At the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (HOK) the signing ceremony of “The Memorandum of Understanding on Apprenticeship Partnership Formation in Republic of Croatia” was held, which marked the formal start of apprenticeship partnership between signatories from the Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts, Ministry of Science and Education, Ministry of Labour and Pensions System, Ministry of Tourism, Agency for Vocational Education and Lifelong Learning, Croatian Chamber of Economy and the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts.
The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts conducts the Erasmus+ project “Get Involved in EP4A: European Partnerships for Apprenticeships”, which aims to promote apprenticeship through building partnership between relevant stakeholders in vocational education and training. Regarding the signing of Memorandum, Mr Dragutin Ranogajec, the President of Chamber, pointed out that the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts takes care of education for trades and crafts professions together with tradesmen and craftsmen and with the support of ministry responsible for crafts for 25 years and that this moment is the reason for satisfaction, because the initiative of the Chamber to form apprenticeship partnership has been recognized and provided support.
The relevance of Memorandum, which will give a new momentum for the cooperation to promote the importance of vocational education and training, has been recognized by the Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts, which has been confirmed by the Vice-President of Government of Republic of Croatia and the minister, Ms Martina Dalić, PhD, who signed the document and announced changes in Crafts Act, which will aim to return good practices, especially those related to journeyman’s exams and monitoring practical classes at tradesmen and craftsmen workshops, i.e. in real working conditions.
“This year we intend to provide 2400 scholarships for trades and crafts professions, which would start mid-February. For that purpose we have reserved 21 million kunas, which is the biggest amount so far. We expect that this year will be record regarding the number of scholarships. Also, we have 5 million kunas for the co-financing of mentors. The aim is to reach the synergy between craftsmen interested to take apprentices, and through scholarships make vocational professions more attractive for students.” – said Ms Dalić.
The minister for science and education, Ms prof. Blaženka Divjak, PhD, expressed her satisfaction about the signing of Memorandum and pointed out: “We have started the long waited reform of vocational education and training. The discussion on the changes of Vocational Education and Training Act is currently happening at the Croatian Parliament, which will secure almost one billion kunas from EU funds for Competences Centres. The reform of vocational education and training will provide modern schools and advanced students and finally connect the education with the labour market.”
The importance of apprenticeship partnership for Croatian turism was emphasized by Mr Gari Cappelli, the minister for tourism, in his speech. “Tourism is the dynamic industry which requires flexibility and fast adjustment to changes in the market. Therefore, this project is very important because the practical knowledge is the critical factor for the competitiveness in tourism. I believe that we will strengthen and efficiently conduct work-based learning through this partnership and enhance entrepreneurial skills and thinking with the emphasis on innovations and in that way give enormous contribution to the success of Croatian tourism as well as Croatian economy in general.”
The minister for labour and pension system, Mr Marko Pavić, MSc welcomed the signing of Memorandum, which he sees as the step forward in the direction of matching education with labour market. “The question of securing quality and sufficient labour force on the labour market is the biggest challenge for employers in Croatia. The Government has secured 2,5 billion kunas for employment programmes, of which 1,6 billion kunas are for active employment policy measures. Almost all measures for employment have educational component and some are focused on apprenticeship and craft professions. This kind of support is the signal that the Government is serious regarding this topic and I am sure that we will succeed in that.”, he said.
After the signing, the round table “Partnership for quality apprenticeship” was held where participants discussed the state of apprenticeship and possibilities to enhance the position of apprenticeship.
After the discussion and closing remarks, the “Statement of support for apprenticeship partnership” was signed by representatives of Croatian Employment Service, vocational schools, regional authorities and employers.