European Social Fund helps build vocational skills in Slovenia
European Vocational Skills Week wrapped up today. A series of events and activities took place across Europe to highlight the benefits of vocational education and training and vocational skills development. The aim of the week, organised annually by the European Commission, is to improve visibility and recognition of vocational education and training (VET) and offer the relevant actors a chance to engage in dialogue. Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, the Managing Authority for the ESF, the ERDF and the Cohesion Fund, has already approved EUR 40.5 million in ESF funding for programmes and calls for proposals aiming to promote vocational education and training in Slovenia.
The call for proposals ''Implementation of further vocational education and training programmes in 2018-2022'' which makes a total of EUR 16.8 million available, of which EUR 13.5 million comes from the European Social Fund, has been implemented since 2018 with a view to help modernise the VET system in Slovenia. The call for proposals seeks to finance further vocational education and training programmes, i.e. employee training and development programmes, additional qualifications programmes, retraining programmes in upper secondary technical education and post-secondary non-tertiary technical education or programmes allowing participants to complete post-secondary non-tertiary technical education and training, as well as employee reskilling, upskilling and retraining programmes making workers more in tune with the needs of the labour market. Over 17,640 workers are expected to participate in the programme, at least 85% of whom is to successfully complete it.
‘’Matching vocational education and training system with labour market needs in 2018-2022’’ is a programme implemented by the Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia. The total programme budget amounts to EUR 21.4 million, of which EUR 17.2 million comes from the ESF. The combination of delivering models with a good track record and rolling out new practical training models in schools helps strengthen cooperation of employers and social partners involved in the educational process through financial incentives for employers that offer on-the-job practical training in work-based settings for upper secondary vocational and short-cycle higher vocational students. As many as 63 institutions that provide different VET models participate in the programme – 40 from cohesion region Vzhodna Slovenija and 23 from Zahodna Slovenija.
The Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Vocational Education and Training implements the project ''Promotion of vocational and technical education 2016–2020''. The project, worth EUR 1.8 million received ESF contribution totalling EUR 1.4 million. The aim of the project is to improve the visibility and recognition of vocational and technical education by promoting occupations and schools, organising competitions, advertising, and through other promotional activities. The focus is on improving cooperation between young professionals, schools and enterprises with the purpose to promote vocational and technical education, as well as social partnerships. The project supports career development of most talented young people who follow vocational or technical education programmes. Organisation of contests, such as SloSkills and EuroSkills, helps improve excellence of secondary vocational and technical education and training and makes occupations or trades, for which national (SloSkills) or international (EuroSkills) vocational skills contests are organised, more popular. Slovenian students have already won silver medal in category stonemasonry, and took home excellence medals in categories ICT and joinery.
The Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Vocational Education and Training is also responsible for the five-year project ‘’Modernisation of vocational education 2016–2021''. This EUR 1.7-million project received ESF contribution totalling EUR 1.4 million. The project supports the development of practical training models adapted to meet the needs of Slovenian labour market and includes the design and pilot implementation of two new models of secondary vocational education and training carried out in close collaboration with companies and social partners. The project further includes modernisation of 30 educational programmes and training of 500 professionals at the relevant chambers, unions and schools which implement the two models. Additionally, a so-called register of apprenticeship posts will be created and kept in the scope of the project.
Vocational education and training helps equip citizens with knowledge, skills and competences required in particular occupations and on the labour market and provides them with skills important for personal development and active citizenship. Many of these activities are funded by the ESF.