AmCham Macedonia Summer 2018 (Issue 58) - Page 16

Cover Story Summer 2018 / Issue 58 Learn & Earn – German Dual Vocational Training in Macedonia D ual vocational training in technical and com- mercial fields has a long history in Germany. Since the 18th century, from the times of guilds and market trades, vocational training has been in the DNA of German, Swiss and Austrian people. Private-public partnerships between the state, the private sec- tor and chambers of commerce work well, and depending of the economic situation there is always a need to foster and adjust this ‘golden triangle.’ Although dual training is facing challenges even in Germany, espe- cially in these turbulent times, this model is key for achieving the lowest youth unemployment rate in Europe of only 7, 1%. The system of dual vocational train- ing enables students to gain knowl- edge, skills, and qualifications which correspond to the fast-changing 16 AmCham Macedonia Magazine needs of the business sector. The dual training is imple- mented both in the school (theoretical part) and in the com- pany (practical part) where ‘learning by doing’ is the main focus of the program. Author: Tobias Bolle, Program Leader for Dual Training (Skills Expert Program), Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Macedonia (AHK) The Situation in Macedonia Macedonia inherited an obsolete vocational education and training (VET) system and the subsequent develop- ment of the education system was focused on general high school education which could lead into any field of university studies. This strategy might have worked if there was an abundance of jobs available afterwards. Unfortunately, the labor market in Macedonia does not have the capacity to absorb all the graduates that come out of universities. On the other hand, a lot of jobs in the technical production field are vacant because there is not enough qualified staff graduating from the technical voca- tional schools. However, technical high schools in Mace- donia have dedicated teachers and functional equipment which means there is hope for the future of vocational training in Macedonia. Recognizing the need for qualified technicians, beside the German initiative, there is also the Swiss Embassy together with Helvetas and the Eco- nomic chamber of Macedonia who recently launched a 10-year program for Education for Employment in Mace- donia (E4E@mk). Summer 2018 / Issue 58 How is AHK Implementing Dual Training in Macedonia? The Delegation of German Industry and Commerce(AHK) is part of a large and experienced network with over 120 offices in 80 countries. Dual training is part of the service portfolio of a lot of chambers worldwide. Even in the United States of America, through a skills initiative by former pres- ident Barack Obama, the AHK in Chicago and Atlanta now offer large programs to German and American clients. In the Balkans, the German Chambers in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Slovenia are also replicating this model. Macedonia kicked off its attempt at dual training in April 2017 within the Skills Expert Program supported by the Fed- eral Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Two full time employees are engaged to work on this program. What is important to note is that all attempts at imple- mentation of the systematic elements of German dual train- ing follow the same pattern in every country. First, industry demands are researched and qualified, which is an import- ant step to avoid skills mismatch and ensure the sustainabil- ity of the programs. There are over 300 occupational profiles in Germany and the length of programs varies between two and four and a half years. In Macedonia, besides the long- term vocational training, AHK also organises short technical trainings, lasting one or two weeks, in a form of in-house injection moulding training or Train the Trainer. During the kick off of the program in September 2017, AHK established a Vocational Training Committee (VTC), consisting of selected members from the private sector, ministries, and schools, which serves as an exchange instrument and provides conclusions regarding the curric- ula, the training program and, later on, forms the Examina- tion Committees. Starting in September 2018 and for the following four years, five companies are launching a new technical profile - industrial mechatronic - in high schools in two regions of the country within the national 4 year education system. Besides obtaining a graduation diploma (matura), the stu- dents will also have a chance to be offered an employment contract right after graduation as line leaders, maintenance operators, or technicians. The interest among student is very high judging from the number of youngsters (300-400) that visited the regional information fairs. Cover Story In addition to German companies, American as well as domestic companies are showing interest in participating in this initiative and are more than welcome to join the pro- gram. AHK awards the companies that join the program with a recognition seal -“This Company Participates in Dual Training.” The seal means that the company is committed to creating a quality learning environment for the young- sters including a training room, dedicated mentors. Pocket money, food and transport allowance are additional ser- vices that a vocational training companies might offer. In order to strengthen the public sector and the capacities of school teachers, AHK is planning a study trip in South Germany to visit IHK (Chamber of Commerce), the dual training partner company Marquardt Headquarters and few technical vocational education and training (TVET) schools. Another helpful tool to in crease knowledge and produc- tivity provided by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooper- ation and Development (BMZ) is the Senior Expert Service (SES). Through this service, around 11.000 experts in many fields can provide consultancy to Macedonian partners like government institutions, private companies, or others. The Benefits of Dual Vocational Training for Children and Parents Parents who want the best for their children think the best course of action is to send them to university. But the reality is that not many university graduates succeed in getting a well-paid job or development opportunities. Entering the dual training program during high school should be considered an important option in career plan- ning and development. After completing the program, graduates have the possibility to easily get an entry-level position, and with further practical training and learning experience it is possible to advance to higher positions such as line leader or maintenance manager. In addition, participating companies send their staff for training in Germany and even offer scholarships for employees interested in continuing their education at universities. The concept of dual training has already proven suc- cessful in the USA, China, and Serbia, where amend- ments to the legislation of TVET have been made. The time is right for dual training in Macedonia, having in mind that educational institutions have a need to further develop and progress and the business sector is ready to absorb a qualified workforce. All interested stakehold- ers can contact the German Chamber(AHK) and get more information on dual vocational training on the following e-mail: AmCham Macedonia Magazine 17