On 13th September 2019 a mini conference “Work-Based and Active Learning in Engineering Higher Education” will be held at the Library Conference Hall of Technical University of Gabrovo.

The conference

  • will consider WBLA strategies at tertiary level,
  • will present the viewpoints of stakeholders – enterprises, universities, students, local authorities, and
  • will provide WBLA best practices.

The conference is organized within the aCIRET project under ERASMUS+ Programme by:

  • Technical University of Gabrovo
  • Gabrovo Municipality
  • Mechatronica SC

Registration for participation is from 13.30 to 14.00 at the Library Conference Hall of Technical University of Gabrovo.

The key speakers include government officials, local authorities, employers’ organization, business people, academic staff and students.



Third Partner Meeting – Gabrovo, Bulgaria


The Third Partner Meeting was held on 17th and 18th January 2019 at Mechatronica SC, Gabrovo, Bulgaria. The partnership discussed the evaluation of the Interim Report and the results from the internal and external evaluation. It also monitored project progress and updated its work programme. Two workshops were organized where all partners outlined the next steps in implementing the training of company and academic mentors and pilot testing of the Apprenticeship Cluster, as well as finalized the evaluation forms to be used to measure project impact on target groups. Each partner organization delivered a PP presentation on the dissemination activities been performed so far and the dissemination plan was updated. Bulgarian and Polish university staff and company trainers were able to test the Cluster platform.

Next partner meeting will be held on 13th and 14th September 2019 at the Technical University of Gabrovo, Bulgaria.


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Project aCIRET at "Dzień Strefy" Job Fair at Gdańsk University of Technology


Every year in November, Gdańsk University of Technology in cooperation with Pomeranian Special Economic Zone organizes a Job Fair. During this event, local companies offer the GUT students a chance for getting themselves familiar with the companies' profiles and possible openings for jobs and apprenticeship.

During this year's Job Fair, Polish aCIRET team consisting of the GUT and ECD foundation staff advertised the Dual Studies and presented the key principles, advantages and ideas of this system of Education.



The idea of Dual Education system not only interested many students, but also drew the attention of entrepreneurs and representatives of the largest companies operating in Gdańsk area.




Hopefully, the contacts established between the aCIRET team and representatives of local and regional companies will allow us to increase the number of companies involved in the Apprenticeship Cluster for Industry-Ready Engineers of Tomorrow. We also hope that students educated in the Dual Study System will find their employment in leading local and regional companies operating within the Pomeranian Special Economic Zone.





Career Fair on 5th December 2018


Technical University of Gabrovo, Mechatronica SC and Municipality of Gabrovo jointly organized a Cereer Fair on 5th December 2018.

Nine companies from Gabrovo and Ideal Standard Vidima SC from Sevlievo presented their business line – basic activities, products and services, markets, career opportunities and their willingness to employ students as apprentices to be involved in the real company research and development processes.

On the other hand, engineering students from TU of Gabrovo were able to make personal contacts with company reps and to choose a perticular company whoose profile best matches their interests and preferences.

The very fact that the career fair took place at Mechatronika SC premises provided students with the opportunity to get acquainted with production processes in real life as “nowadays mechanical engineering and mechatronics do not have anything in common with the common perception of engineers as employees stained with oil to the elbows” as Nikolinka Hinkova pointed out.


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Cluster Promotional Meeting was held at the Technical University of Gabrovo where students following engineering degree courses were given the opportunity to meet university teachers involved in the apprenticeship cluster development


On 10th October 2018 a Cluster Promotional Meeting was held at the Technical University of Gabrovo where students following engineering degree courses were given the opportunity to meet university teachers involved in the apprenticeship cluster development.

This event aimed to inform students about both the idea and opportunities offered by the cluster and the benefits for their career development. Steps, deadlines and required documents when applying for an apprenticeship position were presented.

In his presentation Prof. Dr. Sc. D. Dichev laid focus on the opportunity the cluster creates in order for students to apply the theoretical knowledge they acquired during the study into real-life work environment thus making the transition from academic to professional life easier. 

The students were invited to participate in the Career Fair on 5th December 2018 where they will be able to establish personal contacts with companies that are cluster members and are going to offer apprenticeship positions.


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On 8th June 2018 a seminar on Dual Study in Higher Education – Apprenticeship Cluster in Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics was held in the conference room of the library of the Technical University of Gabrovo. It was organized by the Technical University of Gabrovo, MECHATRONIKA SC and Municipality of Gabrovo.

The seminar was attended by Nikolai Sirakov – deputy in the Bulgarian Parliament, Prof. Dr. Kostadin Kostadinov – advisor to the Minister of Education and Science, Nela Rachevits – vice-mayor of Gabrovo, Ventsislav Slavkov – chairman of the Managing board of the Cluster “Mechatronics and Automation”, Prof. Dr. Sc. Raycho Ilarionov – rector of the Technical University of Gabrovo, representatives of local and regional businesses, academic lecturers, students, representatives of professional organizations, etc.

During the seminar the participants were briefed on the objectives, target groups and products of the European project Apprenticeship Cluster for Industry-ready Engineers of Tomorrow. The cluster structure and its functionalities were presented as well. A special emphasis was placed on the fact that through the implementation of the project the first step was being taken towards introducing work-based learning, also known as dual or cooperative study, in higher education in Bulgaria.

As pioneers in this area, however, the Technical University of Gabrovo and Mechatronika SC are confronting challenges arising from the existing regulatory framework, which impedes the recognition of dual study as an official form of higher education. All participants were summoned to combine their efforts and advocate amendments to the Higher Education Act, as well as to the National Classification of Occupations and Posts.

During the subsequent discussion different points of view were shared and problems and possible solutions were voiced, aiming to bridge the gap between the world of higher education and business.

Second partner meeting - Technical University of Gdansk, Poland

On 14th and 15th June 2018 the second partner meeting was held at the Technical University of Gdansk, Poland. During the meeting a monitoring report on the project progress was presented, as well as an action plan covering the next 6 months. In addition, the results from the internal and external evaluation were shown and corrective and preventive measures were outlined. The project dissemination strategy was examined, the dissemination events carried out so far were reported and the opportunities for organizing future activities were discussed. Furthermore, 2 workshops were conducted where the form and content of the e-modules for train-the-trainer courses (academic and company mentors) were defined.

The next project meeting will be held in January 2019 in Bulgaria.


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Focus group - Poland

On December 8, 2017 Focus Group within the project entitled Apprenticeship Cluster for Industry-Ready Engineers of Tomorrow (aCIRET, funded under the Erasmus+ programme KA3) was hosted in the premises of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at Gdańsk University of Technology. The participants included the representatives of the Faculty authorities and teachers, representatives of local industry (Interizon ICT Cluster), education foundation (Foundation Educational Centre of Excellence), social partners (Project Department and Career’s Office), students, alumni, municipal authorities and members of the Polish project team.

The main objective of the focus group was to introduce the idea of Work Based Learning with focus on apprenticeship to the invited guests and to start the discussion regarding the engineering skills mismatch and the gap between the knowledge taught at the University and the demands and expectation of industry, especially in the field of mechatronics.

At the beginning of the meeting a presentation on the general idea of WBL was delivered. It was followed by a presentation on Interizon ICT Cluster and Foundation Educational Centre of Excellence.

The presentations were followed by a discussion session. All the invited guests actively participated in the discussion and provided valuable input comprising a basis for further discussion and the formulation of WBL curriculum that will hopefully serve as a tool bridging the gap between tertiary education and demands and expectations of industry in Poland.

All the parties agreed that while the project is very ambitious and will require a lot of effort to realize all the objectives, the expected results are sure to improve the overall situation on the regional job market.


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First Step Towards Introducing Work-based Learning at Tertiary Level

On 1st December 2017 a Focus Group was held in the Library of the Technical University of Gabrovo. It was organized within the European project Apprenticeship Cluster for Industry-ready Engineers of Tomorrow funded under the Erasmus+ programme KA3. The focus group idea is to bring together the sectors of tertiary education and business supported by local authorities, employers’ organizations and workers’ organizations, so as to identify the specific engineering skills mismatch at regional level in the field of Mechatronics

Lecturers, Phd students and students following a Bachelor degree course in Mechatronics from the TU of Gabrovo, company representatives Mechatronica, Elna, STS Pack Holding, Gabrovo Municipality, Gabrovo Chamber of Commerce and Industry and CL Podkrepa actively took part in the Focus Group. During the discussion they shared viewpoints, came up with suggestions regarding the problems under questions and defined a set of specific skills an engineer of tomorrow in the sector of Mechatronics should have in order to be able to compete successfully on the job market.

The results of the Focus Group will be summarized in the form of a partnership focus group report and provide the basis for a new curriculum and study programmes intended for a bachelor degree course in Mechatronics to be jointly developed by universities and business entities. The elaboration of the new curriculum will mark the first step towards introducing work-based learning and apprenticeships at tertiary level in Bulgaria.

15th November 2017 WBh Seminar - Graz, Austria


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