In order to identify the needs of the companies and consequently respond to their requests in terms of appropriate i.e. skilled staff, the Ministry of Education and Science with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the project Education for Employment in Northern Macedonia – E4E@mk, started a consultation process with companies, chambers of commerce and the local self-government units for the need to open new profiles and classes in secondary vocational schools across the country from the next school year. Currently, the ministry is organizing 19 regional events across the country under the slogan “Study smart, work professionally”, where the Minister of Education and Science Mila Carovska, representatives of the Government and MoES, mayors and companies discuss curriculum design and enrollment policies in secondary vocational schools. The purpose of such meetings is to encourage social dialogue between stakeholders, which would result in harmonization of the supply and demand of labor i.e. the creation of vocationally skilled and quality staff.
Such regional meetings were preceded by an analysis conducted by the Ministry of Education and Science, which gave a clear picture of the existing profiles offered by the vocational schools, their compliance with the needs of the companies and the willingness of the companies to cooperate with secondary vocational schools at the local level. The analysis found that it is necessary to go out on the field and open a dialog with an extensive number of stakeholders who can support the advancement of vocational education and training. The analysis covered 450 companies from all over the country, of which as many as 85% stated that they are ready to cooperate with secondary vocational schools and accept students for practical training, something that is very important for creating professional and quality staff.
The consultation process started with events in Sveti Nikole and Stip. These events were attended by representatives of companies that very clearly expressed their needs for skilled staff, especially for the needs of the meat industry and other industries that feel the lack of professional staff, especially at the local level.
“We are discussing their real needs for certain profiles that companies have been missing for years, and the opportunities to open classes in secondary vocational schools. For the first time ever, we are entering into intensive discussions with companies, chambers of commerce and secondary vocational schools in order to provide the required professional staff, but also to increase the employability of young people,” said Carovska.
Veles, Kavadarci and Negotino as local self-government units strongly emphasized the need for cooperation between the private companies and the secondary vocational schools, taking into account the success that the companies Rontis from Veles and Dräxlmaier from Kavadarci presented, which arise from the experiences with practical training of students. The companies especially highlighted the benefits of this type of cooperation with the secondary vocational schools versus the costs in the realization of the concept of vocational education and training.
“We received very constructive and useful proposals for the profiles we need to open. We strongly believe that through this social dialogue we will jointly identify the needs and respond to the long-standing requests of companies, but we will also advance the vocational education system that will create staff needed by the real sector” said Carovska.
The secondary vocational schools also emphasized that the realization of the vocational training for the students from the secondary vocational schools is not complete when it is carried out only in the schools, because most of the required vocational skills are related to new and modern technologies that are available only in or to the companies.
Deputy Minister of Education and Science – Arafat Shabani at the meetings held in Struga and Ohrid presented the participants with the plans of the Ministry of Education and Science to redefine the scholarship process for the students who would enroll in secondary vocational education and stressed that this step should be an additional motivation for all young people who want to focus their education and career towards the real sector.
The Economic Chamber of Macedonia and the Vocational Education and Training Center support these events as relevant stakeholders in the educational process. The Economic Chamber of Macedonia, through the development of more than 85 educational programs and standards, encourages the involvement of companies in the creation of educational programs, supports the implementation of practical training with employers and the verification of employers. Such support from the Economic Chamber of Macedonia is an additional guarantee for building a public-private partnership between the private sector and the secondary vocational schools. The Vocational Education and Training Center, as the relevant institution for vocational education and training, consistently supports the overall social dialogue and provides appropriate guidance and recommendations for the vocational schools, municipalities and companies within these events, in order to properly adapt the enrollment policies for the next enrollment year.
The Minister of Education and Science – Mila Carovska additionally supports and encourages all local self-government units, in cooperation with the private sector, to continue in the direction of defining the needs of new profiles or adapting existing profiles, building long-term partnerships between companies and secondary vocational schools as well as advancing the practical training of students in companies.
The events within this social dialogue for the advancement of the secondary vocational education and training continue in Tetovo, Kumanovo, Kriva Palanka, Prilep, Bitola, Bogdanci, Strumica, Kocani, Berovo, the City of Skopje, Ilinden, Gostivar and Kicevo.
The events are organized with full application of the measures for protection and prevention against COVID-19.