Project objective is to contribute to better employment chances of students and graduates and better qualifications matching the needs of the small farms through the engagement of agricultural small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in apprenticeship schemes. Suggested promotion of work-based learning and apprenticeship in agricultural sector is to be achieved through exercising four specific objectives:
- to increase the offer of high-quality apprenticeship places in agricultural and food sector, by engaging small farms and small food industries in apprenticeships;
- to build sustainable partnerships between VET providers and employers/farmers at local and transnational level;
- to build capacity of VET providers and employers/farmers in organizing and hosting apprenticeships;
- to increase transnational mobility and work placements of VET students in agriculture.
As a result of pursuing the above targets, the Project will contribute to:
- raised awareness of agricultural and food industry SMEs on the benefits of apprenticeship, both at company and at a society level;
- increased capacities of actors involved in apprenticeship (farmers, employers and VET centres), through targeted actions, methods and instruments;
- established VET company partnerships at local and European level and networking of actors involved, through a web platform and social media.
The project specifically proposes the creation of Apprenticeship Hubs for the agro-food industry. The aim of these Hubs is to promote work-based learning of students of agro-food VET schools by working as apprentices in small and medium sized agro-food farms, cooperatives and industries. The promotion of apprenticeship practice in the network of agro-food SMEs will have beneficial impact on VET students, as they will acquire knowledge and skills required by the labour market and they will be adept to start smoothly their careers. It will be beneficial also to the agro-food industry as SMEs of the sector will benefit from the knowledge of VET students, their freshness of mind, eagerness to work and be developed, their flexibility to adapt to the company’s needs and the lower wages they will have to pay. Good selection of apprentices and good matching with SMEs of the agro-food sector, which is the job of apprenticeship hubs, is crucial to this end. VET schools will also benefit from the promotion of apprenticeship schemes as they will improve their training programs based on the feedback from the SMEs and the students using these schemes and so will their reputation for providing training of good quality.
The main outcomes of Apprenticeship HUBs are:
1) An elaborated model of Apprenticeship HUB and creation of four pilot Apprenticeship HUBs in Croatia, Greece, Italy and Hungary. Apprenticeship HUB is a structure that will have as a primary goal to increase the offer of apprenticeship positions in agricultural establishments and small food industries and will provide support services to VET providers, companies and VET students, on organising apprenticeships.
2) An Apprentiship HUBs web platform to act as a support tool, necessary for the operation of the apprenticeship HUBs. The web platform will serve three objectives of the apprenticeship hubs, i.e. awareness raising, capacity building and networking.
3) Toolkit, with digital tools for agroicultural SMEs and VET providers for organising apprenticeships and supporting students.
- Support staff that will liaison between VET providers and companies of agricultural sector in the field of apprenticeship
- VET providers in agricultural sectors, including VET schools at lower and upper secondary level, VET centres of post-secondary level providing initial or further VET, agricultural Chambers, local or regional authorities and other stakeholders that provide training in the sector of agriculture
- Farms and small and micro food industry companies
- VET students of agriculture