Obtaining practical experience while studying is obligatory in all types of vocational education programmes as well as some higher education programmes in Slovenian educational institutions . Students are encouraged to apply their theoretical training in real-life settings, while the companies are motivated to host the trainees and interns to participate in knowledge exchange and prepare the new generation and talents for the challenges relevant to the needs of the actual labour market.
One example of a Slovenian company that successfully engages in WBL practices with educational institutions is The Krka Group. The Krka Group consists of the controlling company, Krka d. d. Novo mesto, and a number of subsidiaries in Slovenia and abroad. Krka’s basic line of business is the production and sale of prescription pharmaceuticals, non-prescription products and animal health products. Krka’s business performance is determined by the commitment and continuous knowledge development of its employees. At Krka, they are committed to recruiting, motivating and retaining dedicated and capable employees and building an international corporate culture.
Krka is open to a wide variety of educational profiles, although chemists and pharmacists represent the bulk of all staff. The company implements three types of work-based learning (WBL), depending on the level of education – they implement WBL for upper secondary vocational education, short-cycle higher vocational education and higher education. The company places great emphasis on scholarships and work placements. New specialists are found via scholarship programmes. The company’s website has an option that is always open to (university and school) student applications. The entry point for work placement is most often the “personnel scholarship” (kadrovska štipendija). The call is open throughout the year. The vast majority of those who prove themselves during work placement have great opportunity to be recruited after completing their study.
Traineeships are predominant type, systematically implemented and defined in the companies’ corporate collective agreement. They see the traineeship as an opportunity for both Krka and trainees. For trainees, it is an opportunity to gain experience in their line of work, while they also get in touch with real-life work environment and gain meaningful insight on how things work in reality and in the company. On the other hand, Krka gains insight and overview of possible employees, which can be contacted later on, if they perform well at tasks. The learning outcomes are connected to capacity-building at workplace, tackling various challenges in the different fields, and offering practical understanding of different areas of the company. This is implicitly also the aim of the traineeship at Krka.
Krka believes that if the WBL practices are organised, implemented and completed accurately and with precision, it has great potential to impact their every day work and promote success further. The company can potentially gain an expert for a workplace, who is already suitable for the company’s specific needs. The need to identify and direct the talents at the early stages in their career allows Krka to actively participate and impact their wider social surroundings as well.
- European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop). (2014). Apprenticeship-type schemes and structured work-based learning programmes. Retrieved from: https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2015/ReferNet_SI_2014_WBL.pdf on 15 May 2018.
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