Teachers exchange places with their students in order to experience on their own an internship in a company

Advantage Austria – The Austrian Foreign Trade Office and the Agency for Vocational and Adult Education with the help of project partners of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Chamber of Crafts, the German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Swiss Embassy and the Znanje na djelu (Knowledge at Work) Foundation organized the first cycle of practice for about 40 teachers of vocational schools, which were held from 6th to 9th April 2021. The main goal of the whole initiative was to build better cooperation and collaboration between entrepreneurship and vocational education.

Sonja Holocher-Ertl, Director of Advantage Austria – Austrian Foreign Trade Office: “Close contact with an internship during vocational education is one of the most important factors for successful student entry into the business world. For this reason, we offer vocational teachers an insight into the business world so that they can incorporate their experiences into teaching. I am especially pleased that we are again cooperating on this project with our partners – the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Chamber of Crafts, the German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Swiss Embassy, and the Znanje na djelu (Knowledge at work) Foundation. Special thanks also goes to the Agency for Vocational and Adult Education, without which we would not have been able to start the project.”

As part of the project, the teacher received a mentor who acquainted them with the company’s position in the market, the organizational structure and culture of the company and the department in which they will do their internship. Teachers, under the watchful eye of their mentors, performed appropriate tasks, and constantly shared experiences with all organizational levels in the company.

Teachers jumped into the jobs of chefs, waiters, CNC operators, salesmen, butchers, bakers, florists, carpenters, etc. Through practical work and communication with mentors but also the management of the company and the human resources department that was available to them, they gained insight in the actual competencies required of their students as future employees.

By participating in the internship, teachers gained authentic insight into the daily work of the company, gained personal experience in the business world, which they were be able to convey to their students, got a realistic picture of the economic context and operational processes in the company, etc. In addition, they made valuable contacts from which additional cooperation may be achieved in the future.

Vocational schools from Čakovec, Koprivnica, Ludbreg, Pitomača, Rijeka, Sisak, Varaždin, Vinica, Virovitica, Zadar and Zagreb are participating in the project.

The companies participating in the project are: A.B.L.E. d.o.o., Auto centar Kos d.o.o., Autobusni prijevoz d.o.o., Automobil Lončar d.o.o., B&O Prelog d.o.o., Bauwerk Boen d.o.o., dm – Drogerie Markt d.o.o., Elektro Panić d.o.o., Kostwein proizvodnja strojeva d.o.o., Lesnina H d.o.o., Meskal d.o.o., Nasadi d.o.o., Furniture MIMA d.o.o., Pana d.o.o., Pevex d.o.o., Pustara Višnjica d.o.o., Rail Cargo Logistics d.o.o., SPAR Croatia, Tkalčec d.o.o., Toplice Sveti Martin d.o.o., and others.

All companies involved in this project participated in it completely non-profit and only with the desire to encourage cooperation between entrepreneurship and education and initiate changes in vocational education that will lead to improved student competencies. Companies also saw the project as an opportunity for better employer branding, in order to gain a better position in the labor market, which has been left without a significant part of the skilled workforce due to the outflow of workers in recent years.

The internship project for teachers was originally designed in Austria by the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and has been implemented every March since 2014. During this period, over 300 vocational teachers, pedagogues and students of teacher training academies did internships in Austrian companies.

More detailed information about the project “Teachers in companies – practice for teachers” can be found on our website advantageaustria.org.

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