We started the day with a visit to the so called part-time vocational school "Landesberufsschule Graz 8".
Apprentices are educated for occupations in the field of metal industry and construction (mechanics, toolmakers, turners, surgical instruments manufacturers, welders, artisans, draftsman, technical designers, refrigeration system technician, fitness technician, orthopaedic technician etc.). The education lasts from three to four years. The classrooms are attended by students of different ages, from 15 to 21. The students presented their occupations as well as their motivation for enrolment. Apprenticeship is a way to keep the students in the education system and ensure a workplace for them at the same time. The education system is flexible and enables everyone both vertical and horizontal mobility, as well as retraining and lifelong learning.
Then we visited the workshops of the Institute for Economic Promotion (WIFI) of the Styria Economic Chamber.
WIFI, the Institute for Economic Promotion (Wirtschaftsförderungsinstitut) is a department of the Austrian Economic Chamber (WKO). WKO is the legal representative of the Austrian business community with some 500.000 members. WIFI is the largest provider of vocational training and advanced education in Austria. WIFI also develops innovative educational products in demand of the market and is a leader for design of new teaching methods and learning processes. WIFI offers programs in which the business community's requirements for knowledge, skills and competences are matched to technology development. In addition, WiFI provides counseling and training in the field of business and personal skills and provides trainers for the transfer of practical knowledge. Workshops are available for further education for occupations within different areas (catering, tourism, personal services, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering), to gain practical experience.
"Talentcenter" was founded by the Chamber of Economy of Styria. The main activity is the professional orientation for 13- to 15-year old children (the last 3 years of compulsory schooling). Professional orientation as such is largely already implemented at the level of lower secondary education when teachers follow student interest and start to direct the students in specific areas, where they have success. Therefore, although not obligatory, lower secondary schools implement professional orientation in order to awaken students' abilities and interests and to choose their future education more easily. Methods of testing students' cognitive and motor skills, social skills and motivation were presented. "Tests" take several hours, depending on the students' age and each student receives "results" with information on where in the area they can continue their education with a list and description of suitable occupations and information on career development.
We also visited CAMPUS 02 - University of Applied Sciences.
The institution offers education programs within the tertiary level of education in business and technology, including five undergraduate studies and six graduate studies. The study programs enable students to be employed at a company as well as enrolled at the university based on a "learning by doing" approach. They are tightly networked with companies, thus securing communication of academic knowledge in teaching and research with the needs of technological development and enterprise development. Professional studies, depending on bachelor or master level, share the same qualification level with university studies.
The last day of the study tour we visited the BAUAkademie Steiermark.
Prior to leaving for Zagreb, we visited Magna Steyr AG & Co KG.
Magna Steyr is part of Magna International with the manufacturing being the main activity. It is traditionally involved in the process of learning and thus ensures quality future workers. The HR Department organizes a selection process for potential apprentices, and open apprenticeship posts are advertised on their web pages, through the communication channels of the Chamber of Economy of Styria and through public advertisements. Apprenticeship is carried out for several programs in the field of metal industry, automobile mechanics, automotive industry, automotive seat builders etc. The duration depending on the occupation lasts for three or four years. First, it is implemented in the workshops located in the factory circle, apprentices work on specific tasks (E.g. complete car repair with the supervision of an authorized instructor). The mentors are skilled craftsmen, technicians or engineers with experience in the profession and with passed examination of pedagogical competencies.