Training for Business: Collaborating with Vocational Education for Development

Upskilling and Reskilling
Businesses aim to cooperate with vocational schools and wish to do it in the best possible way. Demonstrating effective involvement with VET institutions and leveraging their expertise, a training session was organized for construction company representatives by specialists from the Public Private Partnership to Improved Professional Education (EdUP) project. 

During the training session, our experts familiarized representatives of plumbing equipment manufacturing companies with the vocational education system in Ukraine, discussed the specifics of cooperation with vocational schools, conducted a demonstration lesson, and practical sessions on training methodologies for students. Representatives from 20 companies and students specializing in the installation of sanitary and technical systems and equipment participated in the training. 

"The cooperation between the private sector and vocational institutions should become a mutually beneficial partnership. It is important for businesses to provide expertise on the skills of education seekers and graduates, support the educational process, and transfer professional experience to future workers, said Yulia Yefimova, Head of the "Private Sector Engagement" of the EdUP project.

A demonstration lesson for business representatives with active participation from students was conducted by EdUP project expert Roman Letnyanka. The lesson theme was “Installation of Modern Low-Temperature Water Heating Systems.” It included theoretical sessions explaining how to install equipment, practical demonstrations on stands, and debriefing on the lesson resultsnal education seekers. It was emphasized that students aged 15-19 can focus on one type of task for no more than 10 minutes. Therefore, to maintain their attention, "it is necessary to offer various types of tasks, adhere to clear logic in teaching theory, avoid burdening practical tasks, and use accessible terms,” highlighted Yana Kochugura, a methodology expert at the EdUP project. 

From the private sector aspect, it was noted that many experts from companies who have practical skills do not know how to pass on their experience to students. They are unable to relay the information in a way that would engage education seekers. This aspect was mentioned by Sergiy Marynets, a technical specialist from Kermi Ukraine company, working with project organizations in Ukraine. 

"As a technical specialist, I know the material, but to convey it to students, one needs to master the methodology introduced to us during the training."
Sergiy Marynets, Kermi Ukraine

Marek Zazhycky, CEO of Walraven UA, underscored a crucial facet of collaboration between businesses and vocational institutions. He siad that it entails more than just sharing business experience; it also involves fostering a work ethos, cultivating respect for one's trade, and nurturing a sense of dignity within blue-collar professions.

"Every profession is important for the future of the country we live in, and if all professions, including blue-collar ones, are represented in the market, then we can be confident about this future. However, if there is a shortage of any profession, difficulties will arise immediately," said Zazhycky.

The cooperation between businesses and vocational institutions is important because businesses know-how, and can shape the demand for professional competencies that are relevant to the modern job market. This is a long-term investment in providing the construction industry with skilled workers for the restoration of Ukraine, agreed the participants of the training. 

The project has been mandated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and is co-financed by Geberit Trading LLC and Sika.

Initial vocational education and training
Public Private Partnership to Improved Professional Education in Ukraine
The EdUP project, including its Scale UP initiative, is playing a crucial role in addressing the serious challenges faced by Ukraine's vocational education and training (VET) sector during wartime. The war has destroyed many VET schools and exacerbated a skills shortage that affects several sectors, despite employers' willingness to offer competitive wages and resources. EdUP aims to rebuild and improve vocational schools and break stereotypes about vocational graduates. By decentralising training and aligning it with local economic needs, the project will improve the quality of vocational training, attract additional resources, work with the private sector, and modernise education to equip Ukraine's workforce for today's demands.