Learning entrepreneurship through career centres and internships with entrepreneurs.
The high economic growth in Poland in recent years did not respond into similar changes in the Opole’s Voivodeship. The main reasons for this situation are a shortage of investments of strategic importance, migratory outflow of population, small regional market and, above all, very strong competition of neighbouring regions. Hence the idea of making changes in vocational education and keeping young people in the region. To respond to the crisis in vocational education and to open up to the expectations of employers RCRE began activities in the field of discerning the needs of the local labour market and preparing young people to function in it.
As part of the project, 50 School Career Centres were established - the places of development for young entrepreneurs who created 200 virtual companies using a special Internet platform. During the project implementation young people received legal, accounting, IT and marketing support. At the same time were formed creative thinking groups “design-thinking" (3-5 students). The groups received specific projects from companies to be implemented, which required a very innovative approach to the problem. For example, students designed a tilt angle adjustment system for the driver's seat for BMW company and their design, with minor modifications, was adopted in production. Another developed a new product in catering - children's sausages.
The main stakeholders and beneficiaries – students, teachers, schools and businessmen.
The project involved pupils, directors, teachers, entrepreneurs, employers, professional advisors, trainers, etc. The project was co-financed by the European Social Fund under the Human Capital Operational Programme. Total budget: 18.843.000 PLN, co-financing: 16.016.550 PLN; own: 2.826.450 PLN.
Evidence of success
Nowadays, School Career Centres have become School information and Career centres. In these places, young people can meet career advisers, local entrepreneurs and plan actions to start their own business. The project has got second edition, which was awarded and recognised as the best in Europe in category “European Funds for Excellence”. This second edition was also nominated by EU experts and won in on-line voting first prize in the VET Excellence Awards 2018.
Dilemmas in the project - How to make it possible to transfer the idea of creating virtual companies to each of vocational schools, not only to schools implementing the project?
Potential for learning or transfer
We’ve choosen this practice, because it responds to the crisis in vocational education and to open up to the expectations of employers. It is also a good way to educate young people and show them a large aspects of entrepreneurship. It can be done in every country, region where is the same problem and it should be a part of vocational education. It requires commitment of different environment, but it can be a good example, that entrepreneurial education (in wide range) is needed. The proof of this is a second edition of this project.
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