Combining in-company apprenticeship and training with vocational education is a win-win. Businesses gain workers equipped with the skills they need, while learners experience a smoother transition into the world of work. Developing a system of work-based learning and dual vocational education is a priority for ETF partner country the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The Torino Process is helping the country to prioritise developments, like this, throughout the vocational education and training (VET) system.
Work is underway to promote operational connections between VET schools and companies through schemes such as ‘Preparing for a Job’ and ‘Learning by Doing,’ says Robert Gorgiev, deputy director of the national VET Centre, but there is still a lot of work to do.
‘It is a very difficult process of achieving cooperation where companies need to open their doors and schools to get out into the real world of work.’
One example of good practice – which could serve as a model for the design of work-based learning – is the scheme running in Kocani, a small city in the country’s east, where an electrical and mechanical specialist VET school named ‘Goso Vikentiev’ cooperates with engineering company Ruen.
The school and company had some links previously, but ‘that cooperation was insignificant’ before the national VET Centre ‘showed the way and helped achieve their mutual cooperation, which still continues,’ says Robert.
‘We have moved to a win-win situation. The school has now established cooperation with other companies on the same basis.’
But he cautions: ‘linking VET with the labour market demands action and support from both the state and international projects.’
Robert has a clear view of what working with both the Riga Recommendations – the five mid-term objectives for developing an EU candidate country’s VET system – and the Torino Process, has meant for the country.
‘Both reports reflect the actual situation in the country in different areas of VET and the labour market,’ says Robert, who is the country’s Torino Process coordinator.
‘It is clear that best results come from a collaborative approach between stakeholders – the results should be their joint responsibility.’
Recent developments in VET
- Preparation of a comprehensive education strategy 2016-20
- Modernising 3 – 4 year VET programmes, with a new focus on analysis, concepts, methodologies and occupational standards among other areas
- Development of a national qualifications framework
- Skills observatory
- Tracer system tracking the skills and employability of VET graduates