepreneur from the same branch of work as the presented project; a Union representative; the Director of the School (or representative); the School Project Tutor.

Additional comments

A file containing examples of 2nd year Projects is available to view. It refers to three topics: Awareness, Exploration Chart (built together with the students in class) and Research Guide.

Provider country


Files for download:

guio_de_investigao_cchai_mourariaintegrado.pdf / 586kB

Has been provided by school:

Escola de Comércio de Lisboa

helper do TM detail body (June 6th, 1st half)

helper do TM detail right side (TM June 6th, 2nd half)

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