Strengthening work-based learning and linking education with the business community, acquiring skills needed in the labor market to increase employability, and reforming the competencies of the Center for Vocational Education and Training were the main objectives of the three-year regional “School Meets Business” project, which was implemented in North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo.
The closing event of the project, which was funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, was held Tuesday in Skopje. By implementation of the project two outcomes were achieved including the improved business climate for cooperation and profiling a professional who through professional engagement to contribute to the sustainability of the main idea of the project and creating professional staff suitable for the labor market and modernization and development of vocational education.
The Ministry of Education and Science, Center for Vocational Education and Training and 87 vocational high schools were partners to the project. At today’s event, certificates were awarded to the coordinators who were the link between the companies and the vocational schools. Education Minister Mila Carovska said that the social dialogue for establishing confidence between the real sector and the vocational secondary schools was launched by the Ministry of Education and Science in January 2021, adding that with the open call issued in March they managed to open 97 dual education classes and sign contracts with 200 companies. Carovska thanked the Chamber of Commerce that succeeded to motivate companies to get involved in the process and in building modern vocational education.
“In support of this process, Education Ministry for the first time harmonized the enrollment policy with the scholarship policy and provided scholarships for students in three-year vocational schools and four-year dual enrollment classes in the amount of Mden 3,500 per month. This is an additional motivation for the vocational schools, and motivates the companies to provide scholarships for the students to receive additional financial support during the training,” Carovska said.
Austrian Ambassador to North Macedonia Georg Woutsas said that vocational and dual education is a success story in his country and that he is happy for the opportunity to cooperate with North Macedonia in this area because, as he said, it is a very important issue here because professional training is needed.
“Dual education is really something that is in demand in the labor market and for the development of companies. We want to see this project as a link between the business community and schools and students through the coordinators who will work on it. Austria and others in the international community are here to help. The task of the institutions in the country is to focus on implementation and further development of this area,” Woutsas said.