Vocational Training

Experts:

Rainer Wieland

Dos:

Ensure Cooperation and Alignment between Companies and Schools

A major success factor in vocational training is that a school and company work together hand-in-hand to create a consistent learning experience. It is only with this close cooperation that optimal preparation for a job assignment is ensured. Often, several companies work together with a school to reduce one-time costs and share resources. 

Invest in Education of Teachers

Teachers at schools do not necessarily have the practical experience which is necessary to prepare students for the real-life challenges in their future jobs. This is why companies participating in vocational training should invest in the education and practical experience of teachers, e.g. by inviting them to workshops or by having their own staff train teachers. Therefore good communication- and cooperation skills are needed for all involved partners. To make it perfect, teacher exchanges between different countries are the best way, to learn from each other. 

Take Care of The Participants

Participants in vocational training typically are younger than average new hires. This is why personal guidance is of particular importance to them, which also includes introducing them to professional behavior, business discipline, quality orientation and team work.

Drive Participants’ Engagement

For example: Organize a factory tour / office tour at the start of the education, set up a scholarship for excellent performance. 

Blue collar: Pay for Working Clothes for Better Branding

Especially in fast growing markets an intensive bonding is necessary as graduates of the program are not only needed by your company! Avoid that you “educate for competition”! For example, providing special working clothes with your company logo, enhances a feeling of belonging and hence retention. 



Implement New Teaching Methods

While face2face training is still the major method, new forms of teaching (e.g. eLearning, action-based learning, team assignments) should gradually be implemented. Teachers and apprentices need time to get familiar with these new teaching methods.

Don’ts:

Don’t Exceed Demand

One of the most important factors in the future attractiveness of a vocational training program is the percentage of participants who find a job within the company after the program. This rate should be close to 100% (at least for those who want to get a job in the company). Graduates not finding a job can only be avoided with sound and rather conservative planning of the volume of new hires needed after the vocational training program finishes. 



Don’t Use Apprentices as Cheap Workforce

Working and learning must be in line with government and school’s regulation. The internship in the third year should give apprentices the opportunity to execute in real situations, what they already learned at school. A mature and qualified supervisor should give feedback after performances. Assignments have to be relevant learning experiences, not just filling capacity gaps! 

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