JobStart project partnership includes National High School in Finance and Business – Sofia, School of Commerce – Burgas, Vocational High School of Economics – Yambol and Europrojects Foundation. The host organization will be Ripeze Ltd, UK, which provides economic and business analysis services, software solutions and consulting to SMEs in the field of digitalization. The receiving organization will provide work placement for the students, and will manage the accommodation and all logistical issues in the host country.
The three high schools provide education in the field of “Economy and Management” and “Business Administration”. The majors are currently popular and sought-after, but successful fulfillment in the fields requires a combination of practical knowledge and skills. Students’ practical activities are performed in learning-training environment or at local companies that often lack supervisors experienced in training or cannot spare the time and resources to conduct high-quality internships. Thus the practical experience gained at the school is insufficient to raise young people’s employability and ensure a smooth transition onto the labor market.
The National Consortium implementing the current project envisages the sending of 21 students in grades 10-11 (7 students and 1 teacher from each VET school) from the specialties “Economics and Management” and “Business Administration” from the three VET school to a two-week work placement in an English service company in July 2021 in order to develop key skills necessary for the economic profession.
Based on the identified needs, the main project goals are:
- Developing key practical skills and competences for lifelong learning for future economists and managerial staff in the three VHS by working in a real intercultural environment in response to the current business requirements and needs for enhancing students’ competitiveness on the European labor market;
- Increasing the use of up-to-date teaching methods for more interactive learning to achieve more attractive and quality VET and sustainability of project outcomes;
- Developing language skills in international environment and building work habits;
- Enhancing the capacity for international cooperation with businesses, educational organizations and VET and for creating new partnerships for projects;
- Updating curricula in VET according to the observed good practices, transfer of know-how and the business needs.
The objectives of the project correspond to those of Key Activity 1, Erasmus+.
The project envisages the following activities:
- Information and initial selection
- Preliminary preparation of the selected candidates
- Final selection
- Practical and logistic organization
- Conduction of the mobility
- Conclusion and evaluation
- Dissemination of results
- Preparation of final report to the National Agency
21 students will be involved in the project and will undergo pedagogical, cultural and linguistic preparation improving their knowledge of business English, acquainting with the historical and cultural heritage of England, broadening their viewpoint, learning about the approach, work, traditions and practices of English society, reflecting on the EU’s values and priorities, providing added value to their education. As a result of the practice students will develop many practical skills such as:
- prepare PESTLE and SWOT analysis; analyze the organizational structure;
- prepare a business plan;
- evaluate different financing alternatives;
- calculate ROI;
- apply the techniques of brainstorming, SCAMPER, Crazy Eights;
- develop and test a concept for a new product;
- create a product virtual prototype;
- analyze cultural characteristics using the Hofstede model;
- implement various project implementation monitoring tools – GANTT, PERT, WBS.
The long-term impact of the project will be the contribution to improving the quality of education in the field of economics in the three VET schools, as the practical training of students will be improved in modules in the compulsory elective subjects and facultative subjects based on the experience and knowledge gained in the receiving organization. The curricula will be updated on the basis of the observed developments and new European business realities in the practical exercises in England. By upgrading the vocational education programme in the 3 VET schools, the attractiveness of VET will be also enhanced.